Robert Griffin III Takes the Lead in Heisman Straw Poll

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III’s performance in his team’s dramatic win over then-No. 5-Oklahoma this past Saturday has vaulted him into first place in the Heisman race, according to the latest Heisman Straw Poll released on Wednesday (Nov. 23).

Griffin III garnered 9 out of a 13 possible first-place votes–and 28 points in all–from the weekly panel consisting of Heisman voters from all around the country. The Baylor quarterback was tied for fifth with just 2 points in the previous week’s poll, but his 551 yards of total offense against the Sooners changed voter sentiment in a hurry.

“He’s on top of my ballot in part because his talent just jumps out at you, but also because he showed that he could come through in the clutch with the game on the line against an elite opponent,” said one voter.

Still within striking distance of Griffin III is Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who had led the poll the previous 12 weeks. He collected 21 points and just 1 first-place vote. However, he appeared on 12 ballots to Griffin III’s 10, perhaps a reflection of broad support across the Heisman voting regions.

Alabama running back Trent Richardson remained in third with 14 points and 2 first-place votes, but he dropped four points from his total last week. He appeared on seven ballots.

Houston quarterback Case Keenum was once again fourth, tallying 8 points with 1 first-place vote.

A pair of Badgers tied for fifth with 2 points: Running back Montee Ball and quarterback Russell Wilson.  In a three-way-tie for seventh (with one point each) was Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden.

Now in its sixth season, the Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for three players each week. Tabulations are made on a 3-2-1 basis, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.  In each of the last three years, the final Heismanpundit poll has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country.

The 2011 Heismanpundit Straw Poll, 11-23-2011
Player, total points (first place votes in parentheses)

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor — 28 (9)

2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford — 21 (1)

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama — 14 (2)

4. Case Keenum, QB, Houston — 8 (1)

5T. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin — 2

5T. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin — 2

7T. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State — 1

7T. Matt Barkley, QB, USC — 1

7T. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State — 1

Number of ballots: Luck (12), Griffin (10), Richardson (7), Keenum (4), Ball (2), all others (1)

About the Voting Panel
The 13 members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan of, Tom Dienhart of The Big Ten Network, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports, J.B. Morris of ESPN the Magazine, Austin MurphyB.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News.  Chris Huston, publisher of, coordinates and also votes in the weekly poll.

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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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31 Responses to Robert Griffin III Takes the Lead in Heisman Straw Poll

  1. Cowboy_KS November 23, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Luck – great SAT scores but doubtful they are better than RG3’s. The mediocre stats against a below average strength of schedule. I’m just not getting the hype affair with Luck.

    RG3 – If you haven’t watched him play, replay the OU game. He was literally pounded into the turf, and still won the game against a salty OU squad.

    • KB29 November 24, 2011 at 6:07 am #

      He may have looked outstanding to you but he couldnt beat patsy defenses like OK St. & Texas A&M! his team has 3 losses for crying out loud. Trent Richardson had almost 200 all purpose yards against the top defense in the nation that he can play! If he could have kicked a field goal Bama would be undefeated.

      • David December 3, 2011 at 12:29 am #

        … use the word “if” The Heisman is not a team award it is an individual award….Griffin is more valuable to his team

  2. CM November 23, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    So RG III goes from nowhere to the top of the poll in one week based on a great game against an average, at best, Oklahoma defense? Talk about the flavor of the week. His stats would be more impressive if EVERY QB in the conf didn’t throw for a gazillion yards. Passing for 300 yards in the big 12 doesn’t mean nearly as much as passing for 300 yards in the SEC. People get caught up in the gaudy statistics without really looking at the big picture. What defenses are these big numbers coming against? Plus, Baylor still has 3 losses…it’s not like he’s single handidly carrying them to any type of championship. (but I actually enjoy watching him…and he carries himself very well…I’m a fan…but he just doesn’t deserve the Heisman)

    Andrew Luck hasn’t done anything to win the Heisman outside of returning to school. All the “suck for Luck” NFL Draft talk, #1 pic, etc is the only reason Luck is even IN the Heisman race at this point. I’ve watched both of his last two games…and I’m wondering if Barkley isn’t the better QB of the two in the end.

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

    • Ian.C November 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      He didn’t jump from no where. RGIII has been dominant all year, and his stats are superior to those of Luck’s. It just took a big game on a big stage to prove to the idiots that vote for the Heisman that he deserves consideration. Trent Richardson hasn’t done nearly as much dynamically as what RGIII has done for the three years he’s been at Baylor, ESPECIALLY this year. And for your information, winning does not play a factor into Heisman voting, or it shouldn’t. The award is supposed to be to the countries most dynamic player.

      • David December 3, 2011 at 12:36 am #

        Where has he been?
        For all those uninformed and unaware he was voted as the QB on the All-American Freshman Team in 2008

    • goldenboy232 November 24, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      You have to remember that RGIII also has rushed for more than 500 yards and 5 TDs so far.

  3. Figure It Out November 23, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    What the hell is wrong with people ??? I’ve watched RGIII play and all of his big plays are because of dump off passes (or lucky tipped passes that go for 95 yards) and yards after the catch. he also has three losses to some mediocre competition.

    Luck is by far the best player in college football. He does not play in a spread offense and does not throw the ball 40 times a game. The guy is the making throws and plays that no other player in college football can make, and he’s making to sub par wide receivers. Have you ever seen his wr’s wide open ?? No, because he always has to fit the ball in a tight window.

    Not only is he the best athlete and player in college football, but he is a true student athlete. The guy has a 3.5 gpa at stanford in architectural design.

    Figure it out voters. Just because he’s the best player in college football, doesnt mean you can’t vote for him

    • Steven November 23, 2011 at 9:46 am #

      You obviously haven’t watched RGIII play. He is the most prolific and accurate deep ball passer in the NCAA. Also, he only averages 33.6 attempts per game vs. Luck 31.2 attempts per game. Luck averages 8.6 yards per attempt vs. RGIII’s 10.6 yards/att.
      TD/Int: Luck 31/8, RGIII 33/5

      Pay attention

    • RGIII4HEISMAN! November 23, 2011 at 9:49 am #


      If you are a fan of another player, or just disagree with the pick for RGIII at number one, feel free to argue your case… but don’t be stupid.

      To say that RGIII is a product of dump off passes makes you ignorant at best, and a liar at worst. If you have truly watched him play a single game, you would simply know this is untrue. He is the best long ball passer in the game, as was evidenced in the OU game alone with a 69 yard strike, an admittedly flukey 89-yard strike off a dropped ball on a perfect pass, a beautiful 34-yard strike to win the game, and two more long bomb would-be touchdowns (one of which was negated by a holding call that did not impact the play, and the other by a drop on a PERFECT pass)

      He leads the NCAA in total yardage per game, is second in passer rating and yards per attempt only to a guy at Wisconsin who only throws the ball 20 times a game and has a top 2 running back in the country, has two more touchdowns and three less interceptions than your boy, has led a perennial loser (as much as that hurts to admit) to two consecutive bowl games for the first time since 1991.

      Oh yea, he is also playing against the 4th toughest schedule in the nation, and has a defense that ranks 114th in total defense. You’re right, totally unworthy (sarcasm).

      Also, congrats to Luck on being good in the classroom. That is commendable, but it doesn’t give him a leg up on RGIII. He graduated a semester early from HS, with honors, got his undergraduate from Baylor in 3 years (made the Dean’s List twice, Big XII Honor Roll six times), is currently working on finishing his masters, and if he comes back next year will be attending law school.

      RGIII for Heisman!

    • Johnny D. November 23, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      You’re right. Being a student athlete should be factored in … which would benefit RG3, who graduated early from Baylor, will receive his Master’s degree in May, and is petitioning the NCAA to let him attend Law school next year so he can come finish his last year of eligibility. Your argument helps RG3 more than Luck.

    • Trickster November 23, 2011 at 11:43 am #

      Luck may secretly be great and wondeful. He may be a marvelous pro prospect. He may be a really nice guy.

      But what has he done on the football field this year that will make the case that he is the best player? Where are his fancy stats? Where are the showcase wins? Where are the huge games that he won on his back?

      I keep asking all the Luck-for-Heisman proponents to answer these questions. Been asking all year. Still haven’t heard an answer, and I think the reason is that there is no answer. I’ve looked at Luck’s stats, seen a few of his games, read about the rest. He has had a good year, but nothing special. If he wins the Heisman it will be because he was pre-ordained and for no other reason.

    • John Paul Matthews November 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

      Don’t even try to put Luck’s academics up against RG III’s. RGIII has already recieved his bachelor’s in buisiness, his master’s in political science and will start his Doctor of Law work in Sept 2012 while playing football. He is an academic all american and was valedictorian of his high school class. He is plenty smart. He is also the better athlete compared to Luck. If you think he cannot pass in to a small window like Luck then what has he been doing? He is the most prolific offensive weapon in the USA.

    • David December 3, 2011 at 12:41 am #

      Luck lost it during the Oregon game… exposed him for what he is

  4. HP November 23, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    CM, have you ever looked at the SEC and asked the inverse of the questions you are asking here?

    What offenses are these big defensive numbers in the SEC coming against? The SEC has the worst collection of quarterbacks of all the major conferences. Outside of Aaron Murray and Tyler Wilson, it’s filled with a bunch of guys who couldn’t throw for 300 yards against a Pop Warner defense.

    Passing for 300 yards in the SEC doesn’t mean much because it never happens. But not because the defenses are so good. It’s because the QBs are so bad. Be objective. Guys like AJ McCarron, Randall Mackey, Jordan Rodgers, Morgan Newton, etc., are not exactly striking fear into the hearts of defenses.

    Even the runners are down in the SEC this year. Outside of Richardson, who are the great backs? Lattimore has been hurt most of the year. Dyer is good, not great and Crowell is a baby. It’s just a bunch of guys.

    The league is great, but it’s a down year, especially for the offenses compared to the last few seasons. It’s no wonder only Arkansas has a top 20 offense out of the SEC. They’re the only team with a lot of offensive talent to go with a good offensive scheme.

  5. RGIII vs Richardson November 23, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    In my mind, these are the best two players in CFB. Richardson does amazing things against NFL caliber defenses. However, he also has an OLine that is better than 98% of other OLines in the NCAA.

    Baylor does run a spread offense but they are not a “pass happy” offense. There are 60 other teams that have more pass attempts than Baylor and RGIII. (Compare that with OK State [Weeden] – 3rd most pass attempts in NCAA and Houston [Keenum] – 5th most) Another stat: Baylor ranks 25th nationally in Rushing offense with RGIII playing a supporting roll in that. Baylor may not run a pro style offense, but their spread offense cannot be compared with other traditional spread offenses that have hugely inflated passing numbers. With that in mind, RGIII is responsible for more big plays than any other player in College football. Why? Because, IMO, he is the best play in college football.

  6. Jeff November 23, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    Baylor has 3 losses. How can Keenum not be in first with an 11-0 record?

    • tony November 23, 2011 at 11:47 am #

      Uh….cuz he plays for HOUSTON????

      Geez. I’m not saying that it should automatically preclude him from winning the Heisman, but their schedule is a joke.

    • RGIII4HEISMAN! November 23, 2011 at 11:49 am #

      Good point Jeff, discussion closed. Keenum is now the only possible contender for the Heisman because he is the only player left with an 11-0 record. Why even vote?

    • scottymacesq November 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

      Baylor – 4th toughest schedule. Houston – 104th toughest schedule. Put Keenum and UH against the teams that RGIII went up against. I’d love to see that. Strength of schedule is (and should be) considered. Play a bunch of glorified high school teams and of course you’re going to win.

    • Terry Tyler November 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      I’m am SEC fan (Arkansas) have watched many SEC and BIG 12 games. Believe RGIII deserves the Heisman. The best QB in the SEC is Tyler Wilson (Go Hogs). He’s a good QB, hope he can contend for the Heisman next year, but he’s not in the same class as RGIII.

      • Terry Tyler November 25, 2011 at 12:50 am #

        Art Briles was the head coach at Houston when Robert Griffin was being recruited. Griffin signed with Houston but went to Baylor when Briles became the head coach. If Briles and Griffin had stayed at Houston, Griffin and Keenum would have had to compete for the starting QB. Robert Griffin III for Heisman!

      • Terry Tyler November 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

        Heated to see RGIII get hurt. He still had a good 1st half. Hope voters down forget about him. Maybe he can play next week against Texas.

      • Terry Tyler November 28, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

        Don’t understand how Luck can be rated above Griffin:

        QB Rating: Griffin 191.1
        Luck 167.5

        Completion %: Griffin 72.6
        Luck 70.0

        Interception %. Griffin 1.4
        Luck 2.4


      • Terry Tyler November 29, 2011 at 10:31 am #

        Because RGIII got hurt and missed the second half, he fell from first to third? He “only” had three touchdowns and 168 yards (rushing / receiving) in that half. Very disappointed the voters look at one game instead of the season to determine the winner. Since Luck and Richardson won’t score any TD’s this week, shouldn’t that mean RGIII is a lock to win the Heisman. Seems that’s how voters here and ESPN vote (the last game determines the winner). Voters, please at lest watch Baylor vs Texas before voting.

    • David December 3, 2011 at 12:46 am #

      ……Conference USA, that’s why!

  7. scottymacesq November 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    To everyone complaining about Baylor’s three losses and how that should exclude RGIII from a Heisman… Tebow’s 2007 Gators had 3 regular season losses, and they had the 14th toughest schedule that year. The 2007 Gators didn’t play in a BCS game that year either…

  8. Grizzly Gator November 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    @ scottmacesq: yeah, but Tebow was also the first 20/20 guy. He had a monster season that no one had seen in a long time. That being said, I do think that RG3 should win the Heisman. I don’t even think that Luck is even the best quarterback in the PAC-12. It looks to me like Luck isn’t as good as he was last year. I hate to say it, but I think that Barkley is the better QB.

  9. Rockybear November 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    Alabama would trade Trent Richardson for RGIII in an instant. Richardson is a very nice player. He’s not the best college player. He’s probably not even in the top ten as far as importance to a team.

  10. Arce November 26, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    RGIII is playing with a team that has a really weak special team performance, a questionable defense, and an offensive line that in some games suddenly turns into a sieve. And he still performs. The Heisman is not a team award.

    BTW, RGIII is a humble, team-oriented player, a top-notch scholar, and a generous giver of his time and talent to community charitable affairs. There is not a nicer guy in the world. If the award is to the best student-athlete, RGIII wins on both sides of that equation.

  11. TomTom November 26, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    Honey Badger is going to show up to the ceremony and just take the Heisman Trophy. Everyone’s gonna be mad, but Honey Badger doesn’t care, He doesn’t give a s**t.