LITTLE ROCK — Still unopened, the priority mail envelope has been on the desk for more than a week. The return address confirms it is the Heisman trophy ballot; I don't get other communications from an established Connecticut-based auditing firm.
LITTLE ROCK — Still unopened, the priority mail envelope has been on the desk for more than a week. The return address confirms it is the Heisman trophy ballot; I don’t get other communications from an established Connecticut-based auditing firm.
There is no rush, the deadline is Monday and six players were still under consideration at mid-week. In no particular order, they are Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Houston quarterback Case Keenum, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, and USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Four were invited to New York last year when Cam Newton was a lock. The immediate quandary is narrowing this group to four.
The easy way out is to vote for either Luck or Richardson. On CBS on Saturday, while Alabama was holding Auburn to two first downs until it was 35-14, knowledgeable analyst Gary Danielson campaigned for Richardson. He urged voters to avoid local bias and list Richardson and Luck one-two, one way or the other.
The favorite since last year, Luck has not disappointed. Stanford would not be 11-1 without him. Identified in the spring as someone who could beat out Luck, Richardson has been terrific all year.
Danielson identified a long run by Richardson as a Heisman moment, but there was an earlier play where at least nine Auburn players piled on the weight room fanatic. Underneath that mass of humanity, Richardson kept churning and the mob moved forward a couple of yards. That was impressive.
Both Luck and Richardson are on the sideline until bowl games in January. It is odd that the SEC’s best candidate for a Heisman will not participate in the league championship game; LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who made so many big plays in the rout of Arkansas, will be the most publicized player in Atlanta.
The elimination process begins with Keenum. His Conference USA opposition is the hang-up.
Next, dump Barkley, who has been under the radar because USC is on probation. Since an 11-point loss to Arizona State in September, he has thrown 29 touchdown passes vs. four interceptions and completed 207 of 297.
Invites to New York go to Moore and the other three.
Before the season began, Baylor sent out some promotional material on Griffin and it was passed on to a co-worker with a snide remark about selling it on eBay when Griffin won the Heisman.
Along the way I have come to realize that Griffin probably has done more for his team than any other player. He has thrown for 3,678 yards, run for 612 yards, and accounted for 41 touchdowns. His production helped Baylor get to 8-3 and win five Big 12 games for the first time in program history.
The 45-38 stunner of Oklahoma was his piece de resistance — scrambles of 22 and 8 yards during a five-play, 80-yard drive in the final minute against the Sooners. He was knocked down on the 34-yard TD throw with eight seconds to play.
“One of the offensive linemen came and told me we just won the game,” Griffin said.
Hurt last week, he sat out the second half against Texas Tech. In the first half, he threw for 106, ran for 62, and accounted for three touchdowns.
He will be one of the three on my ballot. If he is spectacular against Texas on Saturday, he might be No. 1.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.