The Heisman Road Ahead

While I wait for the last stragglers from my Heisman panel to chip in this week’s votes, I thought I’d give a run down on what’s left on the schedule for the various contenders.

The interesting thing about the remaining schedule is the conference title game variable. More than a couple of the candidates could end up with a second game if things go right.

Andrew Luck — Notre Dame, (Pac-12 Title Game)

Luck gets the Irish in prime time at home and it’s a great chance to pick up some votes in the Midwest and Northeast regions. The Stanford quarterback has been lost in the shuffle the last couple weeks as Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III have taken turns in the spotlight, but this will give him one last chance to remind voters what they’ve liked about him for so long. And there’s also the outside chance that Luck gets another crack at it in the Pac-12 title game, but that would require Oregon State to upset Oregon.

Robert Griffin III — Texas Tech, Texas

Baylor takes on Texas Tech this Saturday, which should result in another big game for Griffin III. He’ll close out against Texas in Waco, where the Bears haven’t beaten the Longhorns since 1997. Beating OU and Texas in the same season?  Never happened before. The game against Texas is the last chance for Griffin III to seal the deal.

Trent Richardson — Auburn, (SEC Title Game)

This game will be closely watched, so it’s a chance for Richardson to make his Heisman move. Because of his relatively week rushing numbers, he needs to get big yardage and score touchdowns to have a shot at upending Luck and Griffin III. He might also get an extra chance to impress voters and pad his stats if LSU gets upset by Arkansas, as that would most likely send Bama to the SEC Title Game.

Case Keenum — Tulsa, (C-USA Title Game)

The Tulsa game on Friday is huge for Keenum and Houston. If Tulsa pulls the upset, it goes to the C-USA title game, which will obviously derail whatever chance Keenum has of going to New York. Beat Tulsa and then it’s Southern Miss in the title game. If Keenum can get to 5,000 yards passing and 45 TDs, he’ll have a good shot at being a finalist.

Montee Ball — Penn State, (Big Ten Title Game)

One big game against Penn State won’t be enough to propel Ball into the thick of the race. He’ll need to dominate in a win against the Nittany Lions and then do the same in the Big Ten title game. If he can have 1,800 yards to go with 35 or so touchdowns when Heisman votes are due, then you have to like his chances to get to New York.

Matt Barkley — UCLA

USC plays a late game against UCLA, so not many people will have an eye on this one. Barkley would need to put up extraordinary numbers to get everyone’s attention away from all the talk of the other big games going on this weekend. Not having a chance to play for the Pac-12 title is what really kills his chances.

Brandon Weeden — Oklahoma

Crazier things have happened and I wouldn’t completely count Weeden out as a potential Heisman finalist. If Griffin III and Luck lay an egg this weekend, it could cause voters to take a second look at Weeden against OU the following weekend in what will be the de facto Big 12 title game.

Kellen Moore — Wyoming, New Mexico

Moore’s fantastic regular season career ends with a bit of a whimper against an average Wyoming team and a horrible New Mexico squad. It won’t be enough to salvage his fading Heisman hopes.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, 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 The Heisman Road Ahead

  1. CM November 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Trent Richardson now is currently #1 in ESPN’s Heisman Experts Poll.

    I guess some people actually put a premium on the COMPETITION each guy has faced. We already know RG III will throw for a ton of yards against Tx Tech and probably Texas. Why? Because EVERY QB throws for a ton of yards in that conf…no one plays real defense!

    Andrew Luck hasn’t done anything to win the Heisman outside of returning to school. He gets ND to beat up on at the end, which might help him since the media always acts like ND is a “big” game like it’s 1988 or something.

    1. Trent Richardson
    2. RG III
    3. Andrew Luck

    • Frank Hart November 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

      CM: Funny and well-written post. Only problem is in your allegation that no one in the Big 12 plays defense. Week-in and week-out Baylor is ranked in the Top 10 or so nationally in strength of schedule. That would leave one to believe that they’re not exactly playing a cupcake schedule (much like Houston has). Regarding solely defense, last I heard OU, TCU, and Texas have good defenses. OU led the nation in sacks. TCU led the nation in total defense for the past 3 years. And Texas is currently #10 in total defense. And by the way, RG3 is currently number one in CBS Sports’ poll.
      And I have to say that your comments about Luck and Notre Dame are hilarious! Are you a writer by chance? If not, you should be! If so, let me know where you write so I can follow you.

      1. RG3
      2. Doesn’t matter because there is only one trophy, and since RG3 is the one who plays one of the toughest schedules in the nation and has unbelievable stats…. case closed.

      • GMan November 23, 2011 at 10:29 am #

        Is RGIII electric? Absolutely. Does Houston play a ridiculous schedule? Absolutely. Does RGIII play ‘good’ defenses? That one is harder to buy.

        Baylor plays a tough schedule. That’s because it faces great offenses. It’ll be tough to convince people that the competition RGIII is throwing against is anything more than average. Right now, the highest-rated defense he has played is 47th (TCU). Oklahoma? Currently 63rd, and they gave up comparable stats to Seth Doege and RGIII. Texas is a legitimate claim as a tough defense. But I don’t think you can preemptively elevate Baylor’s strength of schedule based on teams they have yet to play.

  2. Marty November 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    You have what i assume is a typo in the RG3 segment. Baylor’s last win againt UT at home was in 1997, not ’87.

    1997 game stats,/a href>

    • Heismanpundit November 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

      Correction made. Thanks!