The Numbers…with one week to go.

This is obviously a very interesting, competitive and exciting Heisman race. I’m going to have to summon all my punditry powers to get an accurate read on it.

In the meantime, here are some basic stats for the top contenders heading into the final weekend:

Andrew Luck
261 of 376, .694%, 3,170 yards
35 TDs, 9 INTs, 166.16 rating
153 rush yards, 2 TDs

Notes: Very good numbers all around, but some people expected more excitement out of the Stanford QB.  Doesn’t have many memorable highlights, outside of a one-handed catch.

Trent Richardson
263 carries, 1,583 yards
6.0 ypc, 20 rush TDs
27 receptions, 327 yards
3 receiving TDs

Notes: His rushing total is historically low by Heisman standards. Since 1975, only Mark Ingram has rushed for fewer than 1,600 yards while managing to still take home the trophy (and that was the closest race in Heisman history).

Matt Barkley
308 of 446, .690%, 3,528 yards
39 TDs, 7 INTs, 161.22 rating,
2 rush TDs

Notes: A latecomer to the campaign. Great numbers but lost to Luck head-to-head. Probation cost him a chance to make a final case for the trophy.

Robert Griffin III
252 of 347, .726%, 3,678 yards
34 TDs, 5 INTs, 191.11 rating
149 carries, 612 rush yards, 7 TDs
vs. Texas

Notes: Fantastic numbers. Has the NCAA record for efficiency in his pocket. Will he be ready to play against Texas after his concussion limited him against Texas Tech?

Case Keenum
342 of 467, .732%, 4,726 yards
43 TDs, 3 INTs, 187.35 rating
3 rushing TDs
vs. Southern Mississippi

Notes: Ridiculous numbers, but voters remain a bit skeptical. Also could break the NCAA efficiency record, to go with all his other records.

Montee Ball
248 carries, 1,622 rush yards
6.5 ypc, 29 rush TDs
17 receptions, 248 yards
5 receiving TDs
vs. Michigan State

Note: 34 total TDs is second-best in NCAA history. Getting within sniffing distance of Barry Sanders’ record of 39 is sure to impress voters as they hear more about it next weekend.

Brandon Weeden
355 of 486, .730%, 4,111 pass yards
34 TDs, 12 INTs, 162.26 rating
vs. Oklahoma

Note: Very good numbers but they get lost in the shuffle when compared to some of the other candidates.

Kellen Moore
272 of 373, .729%, 3,194 pass yards
38 TDs, 7 INTs, 174.72 rating
vs. New Mexico

Notes: Impressive as usual. Voters need more to go on when it comes to schools from non-BCS conferences, unfortunately.

It’s a pretty amazing field. Lots of big numbers, lots of stellar performances. It will be hard for voters to sort out. While this will not be the closest vote in Heisman history, as 2009’s race was, I expect that five finalists might be in the offing if no one can truly separate on the final weekend of games.

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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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19 Responses to The Numbers…with one week to go.

  1. Roger November 27, 2011 at 8:09 am #

    For Luck, I thing you need to look at Red Zone stats as well. Stanford leads the FBS in efficiency (98%), scores (63) and TD passes (26). He’s clearly doing more with less; not benefitting from big play talent around him. Luck is the main reason Stanford is 11-1.

  2. RC November 27, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Well said Roger. No other QB has to deal with minimal talent in the WR core AND a defense that is suspect to big plays. Yes he has the TE’s but he has only had 1.5 of the trio over the last month. Stanford would be at best a .500 team without Luck. Also, unlike some of the past winners, he is also an outstanding student, community serviceman, and humble individual who is more about team than the stats. They could have easily tried for a 5th TD in the late second half of the ND game, but it was just run, run, run……..and Luck was just fine with it.

    Thank goodness there are still college athletes that exemplify “student-athlete.” Notice which word comes first in that label. The Heisman is an award for “…the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work.” Andrew Luck fits this label in EVERY way.

    T. Richardson is an outstanding college athlete and he is deserving of a trip to NY as well as RGIII. Alabama would still be a great team with almost any other player at RB. RGIII is actually better than TR in athletic ability and helping his team win when they probably wouldn’t without him. Neither can touch his work academically for what it took to get into Stanford or to be successful there throughout his enrollment. Neither is as important as Luck is to the entire Stanford football program. Neither can match A.Luck in the overall mission of the Heisman Trophy – it’s time to award someone completely deserving of the trophy.

    • Randall Morgan November 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

      I know it’s Stanford but RGIII will graduate with a Master’s Degree this May and will probably apply to Law School next year with one more year of eligibility.

  3. Andoni Luzuriaga November 27, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    RC you said it PERFECTLY. And I really, really hope Heisman voters will consider all the things you’ve said as they are all true and relevant. It bothers me though, because I think a lot of the voters, past winners for instance, won’t do their due diligence and do the research on the candidates. ALL of the facts you’ve mentioned don’t show on any stat sheet. I truly hope voters do their homework and award Andrew Luck the Heisman Trophy.

  4. GMan November 27, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    It’s a very tough call. All the arguments you could make for Luck apply to someone else in the race. A person whose team would be .500 without him? RGIII. Excelling with poor support from the team? Case Keenum. Intangibles and efficiency that don’t translate to stats? Russell Wilson.

    For each of the contenders, though, there is a gaping hole in the candidacy, just as there is for Luck:

    RGIII pulled through in the clutch against Oklahoma but also proved he can’t rally to win as well as Luck does (zero fourth quarter points in losses to K-State and A&M, an awful game in loss to OK State).

    Keenum’s strength of schedule [Sagrin] is 111th while every other Heisman contender except Boise and Wisconsin plays a top-40 schedule.

    Russell Wilson isn’t even the best person on his team. Montee Ball should be getting all the attention Richardson doesn’t deserve.

    Richardson also faces the uphill battle of backlash from Ingram winning a Heisman many thought he didn’t deserve with very pedestrian numbers.

    What separates Luck from the pack? If anything, Penn St., Ohio St., Miami, USC, Cam Newton and Willie Lyles boost Luck’s Heisman campaign. NCAA football and the BCS is suffering from an enormous PR problem right now. If Luck wins, it will be because the sport needs him to. Rosenberg’s SI article sums it:

    “Without even meaning to, Luck brought sanity back to a sport that has lost its mind. And he did it while playing football better than anybody else in the country…But you get the sense that if Luck finishes second or third, he’ll smile and get on with his life.”

    The whole article:

  5. RC November 27, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Gman, I agree with most of your comments but mostly appreciate you reminding me of this SI article. The summation statement couldn’t be more true. While I think it’s obscene how much money universities are making off of kids playing football (the cost of scholarships PALES in comparison to the revenue generated by their talents) I do agree that rules are rules. As far as research will show RGIII has no skeletons in his closet, but TR definitely has allegations swirling about his name in a big way. The last thing the Heisman needs is another “give back,” i.e. Reggie Bush. Given enough time Cam Newton’s issues with his pops will likely show back room deals did actually occur.

    Luck has zero issues with allegations or integrity pauses. If he doesn’t win he most likely will just go on and have a great NFL career, just like Elway did. If he does win, the honor of the trophy will carried by one of the greatest ambassadors the Heisman Trust could ever hope for.

    • CM November 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

      TR has no “allegations” outside of the hysterical ramblings on Auburn message boards. What a stupid comment. Gee…for Andrew Luck to turn down MILLIONS in the draft last year, rationally, he MUST have been paid to return…right? (no, I don’t think that…just proving the point about how stupid your comment is.)

  6. CM November 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Trent Richardson should win the award. Hands down. I’ve seen Andrew Luck play 3 games this season- USC, Oregon, and Notre Dame. USC fumbled the game away in OT…he couldn’t beat Oregon (again), and he looked mediocre against a Notre Dame team that is TERRIBLE. I’m sorry…the media needs to quit acting like beating ND means anything at all. That hasn’t meant anything in 20 years. All I see are stats this and stats that. That’s fine…obviously you look at stats players put up, but good grief, look at the COMPETITION these numbers are put up against. RG III went down vs Tx Tech and their backup came in and looked just as good. QBs these days ALL throw for a gazillion yards in these conferences that don’t play any defense. As bad as Auburn’s defense is, it would be the best defense, maybe not statistically, but athlete for athlete, that Andrew Luck would have seen all season long. TR has done his damage in the SEC…which is obviously the strongest conference, by far…whether people like it or not. It is what it is. And without ND’s pitiful defense giving up a late TD pass with about 5 minutes to go…Luck doesn’t even break 200 yards passing against what looked like a I-AA team. That 58 yard run TR had where he slapped an auburn defender out of the way, breaking a tackle and racing down the field…pure Heisman moment. And TR could have rushed for 2,000 yards this season if he didn’t split time and sit most 4th quarters…so you have to look past just pure stats. I doubt Stanford’s backup QB played much…none in the 3 games I saw. From the games I’ve seen, Matt Barkley is a better QB than Andrew Luck…talent around him aside.

    • ccard November 27, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

      You’re correct, competition does matter.

      Stanford’s last two opponents: ND is ranked 36th in passing defense and Cal 45th, both giving up about 205 yards per game. Luck bested both of those averages, throwing for 233 yds with 4 tds and 257 yds with 2 tds respectively. Solid numbers.

      Alabama’s last two opponents: Auburn is ranked 99th in rushing defense, giving up about 194 yds per game, while Georgia Southern isn’t even an FBS school and is not included in the NCAA rankings. Not surprisingly, Richardson had two of his better performances in those games, putting up 203 yds with no tds (1 receiving) against Auburn (74 yds on his last drive, against an exhausted defense) and 175 yds and 2 tds (1 receiving) against a D2 school. Solid numbers, too, but considering the competition, nothing spectacular. Interestingly, nearly 25% of his total yards this season came against these two less than worthy opponents.

      Finally, according to the Sagarin ratings, Stanford’s SoS stands at 35th, with Alabama’s somewhat better at 23rd. Stanford though, now has more wins against top 30 teams than Alabama.

      Competition does indeed matter, and recently, that tide has turned in Stanford’s direction.

      • Wheez November 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

        Good post. I think we saw in Arkansas that the SEC gets way too much love in the Polls. The Top 2 are obvious, but there are seven subpar teams in that Conference. The Pac 12 and the Big 10 also have three Great teams, granted no LSU in the mix, but the bottom halves of those conferences have a similar inferior flavor yet SEC always dominates the Pre Season polls.

      • Roger November 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

        good research.

  7. PaynsterKentpayne November 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Stanford and Alabama are where they are supposed to be. However, Baylor has has it’s best season in over 20 years. As far as student athletes go, I agree it should matter but if you do your research you will see that rg3 holds a slight advantage. In fact Baylor and Stanford’s graduation rate were on top of the country for years. So both athletes have done what we expect them to do in the classroom. However, I would have to lean the edge to luck because he had a good game on national tv against Norte dame. Only the tx region got to see Tommy Tuperville (?? Spelling) head hunting mission on Griffin the first half. He was about to have a huge game. Unfortunatetly, it looks like Griffin’s hopes are done but it is a great ride. Let’s just hope he stays healthy so he can win a gold medal for the USA next summer.

    • DJ November 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

      “Stanford and Alabama are where they are supposed to be.”

      That says a lot about Luck’s impact. Stanford is a far cry from a traditional powerhouse. Preseason expectations were high largely because of having the Heisman Trophy favorite at quarterback and he has delivered against that high standard all season. Yes they lost to Oregon but beat everyone else and the team put up points every week (even in their loss). Ironically, yesterday’s Notre Dame win (4 Luck TDs) was the season low scoring but clearly Luck did his part, as he always does.

      Two years in a row of 1-loss football in a major conference has everything to do with Andrew Luck, not being at a football factory that would win anyway. He makes the right calls at the line of scrimmage, finds the right receiver even if the first options are covered and wins games. To me the most important stats for a quarterback are win-loss record, % of drives that result in scores and red zone efficiency. He excels in all of those because he makes great decisions and has the skills and physical tools to execute. He makes it look easy, but if it were easy scouts wouldn’t be drooling as much as they are.

      Last year he was a solid runner up and this year he’s had a better season with fewer quality targets to throw at due to injuries and guys now playing on Sundays. I think he is very worthy – particularly in a year with no standout like Cam Newton last year.

  8. penthor November 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    RGIII. Already graduated and will have his masters. Magic at QB with only Wright the only NFL caliber help on offense. The defense is atrocious. Has had to outscore other teams because of the D. As good an athlete as there is in the country. Responsible for his teams victories as much as any QB. Reminds me of Randall Cunningham, but much faster.

  9. MM November 27, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    I believe Trent Richardson is the best player in America. Even against LSU, a defense far superior to any other in the country except Alabama’s, Richardson got 169 all-purpose yards. And of course, against other teams, he has owned the field. I’ve read some of these comments that any RB would do well on Alabama’s team. Not true. More than half of Richardson’s yards have come after contact. Every team that Alabama plays has tried to stack the box and stop Richardson. And he’s gotten his yards in spite of that.

    Also, I believe character matters. Richardson has a 3.2 GPA, is one of the most respected students at the University of Alabama. A class act. (And if you think that doesn’t matter, use consider what would have happened if Suh had won the Heisman two years ago, considering the kind of “dirty” player he has turned out to be in the NFL.)

  10. Wheez November 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Matt Barkley’s the best player, but the best player only wins this maybe 40% of the time. They should start a campaign “Don’t suck as bad as the Colts; get Barkley”.

  11. Billy November 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    It’s funny to see people on here supporting their conferences and making excuses for who should be at the top. The idiot on here that said allegations surrounding Trent is a douche pure and simple. Do you even know what you’re talking about or just using blogs as your basis? Why can’t the west coast just fall into the ocean and cut crime and stupidity in this country by half.

  12. BP November 27, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Speaking only between RG3 and Luck, though Luck has not seemed extraordinary on paper, he has done what RG3 couldn’t do in some games which is to WIN. With Baylor falling to Kansas State and Texas A&M, it can be said that RG3 couldn’t rally his team when they needed it. After Stanford loss to then #7, people said Luck’s stock dropped a great deal. Had he lost to an unranked team like RG3, many would have said his hopes would be done. Double standard? And to dispel the argument about Luck’s lack of superior numbers, it should be remembered that Stanford is known as a “power running” team. Stanford makes no attempt to pad his statistics (like USC seemingly did with Barkley against UCLA-a 41/11 pass/run ratio anyone?) Even in their blowout win against Washington, Stanford chose to run a majority of its plays, setting a school rushing record. Mind you who was calling of these plays? Luck, opting not to pass and pad his stats. Coach Shaw told Luck that it was killing him not to have him throw as many other contenders put up big numbers. Luck’s response? That it meant little to him and he felt he had had his best game, calling all of the right plays. That is another thing that separates Luck from the pack, his football intelligence. He calls his own plays! Something almost unheard of for college quarterbacks and even a majority of NFL quarterbacks! It’s these intangibles that some people miss when thinking of Luck. Also, you have to look at the options Luck has to throw to. With his wide receivers rarely not viable options, he threw many of his touchdown passes to TE’s…he was even down 1-2 of his main TE’s for almost half the year and STILL managed to keep Stanford one of the most high-powered offenses in the country. Bottom line: Without Luck, Stanford would a below-average/average team. Without Richardson, Alabama would still be a fantastic team. I would have to say if you gave coaches the chance to replace their QB with Luck or their RB with Richardson, my bet is that the majority would choose Luck.

  13. Ken November 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Has anyone mentioned that Trent Richardson has not lost a fumble in over 600 carries? Not since his Freshman year. Yards mean a lot, but if you don’t turn the ball over, your teams’ effectiveness increases all the more.

    With as many yards after contact as he has, as many tacklers as he carries with him, NO FUMBLES is an amazing stat.