Fact or Fiction: The Heisman Trophy Will Come Back to the Pac-12 Conference in 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04: Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates with the trophy after they won 70-33 against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The media hype machine in southern California started revving up midway through 2011 with Matt Barkley coming on strong as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. Although it was too late to unseat the major contenders last year, there will be no such issue this upcoming season. Barkley may be seen as the frontrunner going into 2012, there are other potential candidates who play their games on the west coast including Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, Washington State's Marquess Wilson and Jeff Tuel, Washington's Keith Price among others.

Outside the Pac-12, however, there is a talented group of players that will all make their case for being considered for the Heisman in December. Among them, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith will be back after throwing for 4385 yards and 31 touchdowns last year under first year coach Dana Holgorsen. Because of Conference Expandageddon, he is in an interesting position because his school is in the mid-atlantic geographic region but will end up playing many of his games in Texas and Oklahoma, home to a different region of Heisman Voters.

Montee Ball from Wisconsin went to New York last year but didn't come away with the prize. Without Russell Wilson, Ball could carry even more of the load and could be extremely successful in the Big-10.

There is Oklahoma's Landry Jones, Arkansas' Tyler Wilson, South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore and a slew of others that could make a late season charge at winning some individual hardware. The Pac-12 is an offensive league with some major stars but any region could produce that magical moment. After all, in 2011 Andrew Luck was seen as the frontrunner for 90% of the season until Robert Griffin III charged late and took the trophy in New York.

All of this leads us to our Fact or Fiction question....

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