What If Heisman Winner Bo Jackson Had Played Basketball? An EA Sports What If

Could Heisman winner Bo Jackson have been the difference between George Mason making the Final Four and going all the way? Maybe in his prime.

Use your imagination if you will for a moment, because we are going to talk about football. We rarely stray from the hard court to the gridiron, unless we are blaming some school's poor choice to change conferences but bear with us a moment.

In EA Sports NCAA Football '13, you have the ability to have any Heisman winner play for your team. So the makers of the game have asked what player we would have come play for our school.

Now, we don't do football here. I mean, I do have football rankings over at MRISports, but Mid-Major Madness is all about basketball.

So here is a thought. What if we could recruit any Heisman winner to come play basketball for one of the mid-major schools. Is it possible we could have changed history and pushed one of the little guys over the top?

I think there are only a few teams we would even think to add the player to: those mid-major squads that reached the Final Four.

Now we could take the easy way out and chose John Calipari's Memphis team that lost to Kansas in the 2008. But that team barely qualified as a mid-major, and was a couple of poor decisions away from winning the title. Adding a top player to their team seems like overkill.

And with Butler and Virginia Commonwealth saying goodbye to their mid-major days by joining the Atlantic 10, our choices are even fewer.

So maybe we should go with the shocker of all teams, George Mason. The Patriots bulldozed their way through Michigan State, Wichita State, North Carolina and Connecticut on their way to the Final Four. They probably don't need the help. That run was special all its own.

But with an extra player, it is conceivable that they would add enough talent to either save some strength for those final two games, or just push them over the top in what could be the final two games.

So then we have the matter of what Heisman winner we would chose. To me there is a single choice for this decision, and it isn't even close.

I know that a lot of people would think quarterback automatically. Unless you chose Doug Flutie, you are getting one of the taller players on the field (although even the tallest quarterbacks aren't going to be more than a small forward). You are adding a player with the court vision and the reactions to succeed on the basketball court.

And presumably the quarterback would provide the team an athlete with the ability to run and jump.

But you don't necessarily need a quarterback to get all of those skills, which is why my choice is Bo Jackson.

If you came of age after the mid-80s, you have no reference point to understand how dominant an athlete Bo Jackson was. ESPN selected Michael Jordan as the greatest athlete of the century, but they were wrong.

Maybe you needed to see it with your own eyes to understand. Maybe you needed to watch Bo climb walls in the outfield with the Royals, even with hip problems. Maybe you needed to see Bo run over Brian Bosworth in the NFL, or keep running down the tunnel.

Maybe you just had to experience the magic of an athlete that was not just good, but dominant at every sport he played.

Bo knew how to do everything:


And I really only knew Bo from his pro days, but his magic was well established before he was being paid to play.

Bo racked up 4,303 yards in his four seasons, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. This would have been higher had he not missed almost all of 1984 with injuries.

He scored 17 touchdowns in his final season, back when you only played 12 games in a season, not 14 like today. He rushed for 1,786 yards, which was only the second best SEC performance ever at the time.

After winning the Heisman, he clocked a 4.12 in the 40 at the NFL combine, still the fastest official time in the drill.

In my mind, even at 6-foot, 1 inches tall, there is no doubt that Bo could have succeeded on the basketball court. Sure we are playing a little loose with time. Bo at 50 isn't going to be keeping up with the Gators. But in his prime, Bo would have been a dominant point guard with some serious drive to the basket.

Do you think someone is going to take a charge from the 230 pound cannonball coming at them in the lane? Even the fastest defenders would have a difficult time chasing down Bo if they were just a fraction of a second slower in their reactions.

Bo could have stepped onto the basketball court, and with even a little bit of shooting ability dominated right away.

But could he have fit in on that George Mason team?

Like most of the mid-majors that break through into the Final Four, George Mason was a balanced team. There wasn't a star player that teams could key on. This isn't Stephen Curry and Davidson (although adding a really good second option there would have made the Wildcats a much more difficult out)

We have put a dominant athlete into a system where he will have to be alright forsaking some of the glory for the sake of his team. I have no doubt though that Bo could do that, because he had the drive to win. The best athletes can put aside the individual glory to get the win.

So no, we won't need Bo to score 40 points every time out for the Patriots to win. It will be better if he doesn't.

Bo just needs to be good enough to take over when necessary. During that Final Four game, George Mason just couldn't get it going. That would have been Bo time. He could have turned it on then. He could have been the catalyst to keep the Patriot run going.

Folarin Campbell was a great point guard for the Patriots, and I am not sure that Bo could duplicate the 50 percent shooting that Campbell posted, but maybe he could have done something. Even just a little spark could have meant the difference between the blowout and survival.

If George Mason gets past Florida, there is no doubt that they win the title. UCLA was no match for the Gators in the final. A well-balanced team led by Bo would have toyed with the Bruins, just as Florida did.

Bo had the vision and ability to succeed on the basketball court, even as the smallest player out there. He was that good. And he would have made George Mason that much better.

So if EA Sports ever comes out with the way to transport the Heisman winner onto the basketball court, I know what my choice will be.

This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.

EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13 TV: "Son" (via EASPORTS)

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