First off, it isn't any of my business who you're voting for. But if you're registered to vote, there's no reason why you should sit this one out, and it isn't just the biggest choice on the ballot. All the local measures and officials, wherever you may lay your head, need your attention too. So take the twenty minutes, get that sticker, and feel a little better about your Tuesday. And to my international readers who aren't voting today: maybe volunteer, or donate some money to charity. Or maybe just read all my articles, and send them to your friends. It's about making the world a better place, is what I'm saying.
On to the stuff that matters: what are we gonna do about this Heisman Trophy?
Preseason favorite Denard Robinson has been injured and not as spectacular as we expected. Fellow preseason favorite Tyrann Mathieu is not currently playing football. Week 1 favorite LeVeon Bell has faded into five-loss obscurity. West Virginia's Geno Smith, considered a near-lock just a month ago, is in free fall, losing three straight games and exposed as a still-raw talent. Braxton Miller has the misfortune of making his home in Sanctionsville. And current favorite Collin Klein fits snugly into the Jason White/Chris Weinke/Gino Torretta class of "Effective and Decidedly Unsexy Quarterbacks With No Chance of an NFL Career". Oh, and he might have a concussion.
That brings us to Oregon running back Kenjon Barner. The former three-star defensive back recruit has turned into the most dangerous running back in college football. He ranks third in the country in rushing, second in rushing touchdowns, and sprinkles in a couple receptions per game for good measure. His 321 yard performance against USC, the most rushing yards all-time against the Trojans, put him firmly on the Heisman radar. But shouldn't he be at the top by now? Let's take a look at what Barner has in his favor:
- The Stats - KJB is on pace for 1871 yards rushing, 28 touchdowns, with 228 more receiving yards on top. His 7.2 yards/carry would be the highest average for a Heisman trophy winning running back since Barry Sanders. And keep in mind, these averages are based upon eight half-games, and USC. Barner needs to average 177 yards per game over these last four game to reach 2000 yards.
- The Team - Every Heisman winner needs a strong team surrounding him, and this Oregon squad fits the definition. Heisman voters love voting for a player on a top-five team; losing games is what has sunk the candidacies of Robinson and Smith in particular. And as long as Oregon remains undefeated, Barner will remain in the conversation.
- The System - An Oregon running back will always get attention, as long as the Ducks run Chip Kelly's system. And with De'Anthony Thomas' relative ineffectiveness as a true running back thus far this season, it looks to be Barner's show from here on out, with dashes of Byron Marshall if Barner literally can't get up off the bench and run around. This is officially KJB's world, and we're just watching it in awe.