Leading up to last Saturday’s match up with No. 1 Alabama, the biggest game in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 31 years, “experts” said this was Ryan Mallett’s chance to prove he deserves the Heisman Trophy.
Following a down to the wire 24-20 outcome with Ryan Mallett at the helm of the losing Razorbacks, “experts” say he has no chance to win now.
If winning the Heisman Trophy has become the American Idol of football awards, like I believe it has, then these statements are true.
In the days that Archie Griffin won the coveted award twice, of the days that Herschel Walker wowed the nation with week after week with spectacular performances, this award was exactly what it was meant to be.
Since then, this postseason award seems to have become a popularity contest for players on the most popular teams.
An award that is supposed to go to the best player in the nation often goes to the best player on the best team, which is often misleading. If a great player has good talent around him, the supporting cast of talent will allow him to appear as a superstar. But if you take the same player, and put him on a team with subpar talent, he will struggle as the entire team will look for him to carry the entire team.
Many analysts will say Mallett can’t win the Heisman. He threw interceptions in a crucial moment that cost his team the game. These are the same analysts that said during the week leading up to the Arkansas-Alabama game that the Hogs had no chance of beating Alabama.
The Arkansas Razorbacks have talent up and down the roster, and Ryan Mallett led the upset bid and almost came away with a monumental win over the No. 1 team in the nation.
As for these so-called experts and analysts, don’t tell me that Ryan Mallett lost the game for the Arkansas Razorbacks. He gave them a chance to win, when everyone of you said the Hogs had no chance to win.
In a close game, with the No. 1 team that media and coaches alike in fact put in that No.1 spot, Ryan Mallett completed 25-of-38 passes for 357 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions.
Alabama is supposed to be the best team in the country, and its vaunted defense is not supposed to allow those kind of numbers.
Behind the arm of Mallett, Arkansas currently ranks first in the SEC in passing and ranks third nationally.
Defenses on opposing teams have altered their game plans for Mallett, and he makes teams uncomfortable by making them abandon their normal defensive schemes, yet he isn’t worthy of the Heisman?
Through just four games this season, Ryan Mallett has gone 95-of-138 for 1,438 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has a completion percentage of 68.8 and a quarterback rating of 173.04.
Mallett averages 359.5 passing yards per game; the SEC record is 377.4 set by Tim Couch in 1998.
While it seems that many people just see Ryan Mallett as the best player on the Arkansas roster, they are overlooking the fact that he is one of the best to grace the SEC. His name can be found throughout the SEC record book, he is fresh off his record-setting season in 2009, and he is well on his way to another record setting year, leading the Hogs to their best start under head coach Bobby Petrino (3-1) (1-1).
If it turns out that Alabama is the No. 1 team in the nation, and given the numbers that Ryan Mallett put up against the Crimson Tide, we will all see what a sham the Heisman has become if he doesn’t win.
I am a Arkansas Razorback fan, but more importantly, I’m a fan of college football.
These kids go out and give their all every week, providing entertainment for all of us, so the least the committee responsible for the awards that are given to these young men can do is get it right.
Look for James Moseley on Twitter. www.twitter.com/@that_who_is_he