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2011 Heisman Race Should Be Wisconsin RB Montee Ball's to Lose

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball should be running away with the Heisman Trophy

In my mind, there is no Heisman race. The race is officially over.

Unfortunately, that's only if you ask me.

When people talk about the Heisman race, names like Trent Richardson, Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, and Robert Griffin are brought up, and for very good reason. Each of those candidates is having an excellent year, and they deserve all the hype they are getting.

However, it would be a colossal mistake if Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was not invited to New York for the ceremonies, because if you ask me, he has already done enough to lock up the award.

In 12 games, Ball has carried the ball 248 times for 1,622 yards, which is the best in the Big Ten and second best in all of the FBS. Not only that, but Ball's 29 rushing touchdowns are the most by a skill player in major college football, leading Temple running back Bernard Pierce by four scores.

Oh, and by the way, Ball also has five receiving touchdowns and has proven throughout the year to be an extremely effective every down back. He even showed that he can throw the ball, tossing a touchdown strike to quarterback Russell Wilson.

His numbers defy that of even some of the worlds best NCAA Football or Madden video game players. His 6.5 yards per carry is absolutely incredible when you consider he also averaged over six yards per carry as a sophomore and he is undoubtedly the focal point of defensive game plans.

On the season, he has accounted for 29 rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns, and a passing touchdown. For those of you who don't feel like adding those up in your head, that's 35 touchdowns on the season and Ball still has  two games left to play.

He has scored three or more touchdowns in four games this season, and has run for more than 200 yards twice. He has eight games with over 100 yards rushing, and it's clear to me that he dedicated a lot of time this offseason to getting into better shape making him more effective cutting back but keeping his power.

The last time I saw a Big Ten back dominate like this, I think it was Shonn Greene back in 2008. Greene went on to be a third round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft after his excellent junior season with Iowa, but Montee Ball's dominance has exceeded anything I can remember in recent years.

To give you a picture of just how dominant he has been this year, there has not been a single game in the 12 that Wisconsin has played where Ball had fewer than two touchdowns.

He will have two more games to add to his incredible numbers on the season, and it would not surprise me or maybe anyone else if Ball is able to get 378 yards in the next two games and break 2,000 on the season. His touchdown total is second in college football history only to the great Barry Sanders who had 39 touchdowns in one season (albeit in only 11 games).

One argument I keep hearing is that Ball's success is because of how good the Wisconsin offensive line is, and while that is partially true (Wisconsin's OL is big, and very good), you can't name me a Heisman candidate currently who doesn't have a good offensive line or better.

Andrew Luck's line has at least two first round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, Matt Barkley has arguably the best left tackle in America, Robert Griffin's crew has battered opposing defenses all season long, and Trent Richardson's line at Alabama? He flat out went on national TV and said they are the reason for his success. I'm not saying Ball wouldn't say the same, but let's be real here.

The Heisman Trophy is not an MVP trophy--it is a trophy given to college football's most outstanding player statistically and that has been--by far--Montee Ball.

If Ball doesn't win the Heisman, I question whether or not those guys have even been watching him play, and if he doesn't win it, I think it devalues the award in general. He is clearly the best player in college football right now, and anyone who tells you any different is plain wrong in my opinion.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.