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1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Last week: 253 total yards, 4 TDs, & 1 INT in win vs. No. 22 Notre Dame
Outlook: We live in a society that overreacts from week-by-week. Most media outlets have done its part in contributing to this, whether it’d be it’s coverage of sports, news, or politics. You name it.
I’ve tried to provide the opposite of that. One thing you can takeaway from my Heisman reports is that I’ve consistently downplayed many major occurrences. I don’t jump the gun and rank a player No. 1 because he threw a last second TD pass. I also don’t drop him significantly (if at all) after a tough defeat.
That’s why Luck has been No. 1 on my report from the beginning. He’s the best player in college football. His pedigree is without question. Nobody is talking about how the Miami Dolphins would’ve been better off tanking their season in order to draft Matt Barkley or Robert Griffin III. Both should be top 10 draft picks in 2012, but they haven’t changed the topic as Luck has. He’s influenced the college game and has brought discussion to the pro game. Heisman voters hear his name on Saturday and Sunday. They’re also hearing it in a positive manner. Every detail matters, people. Baring unforeseen circumstances, Luck’s winning the Heisman.
2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Last Week: 203 yards & 1 TD in win at No. 24 Auburn
Outlook: Much like Luck, Richardson’s been on my Heisman report since the first week of the season. In fact, he’s been holding down the No. 2 slot all season long, while Luck’s had his hold on No. 1.
My point being is that I haven’t found a big enough chink in Luck’s armor to elevate Richardson above him. Stanford losing this week against Notre Dame would’ve provided that chink, especially after Richardson ran for a career-high 203 yards, but Luck responded with four TDs in primetime.
Sure, Richardson’s having a better year than Mark Ingram did in his Heisman season, which by the way, this Heisman report pointed out weeks ago. However, that’s not enough to warrant the Heisman by itself. His body of work is great. His value is high. Nonetheless, he didn’t bring it in his biggest game of the year. You can say the same for Luck, but Richardson needed it more. It‘s probably not fair, but it‘s also reality. Unlike Luck, Richardson had to have a big game in his primetime showdown. He didn’t and in the end, it’ll cost him the Heisman trophy.
3. Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Last Week: 457 yards & 5 TDs in win at Tulsa
Outlook: College football fans wanted to see Boise State play for the national title. They didn’t want to see Houston play in the Sugar Bowl against either an SEC school or more likely Michigan. That’s not to say Keenum or Houston doesn’t deserve accolades. I think they do, but they aren’t doing anything that we haven’t seen already.
We saw Boise State and TCU make their run. We’ve seen it from Utah. We saw Colt Brennan and Hawaii do it, which is probably an accurate comparison for Keenum and the Cougars. Busting the BCS has become old news. For a mid conference player to win the Heisman, it’s going to take busting the BCS championship to get it done.
4. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Last Week: 168 total yards & 3 TDs (1 passing) in win vs. Texas Tech
Outlook: Some will argue a concussion cost Griffin III the Heisman, but he never elevated himself above Luck or Richardson. He was in the discussion, which says a lot on it‘s own, but never above the fray.
Baylor does have one remaining game against Texas, though, so Griffin III could provide the unforeseen circumstance needed to knock Luck off his perch. However, it’s going to take an encore of what he’s accomplished against TCU and Oklahoma already. The odds against him are high. Then again, they’ve been that way all year.
On the Bubble
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Monte Ball, RB, Wisconsin
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State