Heisman Trophy 2011: How the Media Has Diluted Once Prestigious Honor

Michael Mill@@MikeMill23Senior Analyst IIIDecember 9, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03:  Montee Ball #28 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs the ball in the fourth quarter against the Michigan State Spartans during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Once upon a time, it actually meant something to be a Heisman Trophy Winner.

Don't get me wrong, the award itself still holds a very high value and the winners should feel honored to be recognized with the list of elite individuals.

However, it's not the same as it used to be.

There is now outside influence on who the award should go to. Much is to blame on the media.

Let's take this year's finalists for example.

Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, Montee Ball, Robert Griffin III and Tyrann Mathieu are the five finalists for the 2011 Heisman Trophy.

The three that are actually the most deserving are the three that aren't being looked at as closely.

The media has hyped Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson since the beginning of the season. In fact, they were hyped as candidates last season.

However, this year, they are the two least deserving in the list.

Andrew Luck has been outperformed by Robert Griffin III this year.

Griffin leads the nation with a 192.3 quarterback rating. He has thrown for 3,998 yards, 36 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Luck has throw for just 3,170 yards, 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

However, thanks to the media, the perception is that Luck had the better season and is the better quarterback.

The same holds true for Trent Richardson and Montee Ball.

Richardson gets the recognition for being the best running back in the country despite the fact that Ball is extremely close to breaking Barry Sanders' record for touchdowns in a season.

Ball leads the nation in rushing yards at 1,759 yards. He also has 255 receiving yards and 38 total touchdowns.

Trent Richardson has 1,583 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns.

However, for some reason Richardson gets all the recognition. This one has a lot to do with the SEC bias which doesn't hold any worth in this situation.

The two have actually faced equal competition defensively and Ball outplayed Richardson against top opponents.

Brad Edwards of ESPN breaks it down here.

If you don't have Insider, the article states that Ball has faced five top 40 defenses this year and Richardson has faced six.

Actually, Ball has faced six if you include the Big Ten Championship when he rushed for four touchdowns.

In those other five games Ball averages 159 yards and three touchdowns to Richardson's 130 yards and 1.7 touchdowns.

It doesn't really matter. It will all go unnoticed.

Richardson has already taken home the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the nation. Luck has received the Maxwell Award as the top player in the country.

It's just a sign of things to come. Those who deserve the award won't win it.

The Heisman Trophy just doesn't hold the same value that it used to.