Wisconsin Badgers Football

Minus Two Miracle Throws, Montee Ball Is Your 2011 Heisman Winner

Ball led the nation in rushing touchdowns for Wisconsin who amassed ten wins and is on the road for the Rose Bowl with him in the backfield.
Ball led the nation in rushing touchdowns for Wisconsin who amassed ten wins and is on the road for the Rose Bowl with him in the backfield.Mark Cunningham/Getty Images
Adam McLaughlinContributor IIDecember 9, 2011

Why has the media sabotaged Montee Ball’s Heisman chance? 

Ball led the nation in rushing and is two touchdowns away from setting a new NCAA record for touchdowns in a season. 

So why is it that when I turn on ESPN’s SportsCenter that the Big Ten Championship Game highlights show only one fourth-quarter score from Ball?

Ball dominated the first quarter of the game rushing for more than 80 yards and scoring twice. 

Why was the only first-quarter highlight a simple Russell Wilson five-yard touchdown pass?  Why is it when I turn on ESPN’s College Football Live that the host introduces the Heisman candidates and states that Ball is one touchdown short of Barry Sanders’ record and then makes the disqualifying statement that Sanders did not have a conference title or bowl game to add to his total?  Why did the same host not state that Ball is the nation’s leading rusher?

The single season touchdown record has not been challenged since set in 1988.  Even college legends like Ricky Williams and Marshall Faulk never threatened Sanders’ record.  Faulk even played in a weak conference with plenty of chances to inflate his numbers against Western Athletic Conference competition. 

Is it Ball’s fault that the NCAA now records bowl games as official stats? The media is treating Sanders' touchdown record with some sort of sacred number that Ball is insulting by scoring so many touchdowns. ESPN normally celebrates record chases like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa chasing Maris, and even Tom Brady and Randy Moss chasing the NFL touchdown records (Moss broke Jerry Rice’s record with the luxury of playing four extra games). 

The media is treating Ball’s season like it needs an asterisk behind it just like Bonds’ 756 home run. 

Why is the Heisman favorite the quarterback of a team that lost three games and went to overtime with Kansas, who is in college and dead last in points allowed in the FBS? That happens to be Robert Griffin, who has one true road win in this 2011 campaign.

The facts are that Ball is the nation’s leading rusher and barring some sort of catastrophe, will break the touchdown record in the Rose Bowl. 

Ball turned Wisconsin possessions inside the five-yard line into gimmie points.  If it weren’t for two miracle passes, Wisconsin would be headed to the BCS Title Game and Ball would be a lock for the award.

The media focused on Wilson early in the season and gave up on the Badgers after two Hail Mary passes in consecutive weeks.

The numbers speak for themselves.  Ball scored more times than the quarterback finalists threw for.  It is embarrassing as a football fan to watch the media hand the Heisman Trophy to a mediocre quarterback from an average team?  It is too bad the Baylor Bears aren’t good enough to come play in the Rose Bowl and America could see who truly is the best player in the country. 

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