The Heisman May Be Coming Back to Texas

The prediction polls are saying that Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III will win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday.
Tue December 6, 2011 9:57 pm
Screenshot | ESPN

After Baylor beat the University of Texas 48-24 on Saturday, quarterback Robert Griffin III made his Heisman prediction. 

“I could be wrong, but I think Baylor won its first Heisman tonight,” he told ESPN’s Samantha Steele.

Some found Griffin’s post-game statement to be arrogant, but not Steele, who tweeted:

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And it looks like he may be right. Griffin was officially named one of the five Heisman Trophy finalists on Monday, and according to two Heisman prediction websites, he is almost certain to become the first Heisman winner in the state of Texas since Ricky Williams in 1998—and Baylor’s first-ever winner.

At the Heisman Pundit , which has correctly forecasted the trophy’s winner for the last four years, Griffin has eight first-place votes from a thirteen-member panel that’s comprised of actual Heisman voters from several big-name outlets including  Sports Illustrated, Rivals.com, and the  Chicago Tribune.

Overall, Griffin has 32 points to Stanford quarterback (and Houston native) Andrew Luck’s 23, with Alabama running back Trent Richardson a distant third. What’s most notable about these figures is that a week ago, Griffin was in third and University of Houston quarterback Case Keenum was right behind him. This proves that Baylor’s game against UT helped catapult Griffin to the top, and UH's loss to Southern Miss also factored in to the decision. (Keenum dropped to seventh this week.)

A more historically reliable projection comes from Stiff Arm Trophy, which conducts its survey by counting votes from actual Heisman decision makers, many of whom publicly declare their votes in advance of the ceremony.

Stiff Arm Trophy has been right for nine straight years, and they are calling it for Griffin. Their most recent poll from Monday night was based on 103 ballots—there are 926 Heisman voters, making it a far bigger proportion than you get in your average presidential poll—and it had Griffin beating Luck two to one.

The raw numbers reveal that Heisman voters, i.e. writers, from the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram , the Houston Chronicle, the Austin American-Statesman and the Amarillo Globe-News all chose Griffin as their number-one pick. 

Stiff Arm ’s projected margin of victory may well narrow as more votes come in. The end result likely will not, though ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach sees things differently, writing that this year “figures to be one of the closer votes in recent Heisman Trophy history.”

But, as Matt Hinton of Yahoo! Sports' Dr. Saturday blog points out, even if Griffin doesn’t win the Heisman, he still comes out on top simply because he and Baylor Coach Art Briles turned around the state’s sorriest BCS conference program: “There is no trophy you can give him that will mean more than the Man Who Saved Baylor.”

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