LSU vs. Alabama: Will Tyrann Mathieu Prove He Deserved To Be a Heisman Finalist?

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03:  Tyrann Mathieu #7 of the LSU Tigers celebrates after earning the MVP trophy in their 42-10 win over the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2011 SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The finalists for the Heisman Trophy were released yesterday and two names stood out from the rest of the contenders as odd—Montee Ball and Tyrann Mathieu.

When looking at Ball’s stats this season, there is absolutely no reason not to invite him but he has not gotten as much press as he should have because of Russell Wilson.

But then there’s LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. The “Honey Badger” takes what he wants and his stat line is pretty ridiculous in terms of turnovers. He has two interceptions, four fumble recoveries and six forced fumbles, returning two fumbles for touchdowns.

And he added spectacular special teams plays as well, returning two punts for touchdowns in the last two games.

Frankly, the only thing keeping him a favorite for the award is a perceived character issue. Earlier this season he and some other LSU players were busted for smoking synthetic marijuana and it caused them to miss the Tigers’ game against Auburn. He is also an extremely vocal player who is not afraid to talk trash.

This season he has done more than enough to back up his words but he had one of his worst games all season against Alabama in the teams’ first game. Will this time be any different?

There is no reason to assume otherwise.

Alabama does not pass the ball that much and if he only got five total tackles in the first game, you can expect a similar number this time. Realistically, the only opportunities he will have to prove himself are by getting a fumble or returning a punt for big yards.

Have you seen Trent Richardson’s arms? There’s a reason why Alabama has only fumbled the ball four times all season. And the Tide rank 21st in the country in punt return defense and have not given up a punt return for a touchdown all year.

Mathieu should have a solid performance in the national championship but the odds are against him making a big play the second time around.