Richardson Edges Luck, Griffin III in Latest Straw Poll

For the second week in a row, we have a new leader in an ever-so-close Heisman race.

Alabama running back Trent Richardson’s 203-yard performance against rival Auburn put him narrowly ahead of Stanford’s Andrew Luck and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III in the second-to-last Heisman Straw Poll of the season, released on Tuesday (Nov. 29).

The 13-member weekly panel of actual Heisman voters awarded Richardson 5 first-place votes and 22 points in all as he jumped up from third place and 14 points in last week’s survey. Luck was just a shade behind in second with 21 points and 2 first-place votes, while Griffin III (last week’s leader) was a close third with 19 points while tying Richardson with 5 first-place votes.

It’s the first time this season that Richardson has led the poll. However, Luck once again appeared on the most ballots (11), followed by Richardson (10) and Griffin III (7).

All appear to be within easy striking distance of the Heisman.

“It keeps getting tougher to pick my ballot,” said one voter.

Houston quarterback Case Keenum held down the fourth spot with 5 points and 1 first-place vote. USC quarterback Matt Barkley’s six touchdown passes against UCLA moved him into fifth place (4 points), while Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was sixth (3 points).

Griffin III, Keenum and Ball all have games this weekend that could improve their status heading into the Heisman ceremony on December 10.

The final Heisman Straw Poll will be released next Monday, Dec. 5, the same day ballots are due back to the Heisman Trust.

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, 11-29-2011
Player, total points (first place votes in parentheses)

1. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama — 22 (5)

2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford — 21 (2)

3. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor — 19 (5)

4. Case Keenum, QB, Houston — 5 (1)

5. Matt Barkley, QB, USC — 4

6. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin — 3

7T. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State — 1

7T. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin — 1

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

7T. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State — 1

Number of ballots: Luck (11), Richardson (10), Griffin III (7), Keenum (3), Barkley and 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 Murphy, B.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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64 Responses to Richardson Edges Luck, Griffin III in Latest Straw Poll

  1. Shankar Saikia November 29, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    HISTORY LESSON ( . with reference to ESPN/Sports Media AWARD = also known as HEISMAN TROPHY)

    2009: Mark Ingram stats: 14 games, 271 rushes, 1658 yards, 17 touchdowns
    2009: Toby Gerhard stats (DOAK WALKER AWARD WINNER): 13 games, 343 rushes ,1871 yards, 28 touchdowns

    Ingram wins Heisman despite being pulled out of the SEC Championship Game

    2011: Trent Richardson stats: 12 games, 263 rushes, 1583 yards, 20 touchdowns (lowlights = 37 yards against Kent State, 77 yds against Tennessee, 89 yards and 0 (ZERO) touchdowns against LSU loss AT HOME)
    2011: Andrew Luck stats: 12 games, 70% completed passes, 3170 yards, 35 touchdowns (lowlight = 3 touchdowns 2 interceptions against Oregon lost AT HOME)

    Of course ESPN, CNNSi etc. think Trent Richardson should win the Heisman 🙂

    • Heismanpundit November 29, 2011 at 8:50 am #

      You should always quote stats BEFORE the Heisman votes are due. If ESPN is not doing so, that’s lazy. It is only the stats before the vote that matter, obviously.

      Ingram had 1,543 rushing yards and 15 TDs, while Gerhart had 1,736 and 26 TDs in that case.

      Also, Ingram played in the SEC title game and was only pulled out because Bama blew Florida out.

      • Shankar Saikia November 29, 2011 at 9:54 am #


        Yes, I agree with you – pre-Heisman (i.e., exclude bowl game) stats should be quoted (I could not find them or rather, felt that I did not need to to make the point that the Heisman is unreasonably influenced by the mainstream media)

        Also, I erred about the SEC Championship game .. you may be right. Ingram was pulled out of the Auburn game (Iron Bowl) where he had 30 yards on 16 carries. He also underperformed against Arkansas (50 yds in 17 carries 1 TD), Florida International (56 yds, 10 carries) .. there may have been other circumstances such as a big lead, though at least one writer felt these were examples of underperformance ( )

        (Interesting note: Stewart Mandel of CNNSi who covered the Stanford-ND game on Saturday (Stanford won 28-14) was not sufficiently impressed with Andrew Luck’s 4 TD effort … as a sports journalist he probably knew or should have known that Stanford runs a balanced run-pass offense (233 yards passing, 196 yd rushing against ND) AND so 4 TD from Luck is a great effort … worthy of a Heisman winner 🙂 )

        My main point remains: the Heisman will go to the person promoted by ESPN, CNNSi and other mass media.

        • Tyler November 29, 2011 at 10:03 am #

          In 2009 Alabama beat Arkansas 35-7 and Florida Int. 40-14, so he was more than likely pulled because of the score of the game, not performance.

          • Trickster November 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

            Ingram did not play late in the Auburn game because he was injured and ineffective. Otherwise, he was certainly never “pulled” from any game because he was not playing well.

        • CM November 29, 2011 at 11:21 am #

          Do you seriously think Luck’s effort against a pitiful Notre Dame team should have impressed anyone? ND is awful. 4 TDs against air would be about as impressive. ND is a name…not a talented team…and they’ve proven that for the past 20 years.

        • Charles November 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

          Let Luck try his wares against mediocre SEC defenses. His real stats would then show. There are few defenses out west and the nation knows it!

        • clausewitz2011 November 30, 2011 at 10:09 am #

          Also, Ingram was playing against the #1 rush defense in the nation during that SECCG against Florida. I do not think Ingram had the Heisman leading up to that game, mainly because of the bimal showing against the BARN (AU). His performance in the SECCG solidified the Heisman trophy. Trent Richardson’s 203 yard performance against a ranked rivalry team on the road was huge, huge enough to win this year’s Heisman. Which up to that point may not have been his. We will see who wins.

        • Omagus December 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

          “My main point remains: the Heisman will go to the person promoted by ESPN, CNNSi and other mass media.”

          So you’re predicting an Andrew Luck win? He’s the only finalist mentioned here whose school has a dedicated blog on All the other finalists have to make due with being part of a conference blog.

    • Bert Stewart (@Bert_Stewart) November 29, 2011 at 9:24 am #

      Shankar, Here’s a history lesson for you… Ingram had 113 yards rushing and 3 TDs, with 76 yards receiving against Florida in the ’09 SEC Championship Game.

      If you’re gonna hate, hate accurately.

      • Shankar Saikia November 29, 2011 at 9:55 am #

        Thank you – my knowledge of history has been sufficiently enhanced 🙂

      • Anonymous December 4, 2011 at 7:14 am #

        Bert Stewart, he is not “hating” simply noting Gerhart had better numbers. In fact that was the first time the Heisman was given to a RB that didn’t win the Walker. How can you be best college football player in the nation without being considered the best college running back in the nation?

    • Joao November 29, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      Get YOUR facts straight. Ingram was never PULLED out of any game. He was hurt against Auburn in 2009 and yes, Auburn did bottle him up, he left the game with an injury, was no pulled because of ineffectiveness.

      Against Florida in the SEC title game (the game in which you said he got pulled) Ingram rushed for 113 yards, ran for 3 TD’s. He also had a 69 yard screen reception (almost all the yards after the catch) setting up one of those rushing TD’s.

      As for Richardson’s stats this year. You say he had a low light against Tennessee but he had 2 TD’s and only carried the ball 17 times.

      Against LSU he had 89 yards rushing and 80 yards receiving leading BOTH TEAMS in those categories. 169 yards from scrimmage, hardly a bad day at the office, despite the Alabama loss.

      He accounted for 57% of Alabama’s offense and 32% of the entire offense of the ENTIRE GAME, against LSU.

      He was easily the best offensive and most dynamic player on the field for either team which are still currently the top 2 teams in the country.

      My main thing is, your huge error you stated against Ingram. He was all but out of the Heisman race after the Auburn game, i’ll give you that, but in the SEC title game, he won it back.

    • d-kong November 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

      you fail to mention the fact that ingram shared carries with trent richardson just as richardson shares carries with eddie lacy…toby g. did NOT share carries so of course he’d have more yards and comparing a rb to a qb is just plain stupid anyhow. yes, luck is an amazing qb and deserves recognition but it’s silly for you to compare his qb stats throwing against pac 12 defenses to trent’s rb stats against sec defenses

    • JB November 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      You also leave out Richardson had 80 yards receiving and a kick return for 23 yards…almost 200 total yards vs LSU’s defense is pretty dang good and certainly not a low light.

    • Rob December 1, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      Check out the pass defense rankings of the teams Luck has played against.
      Then check the rushing defenses Trent has faced.
      Luck— Ore.91st, Az. 119, Wash. 115, USC 101, Wash ST. 93 Colorado 98 Notre Dame 36 Cal 45,
      San Jose St 56 …. Andrew Luck 23rd in the nation in passing.
      Trent —– Kent 37th, Penn St 50, Nth Tx 75, Ark, 79 Fla, 40 Vandy 25, Aub. 99, Ole Miss 112 LSU 4th
      Trent Richardson ….6th in the nation in rushing

  2. Jane November 29, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    It seems to me that there’s something missing in all of these discussions about RG III, Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, and all of the other Heisman candidates – the caliber of the recruiting classes for the last five years – the group of men who make up the current offenses and defenses supporting the candidates’ play.

    The web site publishes recruiting class ratings. We’ve used that site to compile some ratings (and attached our results in the Excel spreadsheet). These same ratings are used by the media and coaches to project how well a team will perform in the coming years. Baylor’s recruiting class points in 2007-2009 are zero, in 2010 were 1025, and in 2011 are 628, for a five year total of 1653 – which is lower than any one year total for any of Alabama, Oklahoma, or LSU. Further compare Baylor’s recruiting score to the scores of Stanford from 2007-2011 (total of 4710) or Alabama (12351), and you see the huge potential, anticipated disparity between the teams surrounding these Heisman candidates. RG III (and Baylor’s coaching staff) have lead an under-rated set of players to the best season Baylor’s had in 20 years. With RG III at the helm, Baylor’s team epitomizes “the sum of the parts being greater than the whole.” He has led this team to beyond what any “expert” predicted possible just a few months ago. On top of that, as has been pointed out by so many others, RG III’s stats are record breaking and simply phenomenal.

    In describing Coach Bear Bryant, the legendary Houston Oiler head coach, Bum Philips said, “Bryant can take his and beat yours, and then he can turn around and take yours and beat his.” (See In applying this quote to the pool of Heisman candidates, the single name that can adequately replace the name Bryant in this quote is RG III.

  3. Mitch November 29, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Ingram rushed for 113 yards, caught 2 passes for 76 yards, and scored 3 TDs in that SEC Championship Game…so “pulling” him from that game, if you want to call it that, kept his stats lower than they could’ve been…

    Ingram averaged more than half a yard per carry than Gerhardt in 2009; Ingram also had nearly 3 times the receptions and more than twice the receiving yards that Gerhardt did. In addition, he shared carries with Trent Richardson (who was a freshman that year with 140+ carries)…if Ingram had the number of carries that Gerhardt had, he might’ve topped 2,000 yards…not to mention that Bama’s schedule was a bit tougher than Stanford’s that year…

    If you’re gonna compare stats on Luck, compare him to some one who plays the same position; RG3’s stats are better and Barkley’s are at least equal to ’em. Luck is a fine QB and is the best pro-ready QB, but I don’t think he’s been the best player in college football this year by a long shot…even so, I have a feeling that Luck will win the Heisman, more as a career award…

    • Tyler November 29, 2011 at 11:02 am #

      I agree. I’m a Bama fan and would love to see Trent win, don’t get me wrong. That said, I wouldn’t have a problem with RG3 or Ball winning. The only guy I don’t think should win is Luck, and that’s simply because I don’t think he’s had that good of a year. Like you said, RG3 has had a much better season, and I think Barkley has been better as well. I feel like the only reason Luck is where he’s at is because he was anointed the favorite before the season ever started.

      • Trickster November 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

        You speak for me.

  4. CM November 29, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    FINALLY…the straw poll gets it right. Now they just need to follow through next week.

    I’ve said all season long on here, “stats” alone don’t tell the full story. How often has Stanford’s backup QB played? None in the 3 games I’ve seen Luck play in. So people want to punish Richardson because he’s on a great team and Saban takes him out in the 3rd quarter instead of running up the score against teams? Then you have RG III and Baylor. Yes, he has big stats…like just about every QB in that league does. And Baylor’s defense is so bad that he definitely has to play the whole game (and rack up stats). If they were a good team, they’d be resting him late in the 3rd quarter of most games. So if it’s just a “stats” game, then you get an advantage by being on a crappy team, that at least has a bad defense, where you’re always having to try and outscore people for the full 4 quarters.

    Now don’t get me wrong. Stats are important…but they need to be looked at in light of the competition played against. If it’s just about stats alone…whoever threw for a gazillion yards, then Keenum should be running away with it. Yet everyone knows if Keenum had to go against the Bama or LSU defenses (or most SEC defenses), he’d be in the fetal position instead of throwing for 400 yards. We already know RG III is going to throw for 300+ yards against Texas. It’d be hard for him not to. Texas is somehow highly ranked in the big 12 defensively…which only shows just how pitiful the defenses in the big 12 really are. Texas isn’t good and everyone knows it. They aren’t Notre Dame bad, but close these days.

    I’ve paid closer attention out west the past few weeks and I’m more impressed with Matt Barkley as a QB. Luck racked up stats because Stanford didn’t play a team with a pulse until probably late October. He’s been living off the hype of being the #1 NFL pick. Now that he hasn’t looked so hot against halfway decent competition, NOW his supporters default to the “he doesn’t have any talent around him” argument. Lame. With that line of thinking the Heisman should go to the best player on the WORST team. Maybe Memphis has someone you can support.

    My ballot, assuming RG III puts up his usual numbers, even in a loss, and assuming Ball also has a good game against Mich St. These are also the 5 I’d invite to the ceremony.

    1. Trent Richardson
    2. RG III
    3. Matt Barkley
    4. Andrew Luck
    5. Montee Ball

    • DJ November 30, 2011 at 12:08 am #

      The backup QB didn’t play in those games, but did see a lot of action earlier.

      More relevant, however, is that in those games Luck handed the ball off a lot — frequently on successful running plays that Luck called at the line of scrimmage after reading the defense. Doesn’t show in the stats, but it’s a huge thing that Luck does which nobody else does.

    • Anonymous December 4, 2011 at 7:22 am #

      Andrew Luck was pulled by the 4th or middle of the 4th in all but 4 games. He also doesn’t pad his stats because he’s a) a class act and b) the running game is good enough he doesn’t need to throw. If Trent had a half competent QB he wouldn’t put up the numbers he does.

  5. Heismanpundit November 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    CM, if you want voters to vote based on stats not telling the whole story, then Luck will win hands down.

    You can’t have it both ways. On the one hand, you say Luck’s stats aren’t that good, but then when you talk about Richardson, you say stats don’t tell the whole story.

    You clearly haven’t seen much of Barkley. 22 of his 39 TD passes came in four games against really bad teams.

    • CM November 29, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

      Barkley and Luck faced seven common opponents — Notre Dame and six Pac-12 schools. In those games, Luck completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 1,837 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. Barkley completed 71.0 percent of his passes for 2,125 yards with 26 touchdowns and three interceptions.

      • DJ November 30, 2011 at 12:14 am #

        Barkley completed those passes throwing to Robert Woods and Marquise Lee. Luck completed his to (walk-on) Griff Whalen and a committee of tight ends who missed a lot of action due to injuries.

  6. Jon November 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    Also, it’s funny that you only point out richardsons 89 rushing yards in the LSU game, and not his 80+ recieving yards in the same game…. 170 total yards…

  7. Jon November 29, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Jane, I think there’s something missing from your argument as well. Yes, supporting cast is big. However, the caliber of OPPOSING DEFENSES is huge as well. No team other than LSU has played against the kind of defensive opposition as alabama. Richardson’s numbers are against tough SEC defenses. It’s not too far fetched to say his numbers would be a LOT higher vs Pac12 or big12 opponents is it?

  8. Heismanpundit November 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Jon, what defenses are you talking about?

    Richardson’s best games were against bad defenses: Ole Miss, GA. Southern, Auburn, etc.

    If you want to tell me Florida is a good defense, please note that Florida did not play a single offense in the top 30.

    So, the best defense he played against held him to less than 4 yards per carry and 89 yards.

    • Trickster November 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

      I have to say, Heisman Pundit, I find it really lame for you to criticize Richardson for getting 89 yards rushing against LSU and TOTALLY IGNORE that he got 80 yards receiving–all by making yards off of screen and flat passes, by the way. I’m sorry, but to me that smacks of you wanting to make an argument against a guy you don’t like, and not you as a neutral pundit trying to say who is best. There is no reason under the sun to ignore that outstanding stat.

      Second, 89 yards rushing is the most any back has against LSU this year. So you’re criticizing him for what, excellence?

      Here’s what really happened:

      Richardson got 169 yards rushing and receiving against LSU.

      LaMichael James was held to 70.
      Vick Ballard was held to 70.
      Michael Dyer was held to 60.
      Tauren Poole was held to 70.

      Those are all star backs. Richardson more than doubled each of them, yet you’re using THAT game as an example of Richardson not doing well in big games? He was a monster in that game! Did you even watch it? You just don’t run for 7-8 yards a carry against a D like LSU. and no other back even touched Richardson’s performance against them.

  9. Heismanpundit November 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    He plays a position called ‘running back’, not ‘running and receiving back’.

    You don’t get to ignore receiving yards when convenient (people say he had 203 yards against Auburn, not 208) and include them wherever possible to boost low rushing yardage.

    As for how other backs did against LSU, while 89 yards may have been the tops, keep mind he needed 23 carries to get there. That’s less than 4 yards per carry.

    I am not going against Richardson, but merely going against your manipulation of the stats. For instance, did you know Bobby Rainey had 100 total rush/receiving yards against LSU? Or that LaMichael James had 115?

    You didn’t know that, did you?

    • Trickster November 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

      I did NOT, in fact, know that LaMichael James had 115 yards running and receiving against LSU, because I misread the stats sheet. I thought he had 70, because I misread his longest gain (16 yards) as his yards receiving, when in fact he had 61 receiving.

      I did know that Rainey had 100, but because of my mistake I thought that was the most anybody had gotten.

      I certainly have no intention of cherry-picking. James got 115, and that’s what should be considered. I was wrong when I said Richardson got more than twice as many yards against LSU as James did–but James is a Heisman-contending All-American tailback and Richardson DID get 50% more yards against LSU than James did. So I certainly stand by my implication it’s absurd to use the LSU game against Richardson when in fact Richardson blew away what any other back did against the top team.

      But “running and receiving back” is lame. Receiving is a prime part of a tailback’s job and has been for decades. You don’t need to change the name of the position, you just need to count what a guy accomplishes. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone float the theory that you don’t take receiving yards into account when evaluating a running back. I’ve heard plenty of lazy analysts ignore it and quote rushing only, but once somebody brings up receiving yards, this is the first time I’ve heard anyone seriously put forth the idea that receiving yards should be disregarded. It’s yard from scrimmage, and it has the exact same effect as rushing yards.

      Richardson has over 1910 yards from scrimmage this year, 2nd behind Bobby Rainey who leads with 2056. 2nd in the nation in yards rushing and receiving, with a lot of TDs, while playing for a team going to the BCS championship game and playing against several tough run defenses is exactly the kind of resume that often wins a Heisman.

      1910 yards is a lot. Mark Ingram had 1992 in 2009 and that was in 14 games. (By the way, Ingram’s receiving yards that year were an important part of the reason he won the Heisman. He trailed Gerhardt in yards rushing by a couple hundred but only by 36 in rushing and receiving (2028-1992).

      As it turns out, there are other outstanding candidates this year, namely Griffin, Moore, Wilson and Ball. But it’s certainly not the case that this is a weak year for Heisman finalists. Richardson’s resume is outstanding, and those other 4 guys also have had outstanding years.

      • Anonymous December 4, 2011 at 7:27 am #

        LaMichael James was crushing total yards and rushing yards before injury.

    • Charles November 29, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

      Its called playing football Pundit. Football comprises both running and receiving yards. The Heisman trophy is a football award, not strictly a running back award. I think your bias has been evident for quite some time.

  10. Trickster November 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    From reading around the Web, I think that Luck clearly has negative momentum. Many commentators are saying he did not finish well over the last month of the season, and are particularly citing his performance against Oregon in Stanford’s biggest game of the year

    It appears to be between Griffin and Richardson at this point. Luck will probably finish 3rd.

    Griffin’s performance on Saturday will be huge and may determine the Heisman. Monte Ball is a dark horse but needs to have a monster game to shake things up; anything short of 250 yards won’t do it. I don’t think there is any kind of number Keenum could put up on Saturday to win it, but he probably gets to go to the DAC.

  11. JB November 29, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    I have followed this site over the years and I have really enjoyed it. But I’m somewhat miffed that the author “expert” is getting is such a debate with a fan. Richardson is a great player, so are Luck, RGIII, and the others. I am concerned that you are a voter and showing so much open hostility to a candidate. The quote about his position is mind boggling. He plays running back, since when does that keep you from counting his receiving yards? That makes no sense. Sure he only had 5 yards receiving against Auburn, but that’s now he was used in that game. I’m really confused by your hostility.

    • Heismanpundit November 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

      JB, don’t be miffed. My issue is more with the careless application of stats and the spin that goes with it. With running backs, the primary stat is rushing and when a great back gets held below 100 yards and less than 4 ypc, that is what is usually focused on. So, my main protest is against the spin, because those 80 yards receiving didn’t amount to anything, did it? Alabama lost and the yards were empty and Richardson shouldn’t be exempted any more than Montee Ball should for having a low rushing game.

      • CM November 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

        Most rational people would say a RB’s receiving yards shows his versatility and abilities…you know, kinda like how a QB’s rushing stats are hyped along with his passing numbers. Kind of a double standard you’re using there when saying receiving yards/TDs don’t matter for a RB. The key number is total yards from scrimmage…the fact a guy is multi-dimensional should ENHANCE his stock. Of course, this site would give bonus points to Andrew Luck for his beard as opposed to giving credit to TR for non-rushing yardage against the top non-Bama defense in America.

        • Heismanpundit November 29, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

          I think you misunderstand my issue, which is with the constant spinning of the race in such a provincial manner that annoys me.

          The fact is, a running back’s primary stat is rushing yardage. It just is. It’s the bread and butter. If Trent Richardson rushed for 150 yards and had 19 yards receiving with two touchdowns against LSU, you wouldn’t now be talking about how he had 179 total yards. You’d be talking about his big rushing yardage.

          So, when he has a bad rushing game (yes, 23 carries for 89 yards is a bad game) and is kept out of the end zone, it is complete spin to then combine his equally ineffective receiving yards (41 of which did not lead to points) and try to make it like he had a good game. He didn’t and I’m sure he would be the first to tell you that.

          I am not shilling for any candidate here. I’ve included Heisman cases on all their behalfs, put up their videos, and generally lauded them all as being outstanding players. But fans need to understand that criticizing a player for poor play during one game does not mean I don’t think they are good. And when I criticize, I am doing it from the point of view of “How did it come across to the voters?” Perception is what matters to me here and, frankly, your tireless effort to spin the perception in a different direction (against all normal understanding of how people assess running backs) just gets old. I apologize if on occasion I lapse into sharper invective against a player. I have the utmost respect for all of them and think that they are all worthy of Heisman glory. But I will always try to be as honest as possible when it comes to assessing the state of the race. Sometimes it doesn’t always come off very well.

          • Trickster November 29, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

            “[N]ormal understanding of how people assess running backs” my left rear tire. Been watching football since 1962 and you’re the first person I’ve ever heard trying to dismiss receiving yardage for running backs as an inconsequential stat.

            I could imagine someone making an argument for not quite giving receiving yardage 100% of the value you give rushing yards because it doesn’t help the team establish the running game in the same way. But even that would be an argument both novel and arcane.

            Discounting receiving yardage entirely, though, moves past novel and arcane into plain bizarre. Receiving is a valuable attribute for a back, everybody knows that.

          • GMan November 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

            Comment unrelated to football, but bonus points, Heismanpundit, for apropos use of “invective.”

      • cpk November 30, 2011 at 12:56 am #

        Your argument for Luck, Ball. & RG3 is biased. Yes several of the teams that are known for dominent defenses where down in the SEC, but truth be told those defenses are still on par with the defenses in the PAC12, BIG12, & BIG10. I’m sure Luck is a great player, but if your case for choosing Luck over TRich is because he only had 80 rushing yards against the #2 defense in the country, then you need to go back & watch Luck against USC & Oregon. According to all the “talking heads” these were supposed to be each players statement game. Think out your response for a while, let it simmer, & then get back to me & let me know who made a stronger statement. 80 yards rushing against the #2 defense in the nation, or throwing multiple interceptions – including a pick 6. Sounds to me as though LSU was able to somewhat limit TR in the game, but he did have several good runs and never put the ball on the ground or fumbled to the opponent. As for Luck, he’s good & all & he throws a nice pass, but he made several mistakes in those games that in my opinion should put him no higher than third in the heisman race. I think RGlll should be second, & TRich 3rd.

        • ccard November 30, 2011 at 9:47 am #

          Um, Richardson did fumble. On the second play from scrimmage, his 22 yard reception, the first of two receptions where the D forgot to cover him coming out of the backfield. Fortunately for Alabama, they got the bounce and the ball went out of bounds.

          As for Luck, his pick 6 against Oregon was a perfectly thrown ball that bounced of his freshman receiver’s hands/chest and right to a Duck who was trailing the play. Did Luck scream at his teammate? No. Instead he encouraged his young receiver, prompting an incredulous Herbstreit to praise Luck’s unbelievable show of leadership and character.

  12. CM November 29, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    “Barkley and Luck faced seven common opponents — Notre Dame and six Pac-12 schools. In those games, Luck completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 1,837 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. Barkley completed 71.0 percent of his passes for 2,125 yards with 26 touchdowns and three interceptions.”

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Matt Barkley is the Pac12 QB that should be getting the Heisman attention. Andrew Luck supporters are reduced to whining about Stanford having no talent around him. Sounds like desperation. Luck might win it, but certainly doesn’t deserve it. He might deserve to be the #1 NFL draft pick…I don’t know, that’s for NFL scouts to decide, but I know he doesn’t deserve the Heisman.

    But I know who does…TRENT RICHARDSON!!!

    • ccard November 30, 2011 at 8:35 am #


      From the beginning of the season, you have bashed Andrew Luck and Stanford. You ridiculed his ability, his stats, and Stanford’s competition, wondering how anybody could vote him above your beloved Trent Richardson. Then in week 8 came your bombshell revelation—you hadn’t even seen Luck or Stanford play. Wow, kind of makes you lose credibility, doesn’t it?

      Now that you’ve seen him play, what is it three games, against Stanford’s toughest competition (a tougher stretch of games than Alabama has faced all season), you continue to blast him. According to you, Barkley is much better than Luck. I guess the Pac-12 forgot to consult you when they selected Luck as their Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All Pac-12 Quarterback, both for the second time. Luck is only the second player to achieve that feat in the history of the Pac 12/10 (Elway was the first).

      But keep posting, your baseless vitriol only hurts Richardson and helps Luck, Ball, and Griffin.

  13. Heismanpundit November 29, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

    Trickster, I’m not saying receiving yardage is irrelevant. Far from it. What I am saying is that it will be perceived as irrelevant by most voters in a game where the player in question did not score or lead his team to a victory. Richardson’s 80 yards receiving were as effective as his 89 yards rushing, meaning not very much. Combining the totals makes for a neat number, but it meant little to the outcome of the game. At least that is the perception out there and touting the total yards (with some people even adding in kick returns for good measure to bring his total to 192) is not going to suddenly fool people into thinking that he went off in that game. Everyone was watching, after all.


    • Trickster November 29, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

      Well . . . if you watched that game . . . you know that Richardson’s receiving provided a very substantial part of Alabama’s offensive success against the LSU. If anybody perceives that as irrelevant they don’t know what happened in that game, which would be odd because that game got huge Nielsens.

      In the biggest regular-season college football game since at least 2006, and in my opinion since Nebraska-Oklahoma 1971, Richardson had over 30% of the total offense produced by both teams combined, and did not commit a turnover. 28 touches for 169 yards, 7.0 yards per touch, more yards per touch than any other player on either team with more than 2 touches. Everybody else on both teams, combined, had 90 touches for 365 yards, 4.1 yards per touch, and combined for 4 turnovers.

      Seems to me like an odd basis for criticizing him. My eyeball test told me he was a monster in that game.

      • GMan November 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

        I think it should be the 11th Heismanment that no offense statistic deserves to be cited from the LSU-Alabama regular season game in support of any candidate.

        • Trickster December 1, 2011 at 10:08 am #

          That would be a really bad idea. How a guy does against the very best defenses in the land is as good a test as there could be. Just because the score was 9-6 doesn’t mean there was no offense in that game. There was a LOT of offensive talent and a LOT of excellent offensive execution. The offenses of both those teams are riddled with futre NFL players, some of them stars. And Richardson was clearly the best offensive player on the field, by far.

          So tell me why that’s irrelevant.

  14. KP Kennedy November 30, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    I thought this was 2011.

  15. Gerald Tinnon November 30, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    It’s hard fpr me to understand why Andrew Luck is even in the Heisman conversation. RG3 and Matt Barkley lead him in every statistical category, as does Weeden and Keenum and Texas Tech’s QB. Luck is not even in the top 7 QBs in the nation. Why is he so hyped? Playing virtually the identical opponents, Barkley is way ahead of Luck. I don’t get it….

    • Trickster November 30, 2011 at 9:12 am #

      Gerald, it’s crystal clear why Luck is in the converation. He was pre-ordained by the media, who have floated him all year, and he never gave them a clear reason to dump him. Especially early in the season, when Stanford was playing a shamefully weak schedule, he was putting up good stats.

      Even then, though, there were warning signs. Against that schedule he should have been leading the nation in passing efficiency, but he kept hovering around 5th, way behind Wilson and Griffin.

      Finally now, though, people are turning in to the Heisman thing and actually looking at what the guys have done on the year. Luck is steadily trending downward. He won’t play again, and he won’t win the Heisman. It’s between Richardson and Griffin, and Monte Ball could get in the picture of he rushes for 250 or more this weekend.

    • Anonymous December 4, 2011 at 7:52 am #

      What you all fail to realize is neither Stanford nor Andrew Luck cares about the Heisman. Stanford relies on the running game and wins games because of it. Andrew knows the importance of the running game and will lean on it to establish tempo and continue to go to it when ahead to maintain a lead and manage the clock. Barkley and USC showed that they are clearly trying to pad his stats in an attempt make a run at Heisman and boost his draft stock. Why? Because they have no bowl game to play for. Was it necessary for Barkley to play the entire game against UCLA? Of course not. In fact it was tasteless and neither Stanford nor Luck would ever come out and throw the ball 50 times like Houston embarrassing another opponent. Reporters and members media are aware of such things unlike all these fans who read a stat line. Most of these fans haven’t watched any games outside of their teams let alone their conference. Any football expert or educated fan would find it hard to argue against Andrew as being the best player in college football, however, the Heisman should be awarded to the best player in 2011. That should probably belong to Trent Richardson, but by a slim victory not a landslide like so many of you wish to believe. The same way the 2009 Heisman should belong to Toby Gerhart.

  16. Darren November 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    It is the 1st place votes that really matter. all these other point totals are not important.

  17. Darren November 30, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    btw, RGIII can still win it with a great performance this weekend against Texas. It is still not too late and considering how close the race is among he, Luck and Richardson….i think he controls his Heisman destiny.

  18. Darren November 30, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    how accurate is heismanpundit vs. stiffarmtrophy?

  19. Bob Morgan December 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Put Luck or RGIII in the SEC and think about their stats. Put Trent Richardson in the Big 12 or PAC 12 and think about his stats … maybe 3,000 yards rushing?

    • Bama Bruiser December 3, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

      Richardson would not have higher numbers than he has at Bama if he were at Baylor, which actually has the leading rusher in the Big XII. Terrance Ganaway has 1,195 yards and 14 touchdowns after 11 games. RG3 adds on another 612 and 7 TD.

      SEC running backs have higher rushing numbers BECAUSE they’re in the SEC. RG3 is light years ahead of AJ McCarron, and if he were at Bama, Richardson’s numbers would drop significantly.

  20. darren lee December 1, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    many are saying that ESPN and are pretty accurate in their predictions also. one thing for sure. TR, Luck, and RGIII are all so close in this race. RGIII can still win it with a great performance this weekend against Texas. It is his Heisman to lose.

  21. GApundit December 2, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    So, where do you see LaMichael James after that 200+ yard, 3 TD performance in the conference championship? More yards than Richardson AND he missed two regular season games. Over 7 yards per carry average!! How is this guy not getting more love? Would love to hear your insight.

  22. Kyle December 3, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    RG3 is by far the best player in the country. He has 800 more yards passing, 1 more passing TD, 600+ more yards rushing, 3 less INTs, and 7 more rushing TDs. He’s also beaten 4 ranked teams and his only losses came against teams that have been in the top 10 this year.

    Anyone that votes for Luck over RG3 is either lazy or stupid. No question at all who the most dominant player in the country is. Especially after what he just did to the #7 defense in the nation tonight.

    As for Richardson, he couldn’t score a point in the biggest game he had all year. RG3 and co would put up 30 against everyone. Baylor’s D may give up 50, but the O would put up 30+ on anyone.

  23. Anonymous December 4, 2011 at 7:11 am #

    Bert Stewart, he is not “hating” simply noting Gerhart had better numbers. In fact that was the first time the Heisman was given to a RB that didn’t win the Walker. How can you be best college football player in the nation without being considered the best college running back in the nation?

  24. Anonymous December 4, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    I love how all the SEC fans come out on these forums to argue about stats and defenses and how the stat lines don’t tell the whole story. A valid argument is indeed raised that Trent Richardson should win the Heisman. I am a Stanford athlete who must remain anonymous and agree that this is probably the case. However, take note of Oklahoma State’s strength of schedule versus Alabama’s when you argue that Alabama deserves a rematch.

  25. AnotherStanfordAthlete December 10, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    What a bunch of garbage – citing a lack of turnovers as a Heisman worthy feat. TR is at best the 3rd best RB in the country. There are plenty of worthy QBs this year for the award. The kind of moron who talks about tough yards, ball security and how he played in losses obviously watches too much Alabama football to have a valid argument about anything. There is no possible way to follow more than 2 or 3 teams that closely, rendering the type of person who makes that type of case a homer. This is a pretty good read: