At the time we are voting, of course, we don't know who is going to play in the Stagg Bowl, let alone win ...
We write this in jest, but the above statement is kind of "half true" (at least this season and with respect to who's playing since UMU is a pretty big favorite to get back and win the NC). Also, we just finished a run of seven straight years of the same two teams from the same two regions playing for the NC
, so did we really not know who was going to play and/or win (the latter holding less water since most of those UWW_MU games were competitive)?
East fans would have less of a beef if the key to winning was the total
popular vote, (the Gagliardi webpage does say "the student-athlete with the highest vote total is named recipient"). If that was truly the case then you could argue that the east simply hasn't been able to do as good a job of "getting out the vote" as well as the other regions.
However, if read correctly, it is the 35 person committee
that ultimately decides the winner with the "popular vote" being aggregated into a "single vote" for how they rank and vote for the candidates ("one collective vote" = 1/36 of the equation), so the fan vote which is nice, really has little to no effect in the grand scheme of things.
That said it does seems like a stronger case for a "regional and/or playoff bias" (the award does come from a MN/midwest school/club after all) could be made and is fair criticism given the constituency of the group. Still, it's a football award at heart and the location of D3's best teams (and by extension, football talent) has pretty much been consistent since the mid-90's so it should not surprise many folks that's how it's panned out (and continues to do so).
ITH is on the record w/ Jknezek hoping Heinsohn wins, as it would be nice for him, W&L/South but expects Wara to take it given being the QB from the WIAC.