Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, December 10, 2011 at 12:01 PM
If you listen to all the chit-chat on the air waves, in the newspapers and on the internet than you've been led to believe that this year's Heisman Trophy - the 77th such award - is entirely up for grabs.
Well, that may not necessarily be true.
Consider that folks have switched back and forth with their Heisman Trophy front-runners for weeks now.
In fact, since we began analyzing/dissecting this year's Heisman Trophy chase way back in late September right here at Jim Sez, we've had one young man atop the "Watch List" and we've never swayed.
Yes, come this second Saturday night in December the winner of this year's Heisman Trophy will be ...Stanford QB Andrew Luck.
Hey, hope you had it right! Now, here's how we see the final balloting. And the Heisman Trophy winner is ...
ANDREW LUCK, QB, STANFORD - The nation's just-named Maxwell Award winner guided his Pac-12 club to 11 regular-season wins this season as he threw for 3,170 yards with 35 TDs and 9 INTs. So what that his stats didn't include a 300-plus passing game in the final month of play as Luck shined brightly in big-stage wins against both USC and Notre Dame and really could hardly be faulted for the Cardinal's lone loss against Oregon. No doubt that some of his closest Heisman Trophy pursuers really tightened things up late in the year but - according to our calculations - Luck did more than enough to finish in the lead here and the future #1 NFL draft pick will walk away from midtown Manhattan with that famed bronze statue.
TRENT RICHARDSON, RB, ALABAMA - The nation's Doak Walker Award winner is headed to the BCS Championship Game versus LSU next month after his 'Bama Crimson Tide won 11 games this 2011 season. Richardson - who probably would have won this award with a better rushing game against LSU back in early November (see just 89 ground yards) -- does enter the title tilt with 1,583 yards rushing (a snazzy 6.0 yards-per-carry average) with 20 TDs and let's not forget his underrated contributions as a pass catcher as Richardson nabbed 27 balls for 327 yards (a 27.3 ypc average) with 3 TDs. No doubt Richardson been somewhere in the top three all year long - and he takes home the "silver medal" here.
ROBERT GRIFFIN III, QB, BAYLOR - Was this junior signal-caller's four-TD game against Texas (two TD passes and two TD rushing) last weekend enough to catapult him to the top of the Heisman chase? We say nay although Griffin III (3,998 yards passing with 36 TDs to go along with 644 yards rushing and 9 ground scores) surely has eye-catching numbers this year. The fact that Baylor could wind up with 10 wins this year makes Griffin an attractive candidate but you can shoot holes in his campaign when discussing the Bears' 55-28 loss to Texas A&M and that 59-24 loss versus Oklahoma State. Odds are he'll gobble up the majority of the votes in the Southwest and among Big 12 voters but that's not likely to be enough.
MONTEE BALL, RB, WISCONSIN - The Badgers are headed to a second straight Rose Bowl berth and nobody was more valuable to the Big 10 champs than this 5-foot-11, 235-pound who sports 38 overall TDs (32 of 'em rushing) to go along with 1,759 rushing yards (a tidy 6.4 ypc average). Ball may have been a late-comer to the Heisman Trophy chase this year but he deserves his spot in the front row and could be a closer-than-you-think finalist providing the mighty Midwest all aligns itself with him.
TYRANN MATHIEU, CB/PR, LSU - We'll say it: Shame on us here at Jim Sez for excluding this do-it-all mega-star from the Heisman Trophy chase following his one-game mid-season suspension for an alleged failed drug test. The fact of the matter is Mathieu is the best player on the best team in the land and his stats are crazy: Six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries plus four TDs (two on defense and two more on special team returns). Hey, without the one-game ban he might have been neck-and-neck with Luck for the top prize ... you never know.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S SATURDAY PREVIEW - IT'S ARMY-NAVY TIME
ARMY (3-8) vs. NAVY (4-7) (at Landover) - 2:30 p.m. ET, CBS
No bowls for either of these military academy teams and - in case you didn't realize it - this marks the first time since way back in 2002 that the Navy Midshipmen fell short of qualifying for a bowl - while Army will be on the bowl sidelines yet again (last year's 16-14 win against SMU in the Armed Services Bowl marked the only time the past 10 years the West Pointers went bowling). Key here is Navy FB Alexander Teich must snap out of a second-half-of-the-season funk as he's rushed for 90 yards or less in each of his past six games and his up-the-gut runs are vital if this Middies option attack is gonna thrive.
Spread Notes - Army is 5-6 ATS (against the spread) this season and the Cadets have covered just two of their last nine head-to-head showdowns against Navy. Note that Army is a dreadful 1-6 vig-wise away from the friendly confines of West Point this season. Meanwhile, Navy is 6-5 against the odds overall this 2011 campaign and did you know the Midshipmen have covered 10 of their last 15 games played outside Annapolis?