Geno Smith: How WVU QB Compares to Former Heisman Winners

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2012

MORGANTOWN, WV - SEPTEMBER 22:  Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drops back to pass against the Maryland Terrapins during the game on September 22, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  WVU defeated Maryland 31-21.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

With an epic performance in a win over Baylor, Geno Smith turned himself from Heisman candidate to Heisman favorite. 

The West Virginia quarterback threw more touchdowns than incomplete passes on Saturday when he rewrote the school's record books. He completed 45 of his 51 attempts for 656 yards and eight touchdowns. Amazingly, this is not a fluke performance, but instead of trend of arguably the best player in the country.

Through four games, Smith has been the most efficient quarterback in the country by far. Not only has he thrown for 1,728 yards, but he has completed an amazing 83.4 percent of his passes and has a touchdown ratio of 20-0. The senior has been as close to flawless as humanly possible.

If the season ended today, there is little doubt that the Mountaineer would take home the most prestigious trophy in college football. He has the most impressive stats, and he also compares favorably to past winners of the award.

Last year's Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, had a similar campaign to the current favorite. He was not only able to throw for a high number of yards and touchdowns, but he was incredibly efficient all year long.

Griffin's passer efficiency in 2011 was 189.5, good for second-best in the nation behind Russell Wilson. So far this year, Smith has a mark of 208.4. While this will likely go down as the season progresses, he should still be near the top of the leaderboards in this category and many others.

In addition, both quarterbacks had to deal with overcoming a poor defense to win games. Baylor was near the bottom of the spectrum in points allowed last season, while West Virginia is equally bad this year, conceding 32.5 points per game. 

This puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and it also excuses the quarterback if the team happens to lose a game.

Besides Griffin, more past Heisman-winning quarterbacks were able to put up monster numbers as well as being efficient. Cam Newton's passing and running ability helped him total 50 touchdowns, while Sam Bradford was able to reach that milestone through the air alone.

Fortunately, Geno Smith is on pace for 60 passing touchdowns in the regular season alone. Even if he slows down, something that is extremely likely, he should still have comparable numbers to the elite quarterbacks of recent history.

In addition, the 70-63 win over Baylor already gave Smith his "signature moment" that voters love so much.

In a national-televised game against a ranked opponent, the quarterback had one of the best statistical games in years.

Griffin had his signature moment in an upset win over No. 5 Oklahoma. The quarterback accounted for 551 of his team's 616 yards in the victory. Mark Ingram had a few big games, but his 246 rushing yards against South Carolina was likely his best.

In 2005, Reggie Bush famously had 513 all-purpose yards against Fresno State to help seal the now-vacated Heisman.

Smith has already had one of the best games of the season. The only thing he must do now is continue putting up impressive stats and winning games.

If he does that, the 2012 Heisman Trophy will be his without much of a debate.