Will Keenum’s Big Night Make A Difference?

There may not have been a less fortuitous night for Houston’s Case Keenum to have thrown nine touchdown passes and break the all-time NCAA mark for that category than last night.

As it turns out, one of the best game in World Series history helped bury Keenum’s big game in the media. In case you haven’t heard, he threw for 534 yards and the nine scores in a 73-34 win over Rice. I saw the results on the ticker, but I had to wait a long time to catch the highlights on ESPN afterward. This morning, both ESPN’s and SI.com’s college football front page consigned his story to the ‘Top Stories’ sidebar. No special commentary was forthcoming.

It illustrates the uphill climb a great player like Keenum faces playing in a non-BCS conference, which naturally results in matchups with non-marquee schools like Rice. And that tends to understate the impressiveness of performances like this one. (Yeah, but it’s Rice, you’ll hear people say, as if everyone else threw 9 TDs against Rice this year, too.)

I don’t think Keenum is going to win the Heisman, but I do think he’s got a chance to make it to New York as a finalist, especially when one considers where his numbers are headed. Can voters ignore someone who has thrown for 5,200 yards, with 52 touchdown passes and just 5 picks, as he is on pace to do?

I think this could be a dilemma for some voters, as many will acknowledge that while Keenum’s level of competition is lower than the other candidates and even though he plays in a system that gives him a unique opportunity to pile up these stats, he’s also broken almost every conceivable NCAA passing mark while leading his team to (potentially) an undefeated season.

What else can the guy do?

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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5 Responses to Will Keenum’s Big Night Make A Difference?

  1. Uncle Sweaty October 29, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    He should win the Heisman; but he won’t. As you said, ‘what else can he do?’ He is a remarkable QB, regardless of his conference or the schedule. The numbers speak for themselves; he is an incredible competitor, is a great ambassador for his team, his university, and for the NCAA.

    Unfortunately, even if Houston has a perfect season, the media will give it nothing more than a sidebar on page two, and likely little else more than the same for Case.

  2. Craig October 29, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    As I said last week in this space, not only is Keenum the best college player this year, he is among the all-time greats.

    No one has thrown for nine touchdowns in eleven years. As the Heisman Pundit wrote, if it’s so easy (because of competition level), why isn’t everyone doing it? Keenum is an incredibly good player, who honestly deserves a shot at the Heisman. Go back and watch his tapes, and see the vision, the quick release, the touch on the ball, the arm strength, the fact that he gets the offense into the right play after reading the defense (Houston is not one of those groundhog offenses where everyone looks over to the sideline after rushing to get lined up), and how he leads his team. He is well-respected by everyone around him, and does everything the right way. He is everything you could hope for in a Heisman candidate.

    I hope he gets the fair chance to win what he has earned on the field.

  3. oldtimecoog October 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Case Keenum is the best college player in the game today which is supposed to be what the Heisman is all about. Unfortunatly it is more of a contest for good players from “major progams” that have great tv contracts and UH plays on fox sports on thursday nights instead of ABC/ESPN on saturday.

  4. Les October 31, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    If people look past what others want to call a weak schedule (what was the Rice/UT score, the East Carolina/South Carolina score, or the Marshall/WVU score?) and focus on the skill Keenum demonstrates each week there would be no way this guy isn’t in N.Y. for the awards ceremony. But, ABC/ESPN have contracts with BCS schools, so there is no way they are going to promote a player that plays for a program they don’t (or rarely) broadcast. There is nothing unbiased about whom they promote as players, and that is a shame for college football. The focus isn’t on the best player in a given year, but on a player that plays for a program in an AQ conference so the TV ratings go up.

  5. Chad October 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Best college QB period. Look at what other great QBs have done against the same teams in Keenum’s career. Compare his numbers to Luck’s against UCLA this year. Compare his numbers against OSU in ’08 and ’09, and Texas Tech in ’09 to Colt McCoy’s. Compare his numbers against Miss State in ’09 to Tim Tebow’s or Ryan Mallets. Keenum whips them all every time. The argument about quality of opponent does not stack up.