Off the Cuff: Case Keenum: The Heisman Hype is Legit!

Posted on November 4, 2011

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By Jeremy Sickel

The pundits who vote on who will receive the Heisman Trophy every year in college football usually do get it right, but not for the reasons you might think. There are usually four to five players invited to the ceremony that actually have a legit shot at taking home the prestigious hardware. These players demonstrate over a season that they were capable of leading their team down a path of success and proved that they were indeed the root of their team’s achievements.

This lessens the prospects of your typical “stat stuffer” from being invited to the Downtown Athletic Club for the presentation. While their numbers are very sexy, these players typically aren’t surrounded with the talent they need in order to direct their team to a season with minimal blemishes; meaning that when all is said and done, the Texas Tech’s, Hawaii’s and Houston’s of the college football landscape usually end the season with a few losses, dashing any hope of legitimate representation for the esteemed honor. For example, during the 2006 season when Hawaii’s Colt Brennan threw for 5,549 yards and 58 touchdowns while leading the nation in passer efficiency, the team finished with an 11-3 mark. His numbers were considerably lower during Hawaii’s 2007 undefeated regular season campaign which crushed his Heisman hopes. Keenum should have the numbers and the undefeated season to match.

I equate it to the tired argument in Major League Baseball about how pitchers should not be considered for the MVP – they don’t have the daily impact, they have parts around them to pick up slack, blah, blah, blah. And for a pitcher to even be in the discussion he has to be damn near perfect all season and play for a winning team. Well unlike Justin Verlander, Case Keenum, as a starting quarterback, has arguably the largest impact on his team’s win-loss record since he touches the ball on every offensive snap, and because of the offense that Houston runs, is directly responsible for whether or not his supporting cast gets the rock.

The 2011-12 season presents a tricky dilemma with Case Keenum dismantling each and every opponent he has faced thus far, highlighted by a 534 yard, 9 touchdown performance against Rice on October 27th. Sure, the Houston Cougars play in Conference USA, but the proportion of the talent level is the same as it is in a larger conference, without the big names. With that said, Houston is by far and away the premier team in their conference and an undefeated season is assuredly in their sights.

What usually holds back the offensive cherry pickers will more than likely not be a barrier this year for Keenum. There almost certainly will not be a single loss on his resume to balance out the inflated numbers he already has and will continue to accrue. So when the contenders are lined up next to each other at the end of the regular season to determine who most deserves the award, Case Keenum should be the last man standing.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter @kcpopflyboy