RG3 belongs in the Heisman discussion

In Friday's Mailbag, an ambitious reader wanted to know if a win over Texas would finally put Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III on equal footing with Auburn's Cam Newton, the Heisman front-runner.

He's not on that level, but the time has come to start talking about Griffin, arguably the front-runner for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, as a Heisman candidate with a chance to book a ticket to New York. Don't believe me?

Newton, a quarterback more apt to run than pass, is a poor comparison to Griffin, who's showcasing a huge improvement as a passer this season. A better comparison? Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, another prominent Heisman candidate.


  • Griffin: 196-294 (66.7 percent), 2,592 yards (8.82 yards per attempt), 20 TD, 5 INT. Rating: 159.77

  • Luck: 152-226 (67.3 percent), 1,920 yards (8.5 yards per attempt), 20 TD, 6 INT. Rating: 162.52


  • Griffin: 92 car, 401 yards (4.4 avg.), 7 TD

  • Luck: 40 car, 345 yards (8.6 avg.), 3 TD

Obviously, Luck has the advantage playing for a top-15 team whose only loss has come to the nation's No. 1 team, Oregon. He also plays for a team that won eight games a year ago.

Though the difference in numbers isn't wide, and Griffin has more impact on his team's success, with the ball in his hands on 110 more snaps than Luck.

Without Griffin in 2009, the Bears went 2-7, with wins over Kent State and Missouri.

It's 7-2 so far in 2010 with him.

He's the biggest reason for the revitalization of a program that hasn't won seven games in a season in 15 years, and the Bears still have three games to play.

The Bears were dominated 45-10 by one of the nation's best teams, TCU, early in the year. But in Baylor's other loss, the Bears put 38 points on the board and Griffin threw for a then-career-high of 384 yards and a pair of touchdowns, without a turnover. He also ran for two scores.

If the defense turns in a respectable performance in the Cotton Bowl, Baylor would have one loss -- to a top 5 team -- and would be undefeated in conference play.

Baylor's biggest games, the ones that will decide whether or not Griffin truly warrants a trip to New York, are ahead of it. But for now, he has the Bears atop one of college football's toughest divisions.

"The guy is unbelievable," said Texas coach Mack Brown after Griffin accounted for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat the Longhorns in Austin. "I don't know how he can be out of the Heisman talk."

He shouldn't be anymore, at least for now.