2011 Heisman Snubs: 4 Players Who Deserved a Chance at the Trophy
Well, the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalists were announced on Monday night, and as usual there were a few legitimate contenders left out in the cold.
While the five finalists selected are undoubtedly deserving of the honor, these few players have a real beef for being left out of the argument. Here's a look at why they could, and maybe should, have been considered.
RB LaMichael James, Oregon
After placing third in the 2010 voting, the speedy Oregon running back will not be returning to the trophy presentation in 2011. James has put up 1,646 rushing yards this season, which is good for fourth in the nation and puts him 63 yards ahead of Alabama finalist Trent Richardson.
His 17 touchdowns rank him ninth in the nation in that race, but fall short of Richardson and the other RB finalist, Wisconsin's Montee Ball.
James' Ducks clinched the Pac-12 title this weekend, and will represent their conference in the Rose Bowl against Ball and the Badgers.
James' omission is likely due to lingering injuries and a propensity to put the ball on the turf coming down the stretch. While he has some beef, it would be hard to put him above the two backs who were actually selected.
QB Matt Barkley, USC
The Trojan QB made a real case coming down the stretch, and ended with a true statement game in a six-touchdown 50-0 blowout of UCLA in the final regular season game. Barkley threw for the third most touchdowns of any quarterback in the FBS with 39, and finished eighth in QB rating at 161.2.
Add in the fact that Barkley stands at 11th in passing yards with almost 400 more than finalist Andrew Luck, and you can make a real argument that this junior QB should have been invited.
Someone always has to be the last man out, and it would seem that Matt Barkley holds that distinction this season.
QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
The senior transfer from NC State made a huge splash in his debut season in the Big Ten, and has led the Badgers to a second consecutive Rose Bowl. With a ridiculous 191.6 QB rating Wilson stands in second place in the nation, a remarkable accomplishment when you take into account this is his first year with Wisco.
His 31 TDs land him at ninth in the nation, and matching those numerous scores with just three interceptions shows just how reliable Wilson was in 2011. Throw in the fact that he only threw 284 passes (almost 150 less than the previously mentioned Barkley), and you can see the argument here too.
The fact that Badger RB Montee Ball was a clear invitee probably hurt Wilson's chances as the Heisman Trust likely wanted to spread the wealth, but Wilson certainly deserved real consideration with the season he put together.
QB Case Keenum, Houston
Following the 2011 regular season, Houston QB Case Keenum holds nearly every desirable record for a quarterback in college football. His senior season put an exclamation point on a stellar career, one in which he threw for 49 TDs and 5,099 yards, both of which led the nation.
Keenum also ranks third in passer rating behind finalist Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, putting him in the top three in arguably the three most important categories at his position.
Before a shocking loss to Southern Miss on Saturday, Keenum's Cougars were slated to make a BCS trip and represent Conference-USA in the Sugar Bowl, but the upset ruined their chances and likely put Keenum out of this race too.
Houston's strength of schedule ranked well below many of the premier schools where the other contenders call home, and this is likely the root cause for Keenum being left out.
The Real Finalists
While all of those mentioned here put together terrific seasons it would have been hard to deny any of the actual finalists:
RB Montee Ball (Wisconsin)
RB Trent Richardson (Alabama)
QB Robert Griffin III (Baylor)
CB Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)
QB Andrew Luck (Stanford)
Each of these finalists also sported stunning resumes to go with terrific teams, which has proven to be the recipe for success in the nation's biggest individual honor. Although the Heisman Trust surely can't invite everyone, it will undoubtedly have some questions to answer regarding those left out, but in the end, it is clear that they couldn't really go wrong.
Now, let the complaining, whining, campaigning and debating begin!