It’s taken 11 weeks for him to get the national attention, but Baylor’s Bryce Petty has finally wiggled his way into the Heisman Trophy discussion.
Everyone saw the numbers Petty and the Bears offense put up week after week, but no one expected it to last this long. Now that it has lasted this long, how could anyone deny Petty’s Heisman credentials?
He may not be the leader in the clubhouse just yet. But if the season ended today, you’d have to think Petty would at least get an invitation to the Heisman Trophy Ceremony in New York City.
As the leader of the nation’s top offense, both in yards per game (686.0) and scoring (61.0), Petty has taken an already dynamic Baylor offense to a new level. When watching Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence run Art Briles’ offense to near perfection, it was difficult to imagine it could be done any better. However, that’s exactly what Petty has been able to do.
Heading into Week 12, HeismanPundit.com has Petty at No. 4 in its straw poll. With games against Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas remaining, Petty still has plenty of time to move up that list.
Petty has played the quarterback position as well as anybody in college football this season. His 210.6 rating is a reflection of that. He is well on pace to break the NCAA FBS record for passing efficiency, set by Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson in 2012. His rating was 191.78.
Another number that really jumps off the page is Petty’s touchdown-to-interception ratio of 21-1. The only other player who has a better ratio is Marcus Mariota, who has 22 TD passes without an interception. That ratio is important because it shows that Petty takes care of the ball and doesn't put pressure on his defense by giving them too many short fields to work with.
Compare that to Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel, who are considered the top candidates at this point. Winston’s ratio is 26-7 and Manziel’s is 31-11.
You might say that the extra touchdowns that the other candidates have thrown for should give them the benefit of the doubt. That’s a valid point, but not exactly fair because Petty hasn't had as many opportunities this season because of the giant leads Baylor has had.
If you crunch the numbers a little bit, you’ll find that Petty is actually a more prolific scorer than the other contenders. Petty scores a touchdown every 8.48 times he either throws or runs the ball.
By comparison, the next best is Winston at 10.10 plays per touchdown.
Petty: (202 passing attempts + 44 rushes) / 29 combined passing and rushing TDs = 8.48 plays per score
Winston: 240 + 53 / 29 = 10.10
Mariota: 259 + 62 / 31 = 10.35
Manziel: 315 + 110 / 39 = 10.90
McCarron: 229 + 16 / 19 = 12.89
Petty may not pick up as many yards on the ground as some of his fellow Heisman hopefuls, but his eight rushing touchdowns show that he makes his touches count.
As CBS’s Kevin McGuire notes, Petty also leads the nation in 13.2 yards per attempt. That is over two yards per attempt more than Winston, Manziel, Mariota or AJ McCarron.
Besides the fact that he is the most efficient quarterback in the nation, Petty has the Baylor Bears on the verge of their first-ever Big 12 title and in the national championship picture.
If Petty can continue to be efficient and keep the Bears undefeated, he should expect to be in New York City at the Heisman Ceremony on December 14.
All statistics are from ESPN.com unless noted otherwise.