- Created on Saturday, 19 November 2011 21:24
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Travis Pulver
It’s getting close to that time of year again, when the talk around the water cooler begins to get a little more serious when it comes to who deserves to be named the best player in college football. The contenders for the Heisman Trophy have separated from the pack at this point leaving fans and analyst to debate who should receive the coveted trophy come December 10, 2011, in New York City.
One person who should be getting much more consideration than he has been is Houston Cougars quarterback Case Keenum.
The 6th year senior has redefined what it means to be a gunslinger as he has been steadily shooting down records the last few weeks. First to fall was Timmy Chang’s record for most all-purpose yards in a career. Next up was Chang’s career passing yards mark. Recently Graham Harrell’s career touchdown mark was decimated when Keenum had nine touchdowns against Rice. On Saturday he took over another record, most career completions as well (previously held by Graham Harrell).
Detractors will be quick to point out that those are all career marks; that the Heisman is for the best player in a given year, not over the last four (entirely true). However, even without the records, Keenum has more than made his case to win the Heisman.
He leads the nation in passing and total offense with close to 400 yards of each. His passing efficiency is second to only Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson. Not only does he get the yards, but he does something with them as well. Keenum has 37 touchdowns to his name so far this season, and has only been intercepted three times to go with the only undefeated record among the top candidates.
Compare him to the front runners and his numbers are all comparable if not better. Only Brandon Weeden has thrown for more yards than Keenum (4111 to 3951), but Weeden has not thrown for as many TDs (34-37) and has thrown more interceptions (12-3).
Andrew Luck has been the favorite, but if you look at his body of work, it is not nearly as impressive this season. Luck has thrown for more than 1300 yards less, just 29 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. When the team needed him the most against Oregon, he threw two interceptions as the Cardinals were easily handled by the Ducks.
Luck (who is ironically from Houston) has been the frontrunner all season, but that has been more because he is looked at as being the most NFL ready QB in college football; the statistics and the results do not match his lofty position.
The end of the season will prove to be the deciding factor. Due to the Cougars’ weak schedule, Keenum is going to need to continue lighting teams up if he is going to have a serious chance as well as get some help from the opponents of his closest competitors.
Luck will have to play a tough Notre Dame team as well as the PAC-12 championship game. Weeden made his chances a lot tougher after a three interception performance against Iowa State Friday night; he’ll have the tough task of trying to rebound against rival Oklahoma.
Alabama running back Trent Richardson will need to dominate Auburn in the Iron Bowl as well as have a big game in the SEC championship in order to hold Keenum off.
All the conjecture will be all for naught if Keenum can’t lead the Cougars to victory over Tulsa next week and then beat whomever they meet in the Conference USA championship game on December 3.