Andrew Luck Wins Unitas Award, is Heisman Trophy next?

12/5/11 in NCAAF   |   Dan_B   |   1067 respect

Stanford star quarterback Andrew Luck--the de facto top NFL prospect in college--has begun reeling in the hardware. The redshirt junior was awarded the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award today as the top collegiate quarterback who exemplifies character and scholastic and athletic achievement. Luck was also named the quarterback on the AFCA Coaches' FBS All-American team.

Despite these accolades, Luck may not win college football's top individual honor: the Heisman Trophy. Luck will be the first pick in next year's NFL draft and was the Heisman Trophy favorite for much of the season. However a perfect storm may have befallen Luck, who now seems to be trailing in the Heisman race.

Right now, Robert Griffin III of Baylor is likely the leader in the clubhouse. Griffin has had a magnificent season and his stats are definitely gaudier than Luck's. Griffin has thrown for 3998 yards (to Luck's 3170), 36 TDs (31 for Luck) and 6 INTs (like threw 9). 

However, numbers can be misleading. Luck plays in a run-first offense, and unlike any other college quarterback, he is responsible for calling the plays at the line of scrimmage. In addition, more than half of his interceptions have bounced off of the hands of his wide receivers--none of which project as NFL players. And Luck plays for a one-loss BCS bound team, Griffin on a three-loss team. 

The other issue that has become abundantly clear is that many pundits, "journalists" and writers have spent the latter part of the season looking for chinks in Luck's seemingly-perfect armor. It has become fodder for daytime sports television (also known as the scourge of the sports world). Watching the "pundits" who don't even watch all of Luck's games make half-baked criticisms of him was probably inevitable given the nature of media today--but it shouldn't discount what he does on the field.

People will ask the question, but where would each team be without their Heisman-hopeful? This argument could hurt Griffin, who when injured against Texas Tech, was replaced by Nick Florence who played as well, if not better than Griffin. Luck, on the other hand, took a perennial loser in Stanford and turned in back-to-back BCS bowl appearances. 

I guess you can probably see where I lean in this argument. I think Luck is the best player in the country, and should not be a back-to-back runner-up. Yet many of the leading Heisman polling services are leaning towards Griffin. Trent Richardson is the third major candidate, but frankly, I think his candidacy pails in comparison to Griffin's and Luck's. 
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