NCAA

Heisman Watch: Meet Robert Griffin III

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Heisman Watch: Meet Robert Griffin III

With four of the top seven teams in the country losing over the weekend, you better believe there was significant shakeup in both the BCS standings and Heisman Watch.

After his unbelievable performance against No. 5 Oklahoma, I couldn't resist the temptation anymore -- Robert Griffin III deserves to be in the top spot this week.

Can he legitimately win the award?

Rank Player, Position, School Recent Game Stats Season Stats Remaining Games 1 Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor 21-34, 479 yards, 4 TD, 72 rush yards in 45-38 win over No. 5 Oklahoma 245-336 (73), 3572 yards, 33 TD, 5 INT, 550 rush yards, 5 rush TD Texas Tech, No. 25 Texas 2 Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama 32 rush, 175 yards, 2 TD, rec. TD in 45-21 win over Georgia Southern 236 rush, 1380 yards (5.8 YPC), 322 rec. yards, 2 rec. TD At No. 24 Auburn 3 Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford 20-30, 257 yards, 2 TD, INT in 31-28 win over California 241-343, 2937 yards, 31 TD, 8 INT, 2 rush TD No. 22 Notre Dame 4 Case Keenum, QB, Houston 30-45, 318 yards, TD, rush TD in 37-7 win over SMU 309-421 (73), 4269 yards, 38 TD, 3 INT At Tulsa, Conf. USA title game (if beat Tulsa) 5 Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State 28-40, 366 yards, 4 TD, INT in 52-35 win at San Diego State 248-336 (74), 2915 yards, 35 TD, 6 INT Wyoming, New Mexico
On the bubble: Brandon WeedenQBOklahoma State, Montee BallRBWisconsin, Matt BarkleyQBUSC

Analysis:

1) Robert Griffin III: He burst onto the scene after throwing for 359 yards and five touchdowns in Baylor's upset victory over TCU back in Week 1, but fell off the radar as the Bears lost three of four games in October. After his jaw-dropping performance on Saturday, he can't be ignored anymore. For those of you who don't know his life story: Griffin III graduated high school a semester early and enrolled at Baylor for the 2008 Semester. He came in 1st place in the 400-meter hurdles at the Big 12 Championships and 3rd in the NCAA. He then started 11 games at QB as a true freshman, tore his ACL in the team's third game as a sophomore (redshirted), but bounced back the following year by combining for over 4100 yards and 30 touchdowns, while leading Baylor to its first bowl game since 1994. Now, he has Baylor at No. 18 in the BCS, and would be a lock to win the trophy if the Bears could play any defense.
2) Trent Richardson: When Richardson was a freshman, he backed up the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram. In 14 games, Ingram carried the ball 271 times to Richardson's 145 (not bad for a backup, huh?). In 2010, Ingram received 158 carries, and Richardson 112. Now that Richardson is the No. 1 back, he already has more touchdowns (22) in 11 games, than Ingram had in 14 games in 2009. If Ingram won the Heisman with those numbers, than Richardson should follow suit, right? Not necessarily. The competition is better this year than it was in 2009, when Stanford's Toby Gerhart came in second (on a team that was 8-4 entering the Heisman ceremony), and Texas' Colt McCoy came in third (3,869 total yards, 30 total touchdowns, 12 INT -- he probably wouldn't even be in the top 10 this year). Richardson needs a monster performance against Auburn, and less than stellar performances from the competition to have a chance.

3) Andrew Luck: After he led Stanford to a come-from-behind win over USC on October 29, Luck was considered a lock to take home the hardware. Then came Phil Simms' comment that 'Luck doesn't make big-time NFL throws," followed by Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian's declaration that he would take USC's Matt Barkley over Luck if he had the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. In Stanford's last three games, Luck has completed 66 of his passes (72 first 8 games), averaged 240 passing yards per game (277 first 8 games) and thrown four interceptions (four in the first eight games combined). Are Simms and Sarkisian correct? Or could it be that the three games were played under wet and sloppy field conditions? Either way, Luck needs a 300-plus yard, four touchdowns, zero interceptions performance against Notre Dame on Saturday to regain the momentum he lost the past few weeks. If he delivers and Stanford wins, I think he will ultimately win.4) Case Keenum: Based on how he was playing in weeks prior, Keenum had a "down" game on Saturday with just one touchdown. However, he broke yet another NCAA record -- career completions. Texas Tech's Graham Harrell completed 1,403 passes from 2005-2008, but he now stands in second behind Keenum's 1,427. The sixth-year senior should have three more games to ensure nobody in the future can catch him, but the Cougars face a tough Tulsa team on the road this Saturday, with a birth in the Conference USA Championship Game on the line. A win and Houston will most likely face Southern Miss, and should they win that, an automatic birth in a BCS game. After coming this far, please don't fall short, Case.5) Kellen Moore: The southpaw from Prosser, Washington just won't go away. His efficiency is off the charts, but the loss to TCU derailed his chance of winning the trophy. He's a huge reason why Boise State has become one of the most successful programs in the country over the past five seasons, and he should be rewarded with a trip to New York City. I don't see Wyoming, or New Mexico preventing that from happening.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.