Wisconsin Football: The Case for Montee Ball's Heisman Trophy

Peter RaischContributor IIISeptember 17, 2012

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 15: Running back Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers breaks through the Utah State Aggies defense for a touchdown in the third quarter September 15, 2012 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images)
Tom Lynn/Getty Images

Thank you everyone for coming to the Wisconsin Badger 2012 football season.

Now, will you kindly turn the lights off at Camp Randall and return to your homes because the season is over. Bret Bielema will promptly be fired, every player on the Wisconsin offensive line will be released from their scholarships and Montee Ball's invite to New York City has been officially rescinded. 

All because Wisconsin has started off 2-1. 

Perspective and rationality are sometimes a sports fan's worst enemies. Fanatics and pundits tend to favor knee-jerk reactions over a calm and objective view. These are the same people who have already counted Ball out of the Heisman running. His chances of winning the award aren't spectacular, but the Badger back has been counted out before. He has risen to the task every time so far. 

Obviously Ball can't win because his team is out of the national championship race. 

True, the Badgers won't be hoisting any crystal balls this year. They will be lucky to get the gift bags at the Meineke Car Care Bowl. But, losing does not disqualify Heisman hopefuls. Just ask Robert Griffin III, whose Baylor Bears lost three games during his superstar campaign in 2011.

That may be so, but Ball's play has been atrocious. 

It's been terrible to the tune of 123 all-purpose yards per game. There are plenty of players who would love that stat line. Against Utah State, Ball gained nearly four yards per play against a defense that only allows 2.7 yards. 

Well, regardless, there is simply no time for Ball to reignite his preseason buzz. 

There are nine games left on the schedule, which is plenty of a time for a player to light up the scoreboard. Fans of USC are hoping quarterback Matt Barkley can get his mojo back after losing to Stanford, and Wisconsin fans should also hold out hope for Ball. 

Ball and his team can regain some momentum this week against a UTEP team that is absolutely porous when it comes to defending running backs, allowing 5.5 rushing yards per play in the young season.