It will be a huge injustice if anyone other than Robert Griffin III wins the Heisman trophy. The other finalists are Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Alabama’s Trent Richardson, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, and LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu. There is one huge difference between all of these worthy players and Griffin. Luck, Richardson, Ball, and Mathieu play in glamour programs that feature highly recruited players, many of whom are bound for the NFL. Griffin plays for Baylor, a school without a winning tradition that, year after year, misses out on the best prospects, who sign instead with UT and A&M and Oklahoma. It is nearly unheard of for a player at an obscure university to win the Heisman (you have to go back to at least 1989, with the University of Houston’s Andre Ware), and when we’re talking about the elite programs in college football, Baylor is very obscure.
I went to the UT-Baylor game in Waco last Saturday to see Griffin play. We had hardly reached our seats before RGIII flung a pass down the field for a touchdown. Maybe twelve seconds had elapsed on the clock. The guy is electric. But it was what happened before the game started that really struck me. As the stadium announcer introduced the seniors who were playing their last home game, approximately half of the introductions began the same way: “He started his career at Baylor as a walk-on and was awarded a scholarship.” In other words, many of Griffin’s supporting cast weren’t even recruited. They were volunteers. To achieve what Griffin did under such circumstances is a stupendous feat.
I seldom stray from writing about politics in this column, but I would argue that the Heisman is politics, that it’s all about lobbying, and if RGIII doesn’t get the trophy, they ought to melt it down and sell it for scrap.