December 07, 2011
"I'd vote for RGIII," Ball told the Scott Van Pelt on Van Pelt's radio show.
Robert Griffin III is one of five finalists invited to the Heisman trophy ceremony in New York on Saturday and the first Baylor player to earn the honor, along with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, LSU defensive back/punt returner Tyrann Mathieu and Alabama running back Trent Richardson. While Luck was the preseason favorite, and Richardson emerged in the middle of the season, Griffin seems to be the top candidate after leading the Bears to one of the best seasons in school history.
Griffin's Heisman campaign gained steam after leading the Bears to five consecutive wins to end the season, including wins over Oklahoma and Texas. After last weekend's 48-24 rout over the Longhorns, Griffin leads the nation with a 192.3 pass efficiency rating (a single-season Division I record if it holds through the Bears' bowl game) and ranks second in total yards and touchdowns. Saddled with the nation's 109th-ranked scoring defense, Baylor still turned in its first nine-win season since 1986, and could earn its first 10-win season since 1980 with a win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl.
At the same time, Ball has emerged in his own right after rushing for 1,759 yards and 38 touchdowns this season, one shy of the mark Barry Sanders set in 1988 en route to his Heisman Trophy for Oklahoma State. (Though Sanders' record came in just 11 games, and doesn't include his 5-touchdown romp in that season's Holiday Bowl; if Ball breaks the official record in the Rose Bowl, it will have taken him 14 games, and will still come up shy of Sanders' actual total.) Ball rushed for at least 137 yards in each of his last five games, including a pair of 200-yard efforts against Purdue and Illinois and 140 yards in Saturday's Big Ten Championship win over Michigan State.
While Ball wants to win the Heisman, he knows the experience of going to New York is just as fulfilling.
"I kept telling people, if I don't win it, I would be fine, I'm not going to be upset, disappointed or anything. Whoever wins it it's well deserved," Ball said.
"I'm just so honored just to be welcomed in New York with all the other great players in the country. This is something I always wanted as a child, and just to see it all happening is such a blessing."