4. Heisman showcase
By Monday afternoon, voting will close for the Heisman Trophy. Most Heisman straw polls favor Alabama running back Trent Richardson, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck or Houston quarterback Case Keenum, possibly USC quarterback Matt Barkley.
Then there’s fast-charging Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
But ever since his stunning pass that beat Oklahoma, RG3 has been all the rage.
Now he gets one final platform.
No. 19 Baylor (8-3) gets to host the Texas Longhorns (7-4) on Saturday.
Here are some fascinating numbers: In the past two seasons, Griffin has thrown 40 touchdown passes of 20 yards or longer. This season, the No. 9-ranked Texas defense hasn’t allowed ANY touchdown passes of 20 yards or longer.
Griffin’s presence has elevated Baylor football to a higher level. The Bears just completed a 4-0 November – after going a mind-numbing 4-47 in previous November games since the Big 12 began play in 1996. The Bears just defeated Texas Tech 66-42 (Texas Tech has won the previous 15 meetings by an average 42-16 score) when Griffin had to leave with a concussion.
Now Baylor gets the Longhorns.
The Bears haven’t beaten Texas in back-to-back seasons since 1991 and ’92.
Griffin, who said he’s playing, has 3,678 yards passing with 34 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has rushed for 612 yards and seven touchdowns.
Can a Baylor player pull a Heisman upset? Richardson and Luck don’t play this weekend. The final stage belongs to Griffin and Keenum.
Maybe the momentum is too difficult to overturn. But if Griffin plays brilliantly on Saturday, that would give him victories against TCU, Oklahoma and Texas. That would make Baylor 6-3 in the Big 12 for the first time ever.
That’s worth a trip to New York – at minimum.
5. Speaking of Keenum
The Conference USA championship game between the No. 7 Houston Cougars (12-0) and No. 24 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (10-2) begins Saturday’s noon-to-midnight, ET, slate of college games, so it’s a chance for many fans to focus on Houston senior quarterback Case Keenum, perhaps for the first time.
The numbers are staggering.
Keenum is the NCAA’s career leader in passing yards (18,312), total offense (19,217), touchdown passes (150) and touchdowns accounted for (173).
This season, he has 4,726 passing yards (no one ever has surpassed 5,000 in the NCAA), a 73.2 completion percentage, 43 touchdown passes and just three interceptions.
He has a passing efficiency rating this season of 187.3 (the NCAA single-season record is 186.0 by Hawaii’s Colt Brennan in 2006).
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Keenum’s numbers are so overwhelming, we have almost become desensitized to what they really mean. Last week, he passed for 457 yards and five touchdowns as the Cougars rallied past Tulsa 48-16 to clinch the C-USA West Division.
Keenum might not win the Heisman. The Houston Cougars, in this BCS system, have no realistic shot at playing for a national title. But these accomplishments don’t deserve off-Broadway status.
Because of his unusual status — the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility due to an injury — we won’t see career numbers like this for a long time, maybe ever.
CFT: In a shocking move, QB Everett Golson is no longer enrolled at Notre Dame.
CFT: Former Penn State signalcaller Steven Bench joined the South Florida Bulls, he announced on Twitter.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
HBO Real Sports: Bill O'Brien
Penn State football coach and 2012 National Coach of the Year shares the challenges in turning around a program shattered by scandal. Real Sports premieres Tuesday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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