Since Heisman finalists have been named for the 2011 season, we’ll skip right to the evaluation portion, looking at where we’d rank the five candidates.
1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (4,642 total yards/45 total TD/6 INT/72.4% completion): In thoroughly crushing rival Texas, Griffin managed another four touchdowns and over 350 total yards, adding to his growing legend status down in West Texas. Considered a darkhorse for all season, the way Baylor’s quarterback has performed these past few weeks might just deliver him the game’s biggest individual prize.
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (3,170 passing yards/37 total TD/9 INT/70.0% completion): With a weak overall schedule, and watching other quarterbacks (Griffin, specifically) just plain putting up better numbers over the past month, Luck has finally lost his once-insurmountable lead in our rankings. Does it mean he’s played poorly of late? Of course not. And I doubt this award has any bearing on him going number-one overall in the NFL Draft either. He had his chance at a true “Heisman moment” (versus Oregon), but just couldn’t capitalize.
3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (2,014 total yards/38 total TD): Possessing a conference title, 15 more touchdowns and just one more loss than the “favored” running back below, Monte Ball would have won the Heisman in most seasons. Yet, since many only consider him the second-best RB in this group, he gets little consideration. Why? More yards-per-carry, more touchdowns, more yards, same amount of wins. It’s all because he doesn’t play in the SEC (a theme in college football of late).
4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,910 total yards/23 total TD): Richardson is a talented back, don’t get me wrong. But he’s never had any business being in the same conversation as the three players I list above him. Alabama’s defense has been the biggest key to their success, and their lopsided victories allow for more garbage-time carries. Just because your team’s playing for the national title (with debatable credentials) doesn’t mean you deserve a Heisman finalist, as you’ll see below.
5. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU (475 total yards/4 total TD/2 INT): Yup, you read all of those stats right. While I don’t doubt the defensive prowess of the “Honey Badger,” I have to ask — what the hell is he doing on a Heisman ballot?! See above for my thoughts on this sham of a pick, but beyond my own opinions, can anyone say he put up one of the season’s five most impressive efforts? If Mathieu finishes any higher than fifth on ballots, I’d be floored.