Northern Illinois University has launched a Heisman Trophy campaign for their quarterback Jordan Lynch at JordanLynchfor6.com, with a Twitter account (@Lynchfor6), Facebook page (Jordan Lynch for 6), a web series (“Lunch with Lynch”) and more.
The Huskies, coming off an Orange Bowl appearance, the first ever BCS bid for the MAC, are utilizing social media, new media, and of course, good old print, television and radio too. In 2013, that’s mandatory for even getting noticed. You need the power of both local and national media, in all it’s forms.
And it helps to provide some interesting swag too.
Of course, it isn’t only about winning the trophy. It’s a marketing device for the school; and the league. And it increases the player’s NFL Draft stock. Yes, I know that previous sentence sounds exactly like that famous scene in the 1993 classic college football movie “The Program.” When the school told ESU Timberwolves quarterback Joe Kane:
“I think both you and the school are best served with a straight-forward Heisman campaign. As long as you can back it up on the field. And we don’t doubt that, because Kane is Able.”
“It helps to get our name out there to the nation,” Jordan Lynch said NIU Huskies Chicago Media Day.
“It’s good for Northern Illinois and the Mid-American Conference.”
The Chicago native (Mt. Carmel High School, the same powerhouse that produced longtime NFL veteran and now retired QB Donovan McNabb) finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting a year ago, and only four players in the nation ahead of him on that list return for ’13. Maybe just three, if Johnny Manziel's off-the-field issues derail him. Lynch was 2nd team All-American from the Associated Press after breaking the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback and becoming the first quarterback in NCAA history to gain 3,000-plus yards passing and more than 1,500 yards rushing.
He was first in the nation in 1o0 yard rushing games. You’d think that the top spot would have belonged to Crimson Tide tailback Eddie Lacy. But it didn’t. And we all saw that Eddie Lacy, once he joined the Green Bay Packers, got really fat, or didn’t get fat, or he’s fine now…we don’t know. Anyways, only Lynch and Johnny Manziel topped 4,900 yards in total offense. Of course, Johnny Friggin Football did it versus a schedule of opponents that was light years better. But still.
And therein lies the rub with the Jordan Lynch Heisman campaign. The smallest school to ever produce a winner of the esteemed prize is BYU. No MAC school has ever won it; and likely won’t. Also, NIU’s placement in the Orange Bowl caused a lot of controversy last year. Many media members didn’t like it. Including ESPN personality Kirk Herbstreit, who lost mind in response to the Huskies in Miami.
But “Lynch for 6,″ and the exploits of Jordan Lynch, gives us a new dominant Northern Illinois football storyline. And despite the Orange Bowl appearance, and all the gaudy statistics, Lynch still needs help in the visibility department. At MAC Media Day, a journalist mistook Lynch for his Coach Rod Carey.
“I tried to have fun with it. The day was kind of dragging on and getting long and he thought I was Coach Carey, so I went along with it, but I couldn’t answer some of those questions, so I told him, I’m a player here,” Lynch said.
Maybe we shouldn’t pin that one on Lynch not yet being a name household enough. Maybe that specific MAC reporter is really terrible at his job. Which sounds quite likely.
It’s a brave new world in Dekalb. New renovations to the stadium, higher expectations, new leadership as NIU sees a change in Athletic Director Sean Frazier and Coach Rod Carey.
Expectations are high for Lynch as he’s been named to many preseason watch lists. Of course no one cares about preseason watch lists. Nor should they. At least I don’t care. Wait, let me rephrase that I DOOOOOOON’T CAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRREEE about “news” regarding preseason watch lists, and I can’t stand it when school SIDs send those out. A.) it’s preseason B.) almost everyone who’s halfway decent at his position makes those things.
But Jordan Lynch is a lot better than most names on those watch lists. Chances are very good, he’ll be one of the five finalists invited to New York City in December for the Heisman. In the meantime, the media and the marketing for the most visible individual trophy in all of sports is great for Huskies.
“I think it’s great for our community, and everyone around us,” said Carey. “I really do. It’s a positive.”
Don’t forget your lunch box.
For the NIU season preview
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, a Fox Sports affiliate. He is also an analyst for 95.7 The Fan, and writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows his Twitter account (@paulmbanks)
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