• 01/18/2012, 02:03AM ET

FFTI II: Who should have been the top three, in order, on this year's Heisman ballot?

And the Prophecy Read (42-14-5) vs UB bulls (5-2-0)

Obviously RGIII is the clear winner. After that it isn't as clear.
But after going back and forth among the next 3 the order stood out to me as follows:
2. Andrew Luck
3. Trent Richardson

I don't think you'll change number one so for now i'll leave that untouched.

After III its hard to say a player meant more to his team and performed as such as Andrew Luck. I could see an argument for him being dropped being made but for now I will also leave that untouched because I think the only change there is, is Trent.

Trent didn't put up eye popping numbers like some other candidates but each and every game he performed well if not spectacular. Each week in every game teams gameplanned to stop Trent. Teams knew the Alabama passing attack wasn't going to hurt them as badly as Trent will if they sat back in coverage. Teams loaded the box and Trent still carried the Alabama offense to the number 2 ranking in the final polls and a chance at the BCS championship. I don't think it would be fair to include his performance there so we'll not include that. But after long debate Trent checks in at my number 3 slightly above the 4th I have in mind.

I can't argue with the first two choices. Both RGIII and Luck had great seasons and are great students as well. They epitomize what college sports is all about.

The 3rd spot isn't so clear-cut. I think the list should be:

2. Andrew Luck
3. Montee Ball

Statwise, both Ball and TR had very similar numbers for yards per game, per carry, and 3rd/4th down conversion rate. It seems like ranking the two for the Heisman is almost a push.

However, there is one stat that jumps out, and it's probably not a surprise to anyone. Ball's 32 rushing touchdowns to TR's 20 is a huge differential.

Also, while he had solid games, TR was shut out of the end zone in his three biggest contests: Arkansas, LSU and against Auburn, their hated rival.

Ball delivered in his biggest games: 3 in the CCG, one more against Sparty in the regular season, and 4 against Penn State to secure their spot in the CCG.

Finally, here's how they stack up against a common opponent, (Penn State) for what that's worth:
TR 111 yards, 4.3 YPC, 2 TDs
Ball 156 yards, 6.2 YPC, 4 TDs.

While, the advantage is small, it belongs to Ball. He belongs on the Heisman list, not TR.

Exactly who I thought you'd go and that was my 4th. The difference came down to this for me. Trent led his team to the National Championship game. He had Eddie Lacey and he and his team usually finished games early and often. Ball on the other hand I felt like padded stats. Whenever I saw Wisconsin Ball almost always was getting good carries in the 4th. Trent ended the Kent State game early for example and sat the rest of the time. If Ball was in that game he would have gotten 20+ carries.

I know its hard to fault Ball for that and its Montees numbers really I think vs. Trent getting his team to the National Championship game. Which is more important?

Yes Alabama had a great D but reallly nothing else on O outside of Eddie Lacey who like Trent is another RB. Wisconsin also had a great D but on offense had Nick Toon and Russel Wilson so teams couldn't stack the box. That in theory also hurts Trent in a way but as stated before Trent easily could have put up Montees numbers if given the same situations.

So once again i'll repeat is eye popping numbers more important or how meaningful you are to your team and your teams success. In Trents case a NC appearence.

I'm not so sure that Ball benefited from padded stats. Ball did not have any touches during the 4th quarter in half of Wisconsin's regular season games. He gained less than 100 yards in each of Wisconsin's non-BCS OOC games.

It was Richardson who rolled up 175 yards and 2 TDs against FCS Georgia Southern and was playing hard well into the 4th quarter. Admittedly, he had to: the game was tied at halftime their lead was only 10 midway in the 3rd quarter.

It's not really true that Richardson was the only factor in Alabama's offense. Their stats for the season show they had a very balanced offense: 2797 yards through the air, 2788 on the ground. McCarron was a better QB than he got credit for.

Richardson contributed about a third (32%) of the Tide's scoring, and about 30% of their offensive yardage.

Ball, however, generated closer to half (44%) of all the points the Badgers scored last year. Against ranked opponents, Richardson's contribution to scoring falls to one fifth (18%), while Ball held steady at 42%.

In short, Montee Ball carried more of the load for Wisconsin than TR did for Alabama, especially against their respective top opponents.

AJ McCarron had a year he had because teams were so focused on stopping Trent Richardson. Russel Wilson opened the field for ball. Teams stacked the box on Bama and McCarron would throw the ball.

In SEC play Richardson averaged 137 yards a game, 6 ypc, and had 12 total TD's. He was a constant rock for an Alabama offense and Alabama responded by getting to the National Title game.

I'm not trying to argue who had the better year. If that was the case then the award would go to Case Keenum he had a terrific year statistically speaking just like Ball. But what neither Ball nor Keenum did was lead his team to the National Title game.

Richardsons team played a different style of football than Wisconsin and thats what hurt Richardson. Alabama played a possession stlye of football and wasted clock while relying on their defense and Trent. Wisonsin ran a high powered offense that was geared to piling up stats and thats what they did.

So i'll say it one last time. Both backs had great seasons, one made it to the National Title game the other like the rest of his team put up great stats.

Advantage Richardson.

The Heisman ballot instructions tell voters to vote for the "most outstanding player in collegiate football." There is no mention in the ballot instructions about the success of the player's team; the Heisman absolutely is about who had the better year.

And that player was Montee Ball.

Ball scored more touchdowns than 29 entire teams last year. He was actually more efficient at turning touches into touchdowns than Barry Sanders was in 1988.

Ball was a larger contributor to his teams' offensive success than Richardson was, and Ball had big games against Wisconsin's biggest opponents.

As for favoring who played on a team that made it to the title game, I think that criteria is too dependent on factors beyond beyond the control of a given player: Wisconsin missed the title game due to two Hail Mary passes; Ball had no control over it.

While both Richardson and Ball are great football players, Ball had the better year and deserves the final spot on the Heisman Ballot.

Thanks for a great TD, And The Prophesy Read.

Comment #1 has been removed
January 19, 2012  12:04 AM ET

Good luck, boys!

thanks, tnerb.

Comment #3 has been removed
January 19, 2012  01:02 PM ET

montee ball!!!!!!!!!!!

January 19, 2012  02:22 PM ET

montee ball!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes indeed. He had one heck of a season.

Comment #6 has been removed
January 19, 2012  06:54 PM ET

Lotus Eaters!

January 19, 2012  07:10 PM ET

I hope left doesn't use the SEC argument.

January 20, 2012  08:07 AM ET

leaning right but waiting on final arguments, will wait til after that to post my 2 cents worth

January 20, 2012  12:11 PM ET

I probably sat there for a half hour trying to decide if I wanted Trent or Montee. It was a very tough decision.

It was a very crowded field this year. Guys like Weeden and Moore were also possibilities.

January 20, 2012  01:57 PM ET


January 20, 2012  02:56 PM ET


Honey Badger is 5-9 175. He needs to start playing more like Deion and less like Ronnie Lott if he wants to have an NFL lifespan.

January 20, 2012  03:10 PM ET

Honey Badger is 5-9 175. He needs to start playing more like Deion and less like Ronnie Lott if he wants to have an NFL lifespan.

he also needs to quit reading about himself and just play his game, every play isn't going to make the highlight reel

January 20, 2012  03:13 PM ET

Montee was 2 plays away from the NCG is his secondary held up

January 20, 2012  03:13 PM ET

Montee was 2 plays away from the NCG is his secondary held up

if his secondary had held up, and he would have replaced Alabama

January 20, 2012  03:37 PM ET

if his secondary had held up, and he would have replaced Alabama

If Richardson's fg kicker made 1 of 4 attempts he would have went undefeated throughout the year.

January 20, 2012  03:53 PM ET

If Richardson's fg kicker made 1 of 4 attempts he would have went undefeated throughout the year.

If Richardson had managed to find the end zone in his biggest game of the season, Alabama wouldn't have needed to rely on their kicker.

Yes, LSU had a great defense, but Oregon and WVA managed to score on the ground against them.

January 20, 2012  03:57 PM ET

*regular season.

The heisman vote took place before the bowls, so that's the extent of the debate in this TD.

January 20, 2012  04:01 PM ET

Montee was 2 plays away from the NCG is his secondary held up

Yes. Two hail mary passes in successive weeks derailed Wiskys hopes for the NCG.

Here's betting that Bielema runs a few more tip drills in the off season.

January 20, 2012  04:04 PM ET

My thumbs hurt but look at them now babycakes...cocked and ready!!!!!


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