Robert Griffin III needed to impress against Texas to have a chance to win the Heisman.
Based on the reaction from voters and media following his team’s 48-24 win over the Longhorns, it appears he did just that.
And now, he may have created a little bit of elbow room for himself in a Heisman race that had, all of a sudden, become awfully crowded.
Griffin was 15 of 22 for 322 yards against Texas, with 2 touchdown passes, as well as 2 more touchdowns running. It was a nice cap to a statistically dominant season that produced 4,644 yards of offense and 45 total touchdowns. More importantly, Baylor is 9-3 and has victories over Oklahoma and Texas in the same season for the first time since, well, ever.
Consequently, it appears portions of the Heisman electorate are tilting inexorably in Griffin III’s direction. What was at one time was an intense faction supporting his candidacy has now grown into a broader coalition.
He should easily win his home region (the Southwest) which just a couple weeks ago was divided up between himself and candidates like Case Keenum and Brandon Weeden. With Houston’s loss, much of Keenum’s support will melt away, while Weeden has never really recovered from his team’s loss to Iowa State. In addition to the strong home region, he’ll have solid support in the South and Northeast, too. Meanwhile, as expected, both Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson have been hurt by not playing on this final Saturday, though we won’t know exactly how much for another week.
I still maintain that Luck’s strength will be his presence on a high percentage of ballots across the country. Griffin III, wherever he appears, is more likely to be on top of a ballot than at the bottom, so he’ll be more efficient in his point scoring. And it doesn’t look to me like Richardson will be able to break out much beyond the South and Mid-Atlantic, especially with Montee Ball challenging him for the role of top running back in the race and the Honey Badger presenting himself as a suitable SEC alternative.
It all points to a tight race between Griffin III and Luck, with Griffin at the advantage due to having the last at bat.
Am I ready to call the race for Griffin III? Almost, but not quite.
I’d like to wait a day to soak up more of the buzz out there and see the reaction of my straw poll voters to the weekend’s events.
No matter what happens, this is going to be a close one. I don’t think any of us will know with 100% certainty which name is going to be called on Saturday, so an educated guess will have to do.
Griffin III better get a nice suit and a speech ready, just in case.