Penn State Football: Does Matt McGloin Belong the Heisman Race?

Ken Rider@KRide88Contributor IOctober 25, 2012

IOWA CITY, IOWA - OCTOBER 20:  Quarterback Matt McGloin #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions waves to fans following the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes on October 20, 2012 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. Penn State defeated Iowa 38-14. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Depending on whom you listen to, the Heisman Trophy has already been won and lost several times this season.

Preseason favorite Denard Robinson saw his campaign fall apart faster than Herman Cain's presidential bid, falling off the map after a Week 1 blowout at the hands of Alabama. 

That left USC quarterback Matt Barkley as the clear-cut favorite, and his reign actually lasted two whole weeks before the senior was intercepted twice as his second-ranked Trojans were upset by Stanford.

Geno Smith was the next player to be anointed, and he seemed to have some staying power thanks to the video game numbers he was putting up in head coach Dana Holgerson's Red Bull-fueled offense.

But alas, like Robinson and Barkley before him, Geno fell back to earth. Hard. After throwing 24 touchdowns and nearly 400 yards per game through the first five weeks, Smith and the Mountaineer offense have floundered in consecutive losses, ending their national championship hopes and Geno's Heisman chances along with it.

So now it's Colin Klein, the diminutive signal-caller from Kansas State who seemingly has the trophy wrapped up. But as we've seen already this year, its a perilous perch. If Klein plays poorly or the Wildcats lose, the race is wide open once again, and you will hear fans and pundits alike calling for numerous names to take home the trophy.

One name you probably won't hear mentioned, however, is Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin. He isn't flashy, the Lions already have two losses, and most analysts would still rather talk about certain off-the-field incidents than what's actually happening inside Beaver Stadium. And none of that comes as a surprise, but it's too bad because McGloin has quietly put together a very good season, and deserves to at least have his name discussed. 

Before you accuse me of being a complete homer, here are some stats to consider...

On ESPN.com's weekly Heisman watch, there are currently seven quarterbacks listed in their top 12 Heisman candidates.

Of those seven, McGloin has thrown for more yards than all but Smith and Texas Tech's Seth Doege and for nearly 400 yards more than front-runner Klein.

McGloin has also added six rushing touchdowns, more than Smith, Barkley, Doege and Alabama's AJ McCarron combined.

Now obviously there is much more to football than just stats, and that's what hurts McGloin's campaign. He has yet to have a defining moment that voter's can point to, and the NCAA sanctions will keep Penn State from getting much run from the national media.

But just as intangibles will end McGloin's Heisman chances before they begin, there are some other intangibles that he should be commended for. Along with head coach Bill O'Brien he has become the face of the new era in Happy Valley, and he seems to have embraced it, despite having this top two weapons leave via transfer and being saddled with a completely overwhelmed kicker.

All of it while learning a completely new, and by all accounts very complicated, offense. Quite simply, he has been everything you would want in a leader, and a Heisman candidate.

Matt McGloin is not going to win the Heisman Trophy.

He won't be invited to New York for the ceremony, and who knows? He might not even get a single vote. And that's OK. He won't be the best player on the best team like Klein could be, nor will he put up mind-blowing numbers like Geno Smith.

But it's hard to argue he has been as valuable to his team as just about anyone in the country, and that's good enough for me.


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