The five finalists for the 2011 Heisman Trophy were announced Monday. Not surprisingly, Baylor’s junior QB Robert Griffin III was among those selected.
It would certainly be a coup for my alma mater, whose football team has slowly gained national renown in recent years, after nearly a decade of ridicule, scorn and derision from other schools who questioned why we were still in the Big 12. Under the leadership of Coach Art Briles, the Bears have risen from a 3-9 team that lost every conference game in 2007 (the year before Briles took over) to a 9-3 team that is now headed to its second consecutive bowl game. (Yes, it's the Alamo Bowl, but still.) After Baylor's 48-24 rout of Texas on Saturday night, the characteristically humble and down-to-earth star of our football team told ESPN's Samantha Steele, “I could be wrong, but I think Baylor won its first Heisman tonight.”
Griffin was right: He could be wrong. I'll leave it to more learned sprots analysts to speculate on each finalist's odds of winning the trophy. Right now I just want to offer an argument why Griffin is the best choice of the five.
I'll start with the only other QB in the running. No doubt Andrew Luck is an impressive player. Anyone who's seen him in action should acknowledge that. I'm not going to try and compare the finesse displayed by him and RG3 on the field this season; you would need to see them perform to get the full picture. So let's compare their stats. Luck has passed for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns while completing 70% of his attempts this season.
Pretty good stuff. RG3, however, finished the regular season with 3,998 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and a 72.4% completion rate. He was intercepted six times to Luck's nine, and, while Luck ranks fifth nationally in passing efficiency, Griffin leads the nation in passing efficiency. He has also rushed for 644 yards and nine touchdowns. By almost every measure, Griffin has outperformed Luck on the field this year.
As to the two running backs still in contention, Trent Richardson of Alabama and Montee Ball of Wisconsin, I won't endeavor to declare one of them superior to the other; I'll only say that neither deserves the Heisman as much as RG3. Statistically, Ball has a more impressive record than Richardson this year: He leads the nation in rushing yards (1,759) and touchdowns (32 Rushing, 6 Receiving). Unfortunately, I'm out of time and have other things to do. Let's just say the Honey Badger is amazing, and it would be interesting for a cb to win a trophy that usually goes to offensive stars, but it's just not his time yet. I'll probably update this post later in the week.