Chip Scoggins: Worthy Heisman candidates cause writer's block

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 2, 2011 - 11:45 PM

There is no clear-cut leader for the Heisman Trophy, though several contenders can state their case one more time Saturday.

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Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is going to be the No. 1 pick in next year's NFL draft, but will he also get college football's top individual award?

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Online voting for the Heisman Trophy ends Monday afternoon. Ballot No. 748 remains blank.

That's because this voter is still torn over who deserves college football's most prestigious individual honor, though my list has been trimmed to single digits.

Most years the voting is fairly straightforward, the choice obvious by now or at least narrowed to a few. Not this season. No fewer than six candidates deserve serious consideration, their résumés worthy of a long, hard look.

Several get the opportunity to make a final impression Saturday. That could help alleviate the logjam. Maybe make the decision easier.

Heisman straw polls have fluctuated from week to week. No one has distanced himself from the pack, at least not enough to be declared the overwhelming favorite.

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck began the season in that seat and has performed admirably under a bright spotlight and a catchy campaign of hope by depressed NFL fans. But ...

USC's Matt Barkley passed for more yards and touchdowns than Luck, with fewer interceptions. Which is impressive except ...

Houston's Case Keenum has nearly 5,000 yards passing and 43 touchdowns with only three interceptions for a 12-0 team. He didn't face elite competition in Conference USA, but those statistics would be gaudy in intramurals. However ...

Baylor's Robert Griffin III -- or RG3 for short -- might be the most dynamic player in college football. Yet ...

All Wisconsin running back Montee Ball does is score touchdowns. He has scored a Big Ten-record 34 touchdowns, which is more than 29 teams. Of course ...

We can't forget about Alabama's Trent Richardson, who accounted for 1,910 total yards and 23 touchdowns in college football's toughest conference.

"This is as jumbled as I've seen it this late," said Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com.

Even college football players disagree on who's the best player in their sport. In a poll of nine Gophers players, the voting was hardly unanimous: Three picked RG3, two Luck, two Keenum and two Richardson.

A spokesman for the Heisman Trophy Trust said that since online voting began in 2002, most ballots are submitted in the final 48 hours. Schools know it, too.

Wisconsin sent an e-mail late this week promoting Ball with a detailed list of his accomplishments compared to Richardson, who shrewdly never was mentioned by name. The subject line: "Why you should vote for Wisconsin's Montee Ball ahead of the other guy."

Schools often use gimmicks to promote players as Heisman candidates. Not sure that stuff works, but it speaks to the power and prestige of the award.

The sports world is saturated with individual honors, but the Heisman Trophy remains a cut above in its historical significance. One doesn't need to be a college football fan to recognize that. That's why voting for it remains a privilege and deserves full attention.

So is it Luck, the future No. 1 draft pick who completed 70 percent of his passes for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns?

Or Barkley, who threw a Pac-12-record 39 touchdown passes?

Or Ball, who ranks second in the nation in rushing (1,622 yards) and has scored the second-most touchdowns in a single season in NCAA history?

Or Griffin, who has accounted for 41 touchdowns and ranks second nationally in pass efficiency and total offense?

Or Richardson, who became the first running back in SEC history to rush for 20 touchdowns in a season?

Or Keenum, who set NCAA records for career total offense, passing yards and touchdown passes?

The Heisman ballot states that voting should be kept confidential until after the announcement. Not that it matters, because we're still going back and forth.

Maybe this is a year to go against conventional thinking and vote for LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, a wonderful player known affectionately as "Honey Badger."

Come to think of it, Honey Badger Heisman does have a nice ring to it.

Chip Scoggins •  ascoggins@startribune.com

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 99 FINAL
Utah 90
Denver 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 59 FINAL
Alabama State 63
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 86 FINAL
Iowa State 89
Texas Southern 85 FINAL
Miss Valley St 84
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
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(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
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