The Wisconsin Badgers lost to the Oregon State Beavers Saturday, forfeiting any chance to play in the BCS National Championship Game and shattering Montee Ball's Heisman Trophy hopes. A preseason favorite to take home the award, Ball was completely shut down by the Beavers and, as a result, became a Heisman afterthought.
Here's a look at why Ball is completely out of the Heisman race.
Montee Ball was a complete non-factor against Oregon State. The Beavers completely bottled him up, allowing him only 61 yards on 15 carries and, most importantly, zero touchdowns. Ball's inability to score ended his streak of 21 consecutive games with a rushing TD.
If one is going to win the Heisman trophy, they cannot be shut down against an inferior opponent. Additionally, they have to be an impact player in every game they play. In both instances, Ball failed against Oregon State.
After being shut down by Oregon State, Ball's stats are nowhere near his 2011 totals.
After two games in 2011, Ball had rushed 28 times for 181 yards and five touchdowns. Additionally, he had two receptions for 67 yards and another score. So far in 2012, Ball has 47 attempts for 181 yards and only one touchdown. He also has seven receptions for 49 yards.
The main difference between 2011 and 2012 is the difference in yards per carry and the noticeable difference in touchdowns. The only reason Ball was in contention in 2011 was due to his incredible touchdown totals. Without them in 2012, he will not win the Heisman.
Ball didn't win in 2011, and he is already far off last year's pace.
One would think that this early in the season, one bad game won't necessarily derail Ball's Heisman campaign. However, recent history shows the complete opposite.
Of the last five Heisman winners, Mark Ingram's game verse Auburn is the only comparable game. Auburn held Ingram to only 50 total yards, making him a nonfactor. However, the Crimson Tide won the game and ultimately went undefeated, resulting in a year where the best player on the best team won the award. The other four winners, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow all played well in every single game of their Heisman winning seasons.
Considering Ball's competition for the award, he was going to have to be lights out all season long.
While Ball was a preseason favorite, there was no clear favorite; Matt Barkley, Geno Smith and De'Anthony Thomas were all in the discussion, as well. Unfortunately, all have them all played exceptionally well to start the season and have clearly outpaced Ball.
The start of the season has also revealed new contenders. UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin leads the NCAA in rushing, while Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell has also has had a stellar start to the season. Each has outplayed Ball at the same position.
In all honesty, the Heisman is Matt Barkley's to lose. Barkley has the national presence and has put up exceptional stats to start the season.
Montee Ball was one of the preseason favorites, but he was solidly behind Matt Barkley. Unfortunately, Barkley has continued to play well, while Ball has done the opposite. Montee Ball will be unable to overcome his lackluster stats, and he needed to utilize these early games to surpass the favorites. Ball has fallen so far that he isn't even the best candidate in the Big Ten.
Montee Ball is effectively out of the Heisman race. Unless all the top favorites completely fall apart and Ball goes on an unprecedented tear, it is doubtful that Ball will even receive an invite to New York City.