Eyes on RGIII and Heisman race today

December, 3, 2011

If Robert Griffin III dices the Texas Longhorns defense this afternoon the same way he sliced the Oklahoma Sooners two weeks ago -- and well the rest of the Big 12 all season -- how could the Heisman Trophy voters look the other way just because he wears a green jersey and has BU on the side his helmet?

Yet, that's what ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said would happen this week during an appearance on Galloway & Co., on 103.3 FM ESPN.

Maybe Herbstreit has a point. The last Heisman winner not from a power football school that rolls off the tongue might be Rashaan Salaam from Colorado in 1994, although the Buffaloes did win the national title in 1990. BYU quarterback Ty Detmer won it in 1990 and Houston's Andre Ware won it in 1989. These days the award seems to go to the best player on the best team. Not necessarily the best player in college football.

So why not Griffin?

"It’s hard to talk about the Heisman just because as a player I don’t want to be a player that plays for awards. I don’t want to be that selfish guy," Griffin said. "Obviously, you’re aware of it because everyone is going to make you aware of it, but I definitely play for the guys on this team and the coaches that coach me. You know, I just don’t say these things, I truly believe them and that’s what makes me the guy and the leader I am."

Griffin enters this regular-season finale having guided lowly, old Baylor to eight wins for the first time in 20 years. He has the program in a bowl game for the second consecutive season. If he and the No. 17 Bears beat No. 22 Texas (2:30 p.m., ABC) they'll have pulled that feat off for the second time in two seasons. He helped bury the Sooners, a team Baylor was 0-20 against previously.

You want stats? How does a 72.6 completion percentage sound (252-for-347)? How about 3,678 passing yards for a 334.4 per-game average? Maybe you like 34 touchdowns to just five interceptions. Pile on with 612 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. For the first four games of the season his number of touchdown passes nearly equaled his incompletions. Ridiculous.

Certainly Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson has had a deserving season and Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck is far and away the choice to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

But, can any player in the nation claim to be more valuable to the success of his team and claim such lofty, near-unfathomable statistics?

Griffin isn't the first Baylor quarterback up for Heisman glory. He's just the first in a long, long time. Don Trull finished fourth in 1963 and Larry Isbell was seventh in 1951.

If Griffin can put up another huge day, just one week after sustaining a concussion against Texas Tech, there should be nothing to stop the 2011 Heisman from going to a player from -- gulp! -- Baylor.

"For us, we know that if we take care of business that we’ll all be in New York [for the Heisman presentation]," Griffin said. "And we’ll be wherever else we want to be for a bowl game and we can all celebrate because it’s not just about me, it’s about the guys that are around me, our coaches and all of Baylor Nation."



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