Blog Entry

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

Posted on: November 27, 2011 2:25 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 6:19 am

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Stanford just put the finishing touches on a 28-14 victory over Notre Dame, and Andrew Luck was his typical self in the victory: 20-30, 233 yards, four touchdowns and an interception for a QB rating of 169.2 (his season rating, by way of comparison, is now 167.5). Meanwhile, Stanford has finished the season at 11-1 and likely to move into the No. 5 spot in the BCS and No. 3 in the AP poll after Arkansas drops in the rankings on Sunday.

So what does this all mean for Luck's 2011 Heisman chances? 

The Case For

Luck's season numbers are stellar. We're looking at 261-373 (69.97% accuracy), 3170 yards, 35 touchdowns, and nine interceptions -- one of the most prolific and efficient lines in the nation. He's been the focal point of the Stanford offense, as tailback Stepfan Taylor has been merely good as the primary rushing threat on the offense (this isn't a situation like Wisconsin RB Montee Ball making Russell Wilson's job incredibly easy, in other words). Luck is an NFL prototype, standing 6'4" at 235 pounds, his reputation is spotless, he's got three quality years of play at QB, and he's intelligent in interviews off the field. He behaves like a Heisman winner and a coach's dream.

Also, as mentioned before, Stanford is probably going to finish in the Top 3 of the AP poll (a pool of people that's not exactly dissimilar to the Heisman voting ranks), and it'll likely be somewhere in a BCS bowl in January, even as a shot at the Rose Bowl eluded the team once again. All the while, Luck has been prominent in his contributions, throwing at least two touchdowns in every game and four touchdowns in three 2011 contests.

Also, Luck strikes a pretty sweet Heisman pose in the picture above.   

The Case Against

Luck's numbers might not be stellar enough this year. He's nowhere near NCAA passing efficiency leader Russell Wilson, and while Wilson's usage numbers are low enough that he's not receiving Heisman consideration anymore, Baylor's Robert Griffin III, Houston's Case Keenum, USC's Matt Barkley, and Boise State's Kellen Moore all have similar amounts of attempts and completions, and aside from RG3 (one fewer passing TD), their touchdowns are all higher and their interceptions are all lower than Luck's. Luck's interceptions are up from last year, and his yardage and efficiency are both down (albeit slightly in all three cases). His rushing in 2011 is nowhere near the level of the last two years -- though voters probably won't mind that last fact.

Further, as mentioned before, Luck's Stanford team is likely to be ranked third in the AP poll on Sunday, but at the same time only fifth in the BCS. While that's not a disqualifier from Heisman consideration by any stretch of the imagination, it may not be high enough for some voters to consider taking Luck over, say, Trent Richardson from second-ranked Alabama. Moore and Keenum also have their teams in the Top 10, and again, their raw numbers are better than Luck's. Worse yet for Luck, regional Heisman voting bias is a very real thing, and the fact that Moore, Keenum, Barkley, and Griffin all play west of the Mississippi may mean Luck can't stand out among his peers in south and west-coast voting enough to overtake the strong showings of Richardson in the east or RG3 in Texas.

The Verdict

There's no question that Luck's going to New York as a Heisman finalist, and he's probably going to finish in the Top 3 or 4. But in such a loaded Heisman pack, it takes a lot to distinguish one's self as the best player in the nation. Trent Richardson's got highlight-reel plays and a likely berth in the BCS Championship. Robert Griffin III has the best efficiency among serious Heisman candidates and two high-profile last-minute victories. Montee Ball has the most touchdowns in one year since Barry Sanders in his legendary 1988 season. Kellen Moore has a 49-3 record and 134 passing touchdowns. Case Keenum rewrote the NCAA record books in career passing totals. In a field like that, what does Andrew Luck bring to the table better than anybody else, and is it a legitimate reason to vote for someone as the best player in the nation? Unfortunately for the Stanford faithful, we don't see how Luck answers that question well enough to bring home the Heisman.

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Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: November 29, 2011 3:44 pm

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

Andrew Luck is the most deserving candidate. He's played great all season, and more importantly, he's been basically a one-man show at Stanford. I highly doubt any of the other candidates could have led Stanford to an 11-1 record.

Since: Mar 14, 2008
Posted on: November 29, 2011 1:36 pm

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

Being in the SEC is not a stat.  How about compare their games against Penn State?

Montee Ball 156 yds rushing, 6.3 yds/att, 15 yds receiving, 4 TDs

Trent Richardson 111 yds rushing, 4.3 yds/att, 19 yds receiving, 2 TDs

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: November 29, 2011 12:00 pm

How Many Heisman Winners Have THREE Pick-Sixes?

Here's another fact for The Case Against:

Andrew Luck has thrown three interceptions returned for touchdowns this year including one against Duke of all teams. Even the best quarterbacks throw interceptions but having them returned for touchdowns is another thing.

In addition, he threw one against Cal returned to the 19 that led to a touchdown a few plays later.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:17 am

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

Yeah people always forget to factor in level of competition. It's like saying a guy who's team had the weakest schedule is more deserving because his stats are slightly better than a guy who's team played the strongest schedule. It's harder to run against great defenses than good defenses.

Since: Jul 28, 2010
Posted on: November 28, 2011 9:06 pm

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

There is a stat that gives Richardson a HUGE edge over Montee Ball.
Richardson is in the SEC. 

Since: Mar 14, 2008
Posted on: November 28, 2011 8:41 pm

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

In response to Richardson being a better RB than Monte Ball, I just have no idea how anyone can say that. 
Here are Richardson's numbers (1,583 yards, 6.0 yards/att, 20 rush TDs, 3 rec TDs).  And here are Monte Ball's numbers (1,622 yards, 6.5 yards/att, 29 rush TDs, 5 rec TDs).  How is there an argument for Richardson over Ball?  What other stats are more important than those?  He doesn't have a single statistic that's better.

Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 8:04 pm

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

I disagree with this...I feel like all his records and stats is somewhat false.I mean hey in all honesty he did have an extra year or half a year.I could go into a whole big spill about he hasn't went up against the best teams and so on.But short and simple i feel like Trent Richardson has just out played him...nuff said!

Since: Oct 14, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 6:55 pm

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

College Football voting is all about who has done the best thing most recent. Just look at Robert Griffin, last week he had a good game in an upset and all the voters went Oooh and Ahhh and made him the no.1 canidate, but that was soooo long ago now that he is already an afterthought if someone like Montee Ball has like a 4 td game he will be the new leader for the next few days or hours or untill the voters get bored and write a blog about how Andrew Luck is the best pro prospect since Jay Berwanger.

Since: Mar 11, 2007
Posted on: November 28, 2011 5:40 pm

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

Seen a couple of people talking about Montee Ball and throwing up the TD record in some sort of a comparison to Barry Sanders.  Stop, it is not fair to the kid to try and compare him to the greatest season a running back has ever had (maybe ever will).  Montee Ball is a great little running back and should be proud of anything he can accomplish this year, as for the heisman he is outmatched and outmanned.  

The CBS idiots that are voting every week for the heisman have no more clout than Joe Bob down at the gas station, they have changed their minds almost every week.  It is not a week to week discussion, it is a compilation of a season of work.  There are three people still in the mix for this award, Trent Richardson (my choice), Robert Griffin III and in a late rush Matt Barkley.

Barry Sanders had 2850 yards rushing and 44 touchdowns in 12 games in 1988.  Montee Ball has 1622 yards rushing and 34 TD's in 12 games thus far, he still has the Big 10 Championship game and a bowl game, but comparisons are not going to win him a heisman. 

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: November 28, 2011 3:24 pm

Can Andrew Luck still win the Heisman?

i have been saying this for weeks ! why no love for montee! 5 more tds to go

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