Heisman Breakdown: Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III vs. Russell Wilson
Coming into this season Andrew Luck was the clear front runner for the Heisman Trophy. People said it was "his to lose" and so far he hasn't done anything for that to happen. The saying “his to lose” doesn't make much sense for the Heisman. It's an award presented to the most outstanding player in collegiate football for a given season. To me that means every player in the country starts out the season on a level playing field. Previous seasons and accomplishments should never come into account.
The quarterback play so far this season has been phenomenal and it would be shocking if another position was presented the award in December. Three of the best players so far this year have been quarterbacks: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. These three players will be compared to find the real Heisman frontrunner.
Team Advantage: Wilson
Each quarterback has his team ranked in the AP Top 25. Russell's Wisconsin team is No. 4, Luck's Stanford team is No. 7, and Griffin's Baylor team is No. 20. Both Russell and Luck have led their teams to undefeated records through Week 6, while Griffin has led Baylor to a 4-1 record. If Wisconsin runs the table and wins the inaugural Big Ten Championship, we could see Wilson and the Badgers playing for a national championship.
Strength of Schedule Advantage: Griffin III
Baylor, Stanford, and Wisconsin have all enjoyed success so far this season, but each team has yet to dive into the deep end of their schedule. Baylor and Wisconsin have each played one ranked team, while Stanford has yet to play a Top 25 team.
Stanford wins by an average of 35.6 points per game, which on the surface looks great, but they haven't exactly played top-notch teams. The combined record for Stanford's opponents has been 10-19, and the only team they have played with a winning record is the 3-2 Duke Blue Devils. Their biggest test of the year comes on Nov. 12th against Oregon.
The combined record for Baylor's opponents has been 15-12, and the best team they have played thus far is 5-0 Kansas State, to which they lost, 36-35. Baylor has the toughest schedule down the stretch with four more games against ranked opponents including No. 6 Oklahoma State and No. 3 Oklahoma. Those games could either lock the Heisman for Griffin or put him out of the race.
Wisconsin has played teams with a combined 14-14 record, which is slightly skewed because they played a 4-2 South Dakota team.
Statistical Advantage: Griffin III
All three players have been putting up historically great numbers through six weeks. Luck is 106-145, has a 73.1 percent completion rate, 1,383 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. His best performance yet was last week against Colorado where he went 26-33, had 370 yards and three touchdowns.
Who do you believe is the Heisman front runner through six weeks?
Griffin III is 114-142, has an 80.3 percent completion rate, 1,520 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and only one interception. His best game came Week 1 against TCU, he passes for 359 yards and five touchdowns.
Wilson is 83-111, has a 74.8 percent completion percentage, 1,391 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and only one interception. His best game thus far was Week 5 against South Dakota, in which he threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns.
Dynamic Ability Advantage: Griffin III (but it's very close)
Each of these players are dynamic quarterbacks who can use their legs to extend plays and run down field. Luck has 12 rushing attempts for 60 yards and a touchdown. Griffin III has 60 attempts for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson has 22 attempts for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
Pocket Passing Advantage: Luck
Fans love electrifying quarterbacks who can run the ball, but why run if you're such a good pocket passer? Luck's rushing numbers have dipped this season, but his pocket awareness and ability to get the ball out fast has greatly improved. This is shown by the fact he has only been sacked twice all season.
Last season he relied heavily on both his arm and legs, but this season he's playing more like a pro-style quarterback. He might have the best pocket awareness of any college quarterback since Peyton Manning.
Heisman Standings Through Week 6:
1. Robert Griffin III
2. Russell Wilson
3. Andrew Luck
People may say this is Luck's award to lose, but don't buy in to that just yet. With four more games coming against ranked opponents, Robert Griffin III has the ability to prove he is for real.
Don't count Russell Wilson out either. If Wisconsin keeps winning and he continues to put up big numbers, we could see a Badger hoisting the Heisman in December.
Luck gets most of the votes right now, but much of that has to do with his NFL hype. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely believe he could be the next Peyton Manning, but not that he has been college football's best player to this point.
Griffin III may be on the worst team of the three, but that shouldn't scare voters away. Back in 2007, Tim Tebow won the award while going 9-4 with the Gators. Winning helps back a quarterback's resume, but he should not be knocked for his inferior supporting cast.
My apologies to Boise State fans for leaving Kellen Moore out of this debate. He is playing exceptionally well and I currently have him as the No. 4 quarterback this season. But because of his weak remaining schedule, he is going to have a tough time passing these three guys on his way to the Heisman.
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