Heisman Trophy 2011: Predicting Robert Griffin III and Heisman Voting
Last season, as the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner was getting ready to be announced, the drama was already gone. It was a one-man show with Cam Newton as the obvious choice.
However, this season went into the final week of the regular season. Who will be the 77th Heisman winner? We will know in just a few short hours.
This year's final five consist of two quarterbacks, two running backs, and a defensive back. Andrew Luck was the clear front runner as the season started. Tyrann Matheiu finished the strongest. Robert Griffin III, Montee Ball, and Trent Richardson were more consistent.
While I believe the front runner is obvious, there are several worthy recipients. Here is my list of how I think the vote will finish.
No.5: Tyrann Mathieu (LSU)
Tyrann Mathieu was a popular pick for Heisman consideration early in the season when he was forcing one turnover after another and found a way to be in the right spot at the right time.
However, a suspension for the Auburn game and three mediocre games following his return, Mathieu fell off the Heisman radar.
But just as he does on the football field, he found a way to battle himself back into contention with his final two games of the season.
Against then ranked No. 3 Arkansas and in the following week against No. 14 Georgia in the SEC championship, Mathieu took over the game when his team was close to losing the perfect season.
Mathieu’s punt returns for touchdowns and ensuing forced turnovers turned a deficit into a one-sided beat down. He has both the suspension and the bias against defensive players going against him. As a result, I believe he will finish fifth.
No. 4: Montee Ball (Wisconsin)
Montee Ball has been snubbed all season, and tonight will be no different. I recently wrote an article on why only Robert Griffin III and Trent Richardson are the only two people who should be considered.
As a result, Big Ten fans blasted me for leaving Ball off my list. After further review, they were correct.
Ball has 2,014 total offensive yards and 38 total touchdowns.
Because of these amazing stats, Ball should be one of the top three recipients of votes, but chances are he will not. I cannot find one reason that Andrew Luck should be voted ahead of Ball.
However, because he was the front runner at the start of the season, he will finish ahead of Ball. I hope the voters will put Ball in the top three, but this is highly unlikely.
No. 3: Trent Richardson (Alabama)
Trent Richardson came into the season as one of the Heisman favorites despite not being a starter the previous season and only rushing for 700 yards. As it turns out, Richardson was even better than advertised.
Richardson had 1,910 offensive yards and 23 touchdowns. These numbers are impressive standing on their own merit. However, when you consider that Alabama had a first-year starter at quarterback and mediocre wide receivers, it makes it more impressive.
As impressive as former Tide running back Mark Ingram’s Heisman trophy season was in 2009, Richardson has been even better.
Richardson could finish No. 2 in the final ballots, but it is unlikely because of three reasons. First, for those voters who like to vote for running backs, he will share votes with Ball.
Secondly, for those voters who like to vote for SEC players, he might lose votes to Matheiu. Lastly, there are many voters who will vote against Richardson as a backlash to Alabama being voted into the championship game.
With this combination, third might be Richardson’s best hope.
No. 2: Andrew Luck (Stanford)
In my opinion, Andrew Luck is going to finish No. 2 in the Heisman vote for one reason—he started as almost the unanimous favorite. Luck did not do anything to lose the Heisman, but he did very little to win it as well.
Luck had a good season and led the Stanford Cardinals to an 11-1 record. He completed 261 of 373 passes for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns to only nine interceptions.
Luck was good in every game, but he was rarely great. This, in part, is because the team did not need him to be great often. However, the Heisman should not be about who is simply the most consistent, but instead on who had the best overall season.
Luck is going to have a great NFL career, and is worthy of all the attention. However, he does not deserve to be in the top three overall.
I guess in the end, perception is reality.
No. 1: Robert Griffin III (Baylor)
A player from Baylor is not supposed to be a legitimate Heisman candidate in today's world of big name players and media frenzy. However, I believe Robert Griffin III is not only going to win the Heisman, he is going to win the Heisman in a landslide.
Griffin completed 267 of 369 passes for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns to only six interceptions. Baylor finished the regular season 9-3. For that football program it's like being undefeated. In the three games that the Bears lost, Griffin was still great. He averaged over 400 yards passing and had nine touchdowns even in his three defeats.
His Heisman moment was against then-No. 5 Oklahoma where he passed for 479 yards and four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Some would argue that Griffin is a system quarterback. However, this could not be further from the truth. He will be a top 15 draft pick if he declares for the draft this season, and rightfully so.
What impresses me the most about Griffin is his leadership. It is visible on film and he has made the Baylor Bear players believers in themselves.
While I could make a reasonable case for Trent Richardson and Montee Ball for Heisman, there is nothing I can take away from Griffin. While there might be players who deserve consideration, Griffin deserves it as much as any player in the nation.
I have been surprised before, but I would be greatly shocked if he does not win the Heisman tonight.