Scooter Hobbs column: Read, then destroy this Heisman column

Published 8:46 am Tuesday, December 13, 2022

You ever get the feeling somebody is following you?

Don’t worry. It’s probably nothing. In your case, that is.

But lately I’m taking no chances. I’m seeing vague, suspicious shadows with every step.

It makes the sidewalks and hallways of everyday life seem all the more foreboding.

Can’t be too careful, you know. I keep making these abrupt U-turns to catch someone or something in the act.

I’ve tried walking serpentine.

Nothing … except some strange looks from innocent passers-by.

So maybe it really is nothing. But I’m still taking no chances.

Something is going on.

This queasy, creeping uneasiness all began Monday, soon after I cast my annual ballot for the Heisman Trophy.

Check that. Not sure “cast” is the right word.

I’m old enough to remember when we did cast votes for probably the most famous trophy in sports, certainly amongst the individual awards.

And without question it’s the most clandestinely secretive.

Back then, you’d actually fill out a card that you received from the presenting Downtown Athletic Club, put it in a regulation envelope and entrusted the United States Postal Service to deliver it back to New York. I think maybe the Pony Express was involved in my early voting days.

The process has been changed for several years now, updated with those most dreaded words in the English language — “We are going paperless!”

For some of us, that makes voting on the Heisman Trophy harder than winning the blasted thing.

And this year they upped the ante on the electronic gadgetry.

You want to make sure our federal elections are fair and on the up and up?

Simple. Put the Downtown Athletic Club in charge. I think its official accounting firm, Deloitte & Touche, does the heavy lifting from its headquarters, probably stashed away in a Manhattan dark alley, perhaps several stories underground.

But an hour or so after the polls closed, they had them all counted, even from the Arizona and Florida precincts.

I’ll say this: They are a tight-lipped bunch.

Me, I had to watch a specially provided video that guided a voter through the myriad of passwords and hoops and clickable links just to fill out three names and their schools of attendance.

I got through it, but it was no picnic, I’ll tell you that.

Multiple passwords were required, all with more electronic hoops to navigate before said passwords could be delivered by separate emails, along with some special codes via text message.

It’s all kind of a blur, actually.

It was the high-tech version of feeling like you were a double-naught spy in an old black-and-white movie, trying to look nonchalant while dropping off that secret briefcase just past the ill-lit, foggy loading dock. Probably need to be wearing a fedora.

I’ve probably said too much already, but it’s really gotten me on edge.

Saturday night just can’t get here quickly enough.

Did I mention that they are very touchy about keeping your personal vote out of the public eye?

It’s like the old World War II scare-tactic posters — Loose Lips Sink Ships.

The consequences here aren’t explicably spelled out, but the inference is that you probably don’t want to mess with them. I’m pretty sure I’ve noticed drones hovering around my personal space at odd times, probably ready to vaporize me at the first hint of a vote mention.

God forbid that I might reveal what 1/870th of the final tally is.

But I’m not challenging them on it.

And I’ve been carrying this dark secret around since Monday. It’s excruciating. I’m not a gossip hound, but I like to chitchat.

And anybody — anybody — could be a double agent. You can’t be too careful.

So I’m walking on pins and needles until the official announcement … and still keeping a close eye over my shoulder.

I don’t think I’m imagining this.

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at scooter.hobbs@americanpress.com