It’s quite simple: What we learned today is that he is still leader in the Heisman race, despite those who say that a three-interception game counts as some sort of automatic disqualification.
Far more important than the fact that Robinson’s team lost and far more important than the three interceptions is the fact that, in a game where he was slowed down considerably, he still had over 300 yards of offense (217 passing, 84 rushing) against a ranked team that was determined to stop him. It’s become clear that an ‘off’ day for him is still an ‘on’ day for most players. Furthermore, it has still not been demonstrated that he can be ‘stopped’ the way most players can.
Hearken back to game six of the 2007 season. Tim Tebow was held to 158 passing yards, 67 rushing yards and two total touchdowns in a loss to LSU (the second-straight for the Gators). That loss did little to slow down the Tebow train because he was able to maintain his record-setting pace, just as Robinson was able to against Michigan State. Had Robinson been completely shut down, his Heisman hopes would’ve suffered immensely, but that’s not what happened.
At the halfway point, Robinson now has 1,225 passing yards, 8 TD passes and 4 picks, with 991 rushing yards and 9 TDs. It doesn’t take a math major to see that this projects to 2,450 passing yards, 16 TDs, 8 ints, 1,982 rushing yards and 18 TDs. A twist here and there and he’s still the NCAA’s first 2,000/2,000 guy.
I will grant that there are tougher defenses ahead of him. But even if Robinson averages the yardage he did in his ‘off day’ the rest of the year, he would end up with a 2,500/1,500 season, which would still make him a formidable, really hard-to-beat candidate.
Remember, the Heisman race does not take place inside a vacuum for each player. Robinson will be measured against what the rest of the field has done. If Robinson is not the front runner right now, who is? The other candidates in the race have also had games where they were ‘slowed’ down.
There are lots of games left to be played and I still think Terrelle Pryor has the best chance to win in the end (see my Heisman Watch), but if there was a vote today, Robinson would win.
It’s still his trophy to lose.