ACC Heisman Watch (Week 15)

Baylor's Robert Griffin III Could Be the First Player In School History to Win the Heisman

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.

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ACC Heisman Watch (Week 13)

RG3's Perofmance Saturday Has Him Moving Quickly Up Voters' Heisman Ballots

As with all “Heisman Watches,” the one we’ll compile here at Atlantic Coast Convos isn’t about who’s having the best individual statistical season, but who’s experiencing the most combined individual and team success overall. So while player X may have 2,000 passing yards through five games, if his team’s 1-4, there’s no shot. With that in mind, let’s go to this week’s Heisman hopefuls — now viewed from a nationwide standpoint:

With no ACC player even near the Heisman Trophy conversation, let’s just get on to the nation’s top five candidates, in order:

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (2,937 passing yards/33 total TD/8 INT/70.3% completion): Even amidst some really terrible weather this Saturday here in the Bay Area, Luck still managed over 250 yards and two touchdowns in the Big Game. Couple that with a slew of losses in the top 10 and suddenly, Stanford is once again a top-five team and their quarterback’s candidacy is starting to look like it’s a sure victory.

2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston (4,269 passing yards/42 total TD/3 INT/73.4% completion): Keenum only had two total touchdowns in a nationally televised victory over SMU — pedestrian by his standards, even accompanied by 318 yards passing. As long as the Cougars stay undefeated, the quarterback’s name will continue to climb these charts. If they happen to slip in either of their last two, however, the dream and Houston’s BCS hopes die in a hurry.

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (1,702 total yards/22 total TD): Considering how down I’ve been on Richardson’s candidacy, I was pleasantly surprised to see the running back put in a great effort on Saturday (even if it was against an FCS squad). For some voters (mainly in the southern part of the country), the Tide’s upcoming contest versus Auburn could very well decide who’s first on their Heisman ballot. If Richardson shows up, maybe he makes some believers out of enough of them to make it close.

4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (4,022 total yards/38 total TD/5 INT/72.9% completion): If you watched any part of Griffin’s superb effort against Oklahoma on Saturday night, you know exactly why the junior has jumped to fourth on this list. In spite of the Bears’ three losses, RG3 has been a phenomenal leader and the main reason the team has a chance game-in and game-out. Outstanding performance, and vital to his team’s success? Sounds like a Heisman candidate to me.

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (2,915 passing yards/35 TD/6 INT/73.8% completion): Once again, the Broncos’ defense fails to show up in the second half of a game, and once again it sullies an otherwise great performance by Moore. Yes, Boise still won by 17 this weekend, but considering their 28-point lead at half, the result left something to be desired. Still, even with recent defensive failings, Moore’s thrown for six touchdowns and nearly 700 yards in the past two games. And he lost one game by just one point. How has he fallen so far on most ballots?