If stats matter as much we're all led to believe, this year's Heisman Trophy finalists have a glaring omission.
According to College GameDay's Twitter account, the six players who will head to New York City for Saturday's ceremony were announced on Monday afternoon. They are Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, Boston College running back Andre Williams and Auburn running back Tre Mason.
Yahoo! Sports' Nick Bromberg suggests that Winston is expected to win the Heisman. He's been the favorite over the past several weeks, and now that he's been cleared in his sexual assault case, the belief is many voters are comfortable with putting Winston on their ballot.
Beyond Winston, the pool of finalists is filled with "uhhhhhh" and "ok, sure." Put another way, there's Winston and five second-place candidates.
So why wasn't Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty among them?
He was briefly in the race in November, and then he wasn't. Still, he had more passing yards (3,844) than the four quarterbacks making the trip to New York—though just a mere 24 yards over Winston—and 41 total touchdowns to just two interceptions.
If those numbers are a "product of the offensive system" in which Petty plays, then find a player who isn't the product of their system. Williams led the nation in rushing yards—he also led the nation in rushing attempts.
If Petty's level of competition comes into question—and there were actually some solid defenses in the Big 12—then why does Lynch get the nod? Besides, five Big 12 teams ranked in the top 30 in pass efficiency defense (not including Baylor): Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, TCU and Texas.
Petty's completion percentage against those teams was the definition of mediocre (54.4 percent), but that doesn't account for drops or throwaways.
He still averaged 278 yards passing during those games—most of the time without injured receiver Tevin Reese—and racked up 12 passing touchdowns to just one interception.
Petty had one game where he was outplayed—the loss at Oklahoma State—but he's not alone. Manziel, Williams and Lynch all had at least one poor performance this season.
The number of "bad" games among Heisman finalists feels like it led voters to become anxious. As a result, there were some flavor-of-the-week names that began popping up.
First it was Williams when he had a 339-yard game against North Carolina State. Then it was Mason when he had 304 yards rushing in the SEC Championship Game.
Now, we have a Heisman Baskin-Robbins. But as Tom Fornelli of CBSSports notes, Mason wasn't on the Heisman radar prior to last Saturday.
That's not to say Williams and Mason didn't have outstanding years, but they are also examples of what peaking at the right time can do. This comes at the expense of Petty and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
It also reflects how wide-open this year's Heisman race has been. According to Heisman Pundit, six finalists are the most since 1994.
However, if the Heisman is going to be a stat game and glorified Davey O'Brien Award, then there's one name that should be heading to New York but currently isn't.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All stats courtesy of the NCAA. Follow Ben on Twitter @BenKercheval.
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