Chad Pennington of Marshall

The Last Waldenström Award Winner of the Twentieth Century

by Eric Ecklund-Johnson

The choice for this year’s Waldenström Trophy is quarterback Chad Pennington of Marshall. He has led Marshall to an undefeated season this year and has probably been more crucial to his team’s success than any other player in the country.

Although running back Ron Dayne of Wisconsin would also be a worthy candidate and will probably win the Heisman Trophy, this year was probably not the best of his college career. Receiver Peter Warrick of Florida State had a good year, but probably not of Waldenström-worthy proportions, even without considering his suspension for legal problems during the season. Others who had good years and received consideration include running back Shaun Alexander of Alabama, quarterback Michael Vick of Virginia Tech, quarterback Drew Brees of Purdue, and safety Tyrone Carter of Minnesota.

While I do not have the space here to detail the incredibly complicated and completely objective formula that is used to make the final decision about the awarding of the Waldenström, I’ll just say that, despite the good arguments that could be made for each of these candidates, in the end, Pennington came out on top. October, 1999

Eric Ecklund-Johnson is a neuropsychologist at the Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas.

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