I thought for most of the past few weeks of the season that the Heisman vote would be a tough call, but it became really clear by the end. There really was only one choice:
1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Griffin’s passing stats are some of the best college football has ever seen. His rating of 192.3 would be a NCAA record if the season ended today. He averaged 10.8 yards per attempt (best in the nation, and only one other player had more than 9.5) while completing 72.4 percent of his passes. That’s an insane combination. He had 36 touchdowns to only six interceptions and 3,998 yards passing. He was consistent and he played well against good teams. Oh, and he had 644 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
I’m not sure I even believe those stats are real. And Griffin did it at Baylor, whose nine wins are the most for the program since 1986. I don’t know how anyone could cast a vote for another player.
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
You could make the argument that Luck wasn’t the best quarterback in the Pac-12, and it’s reasonable. USC’s Matt Barkley was better in a few statistical categories. I generally detest the “eye test,” but that’s a main reason I had Luck here. When you watch him, it’s hard to argue he’s not deserving of this spot. His numbers were very good, he had a clutch performance in a classic game at USC, and I don’t know what Stanford would have done without him but it wouldn’t have gone 11-1, I’m pretty sure of that.
3. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
I’ll admit a mistake. I watched that USC-Stanford game earlier this year and was convinced USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil was the best player in the nation, regardless of position. I asked USC for more information on him. I watched him whenever I could. Kalil probably should have been in this spot on my ballot. He is tremendous. Instead, I chose Ball’s incredible numbers after wrestling with a bunch of names. Boise State QB Kellen Moore, Houston QB Case Keenum, Alabama RB Trent Richardson, Oregon RB LaMichael James and LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu got consideration. Moore was the other player, along with Kalil, I really had a tough time passing on. I have a lot of respect for Moore and his career. But, Mountain West defenses didn’t provide a lot of competition. The Big Ten is pretty good, Ball played well against some good teams, and his NCAA-best 1,759 yards, 6.4-yard average and 32 touchdowns (all clearly better than Richardson in the running back race) were enough to get him on my ballot.