At the end of every college football season, the Heisman Trophy is given to college football’s most outstanding player. In most years, there is generally one player that sticks out above the rest of the field. Players like Cam Newton, Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow have won the award by huge total point differentials.
This year, though, many players have been in the running. Early in the season, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones seemed in great shape to win the award after a victory on the road against Florida State. A loss to Texas Tech just a couple of weeks later took him out of the running.
Other players like Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden and Boise State’s Kellen Moore were in the running as well, but losses ruined their chances as well.
With so many players having outstanding seasons this year, it was hard to decide who was going to be accepted to the Heisman Trophy presentation award on Saturday in New York. The five candidates this year are Montee Ball, Robert Griffin, Tyrann Mathieu, Trent Richardson and Andrew Luck. Here is a look at why any of these five candidates could take home the award.
Ball leads the country in rushing yards with 1,759 yards, as well as touchdowns, with 38 total. His 38 touchdowns are only one shy of Barry Sanders’ single season record. He is one of the main reasons that Wisconsin finished the season Big Ten Conference champions and will be going to Pasadena, Calif., to take on the Oregon Ducks.
After an incredible first month of the season where Griffin had thrown more touchdown passes than incompletions, the Baylor Bears hit a rough patch. However, the Bears were able to bounce back and finish 9-3 on the season. Griffin threw just two yards under 4,000 passing yards and had 36 touchdowns, compared to only six interceptions. One thing working for RGIII is that his “Heisman moment” is still fresh in the fans’ minds. He threw for 479 yards, including a touchdown pass with 8 seconds left, in the upset over the Oklahoma Sooners.
Not since Charles Woodson in 1997 has a defensive player won the award. What makes Mathieu special is his ability to make the big play. Mathieu, only a sophomore, already has the LSU record for forced fumbles in a career. His ability to make plays in the return game is also a reason that he is a candidate. In the Southeastern Conference title game against Georgia, Mathieu took back a punt return for a touchdown, and nearly completed a second one still worthy of a play of the year award. The difference between Mathieu and Woodson is that Woodson also played offense when he won the award at Michigan.
Richardson is one of the main reasons that the Crimson Tide is in the national title game. Alabama’s offense has been mediocre on the year and they have relied heavily on Richardson to carry the load for them. He responded with 1,583 yards and 20 touchdowns on the season. These numbers are impressive because he was the defense’s main focus every single night. Ball, on the other hand, at Wisconsin, has Russell Wilson at quarterback so teams cannot load up in the box on defense.
Coming into the season, Luck was the clear-cut favorite for the award. Luck has had an outstanding season for the Cardinal as he has thrown for 3,570 yards and 35 touchdowns. What hurt Luck is that in his team’s biggest game of the year, the Cardinal were unable to get it done as they got blown out by eventual Pac-12 Conference champion Oregon. Stanford still earned a berth to the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State in what could be one of the most exciting bowl games of the season.
With all of these candidates having such a great season, it is hard to decide which one of the five terrific players will take home the trophy. The winner will be announced on Saturday night on ESPN. This has the making of the closest Heisman Trophy race since Eric Crouch won it in 2001.