06 December 2011

Who Will Win the Heisman Trophy in 2011?

It's the most prestigious award in all of collegiate athletics. Only the cream of the crop can receive it. The Heisman Trophy will be announced this Saturday and the winner will be one of those fortunate to receive an invitation to New York and they are RB Montee Ball of Wisconsin, QB Robert Griffin III of Baylor, QB Andrew Luck of Stanford, CB Tyrann Mathieu of LSU and RB Trent Richardson of Alabama. Who do I think will win?
I'll start this off by saying that I wished it was possible for USC QB Matt Barkley if not Boise State QB Kellen Moore or Houston QB Case Keenum to reach New York because all three are at least deserving of consideration.
But here's how I think the ballot will shape out.

5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Just take a look at Ball's numbers, just absurd. 1,759 rushing yards and an incredible 38 touchdown runs, one shy of Barry Sanders' record in 1988, could be even higher. His numbers alone make him Heisman worthy but what I think will hurt him is how good Russell Wilson was this year for the Rose Bowl bound Badgers and I think that his presence will leave Ball this low. I don't feel it should be the case but that is how it works.

4. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
The so-nicknamed Mathieu might not even be the best player in the LSU secondary, which speaks to how good fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne is as well as the LSU secondary and the defense is, but there is no doubt the impact he has had on this Tigers team that is the best team in America. The sophomore had over 7p tackles, five forced fumbles, a pair of picks and a pair of punt return TD's which have helped changed games and the momentum, most notably against Arkansas and Georgia. What I think will hurt him was the suspension for violating the LSU drug policy but he could be this year's Charles Woodson because of his impact

3. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Let me start off that Luck has had yet another tremendous year. 3170 passing yards, 35 touchdown passes, 70% completion percentage. Granted his numbers were a little better last year but he's also without Jim Harbaugh, not to take anything away from David Shaw who was there last year, but Harbaugh ain't there. But here's the thing, I don't think he would finish this high had he not been the frontrunner all year. When you look at his finish, his last four games have included five interceptions as well as the one blowout loss to Oregon that everybody saw. That's why he at number three.

2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Does Richardson have the best numbers? No, but he carried the second best team in the country on his back and was the clear focus of an offense without a big time threat at quarterback and at receiver. When the spotlight was on he delivered, average more than 130 rushing yards in conference but he was largely held in check by LSU. Yes he totaled 203 yards against a bad Auburn defense but that was an impressive performance regardless and this run was just absurd. Where I think he loses closely the Heisman was simply the fact that he didn't play last weekend while the guy I think will win the Heisman did.

1. Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor
Griffin has got it all. He has incredible numbers, almost 4,000 yards, 36 passing tosses as compared to six interceptions, 644 rushing yards and nine rushing TD's, second in the NCAA in total offense (386.8 yards per game), set the all-time passing efficiency record at a 192.3 rating. He started the season with five games with more touchdowns than incompletions. He's got big wins over Oklahoma and Texas, and he's got that Heisman moment in the winning TD pass against the Sooners. What's most impressive is that he has made Baylor relevant, tied their all-time best record at 9-3, like I already mentioned beat Oklahoma and Texas already which is rare and with apologies to Samurai Mike is the best player in that school's history. And where I think he gets the edge is that he played and made his mark last Saturday against a very good Texas defense, one of the best in the country, while Richardson was off. I think it will be Griffin that will be the winner this Saturday.

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