The Honey Badger is too late to be seriously considered for the 2011 Heisman, even though he was named as a finalist. His name hasn't been considered on nearly the same level as Trent Richardson or Andrew Luck's all year.
Winning the Heisman takes significant momentum, especially when you are a defensive player. That momentum will hit its stride in the BCS title game.
Tyrann Mathieu will launch himself to the head of the pre-Heisman talk for 2012 with a big performance in the sport's biggest game. Mathieu has the best opportunity to make a splash as a returner, though Alabama would be wise to kick it away from him. Something tells me that they can handle this aspect of LSU's game.
As opponents of Devin Hester and a Tiger before Mathieu, Patrick Peterson are teaching NFL opponents, great return men can beat good coverage. All it takes is one mistake, and he's gone.
Mathieu also has a chance to make an impact on defense. In a game that figures to be dominated again by that side of the ball, a huge INT for a return, a strip or fumble recovery will do wonders for his already impressive notoriety.
It is true, as a defensive player, you have to do more, but Mathieu is the type of player that is capable. If Les Miles decides to incorporate Mathieu offensively in 2012, which is not out of the question, it would augment his chances even more.
2012 just might be the second coming of a Charles Woodson-like experience at the Heisman ceremony. If so, Mathieu's next stop will likely be the 2013 NFL Draft.