Heisman Watch: Meet Robert Griffin III


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


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.

Former Napa star Josh Jackson leaving Kansas, entering NBA Draft


Former Napa star Josh Jackson leaving Kansas, entering NBA Draft

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Josh Jackson declared for the NBA draft on Monday after one of the best freshman seasons in Kansas history, one marked by plenty of highlights on the floor and a few distractions off it.

The 6-foot-8 swingman, who is considered a certain lottery pick, was the Big 12 newcomer of the year after averaging 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds. He helped the Jayhawks to a 31-5 record and its 13th straight regular season Big 12 title before losing to Oregon in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Jackson signed with former NBA player B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group.

"After thoroughly consulting with my family, I have decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball," Jackson said in a statement Monday.

"I am very thankful for all of the support I have received from my coaches and teammates at Kansas," he said, "and I look forward to starting my career in the NBA."

Jackson was the nation's No. 1 recruit when he signed with the Jayhawks out of Prolific Prep Academy in California. He immediately earned a spot in the starting lineup, teaming with national player of the year Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham to form one of the nation's top backcourts.

With natural athleticism and ability to slash to the basket - not to mention defensive chops that are rare among freshmen - Jackson quickly established himself as one of the nation's top draft prospects.

His importance was never more evident than in the Big 12 Tournament, when he was suspended by coach Bill Self following a series of off-the-court issues. The top-seeded Jayhawks stumbled in a quarterfinal loss to TCU, ending their run at the conference tournament before it really began.

He returned for the NCAA Tournament and played well in wins over UC Davis, Michigan State and Purdue, but was hamstrung by foul trouble and managed just 10 points in a season-ending loss to the Ducks.

Jackson's suspension came following an incident outside a Lawrence bar in December, when a member of the Kansas women's basketball team got into an altercation with Jackson's teammate, Lagerald Vick.

Jackson followed the woman to the parking lot and the woman said he kicked her car and caused hundreds of dollars in damage. He pleaded not guilty last week in Douglas County District Court to one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property and a trial is scheduled for May 24.

His attorney, Hatem Chahine, said he was planning to file for diversion.

Jackson also was ticketed in February after he struck a parked car and fled the scene, and that drew Self's ire when he didn't tell his coach about the incident until several weeks later.

His decision to declare for the draft came a week after teammate Svi Mykhailiuk announced he would skip his senior season. But unlike Jackson, the 6-8 sharpshooter has not hired an agent and could withdraw his name by May 24 and return to the Jayhawks.

Redemption: Year after heartbreak, UNC outlasts Gonzaga to win title


Redemption: Year after heartbreak, UNC outlasts Gonzaga to win title


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's OK, Carolina, you can open your eyes.

An unwatchable game turned into a beautiful night for the Tar Heels, who turned a free-throw contest into a championship they've been waiting an entire year to celebrate.

Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead 3-point play with 1:40 left Monday and North Carolina pulled away for a 71-65 win over Gonzaga that washed away a year's worth of heartache.

It was, in North Carolina's words, a redemption tour - filled with extra time on the practice court and the weight room, all fueled by a devastating loss in last year's title game on Kris Jenkins' 3-point dagger at the buzzer for Villanova.

"Just unreal that we get a second chance at this," junior Theo Pinson said, recounting a pre-game conversation with teammate Joel Berry II. "Not a lot of people can say they can do that. I told him, `We're about to take this thing. I'm about to give everything I got.' I knew he would, too, We just didn't want to come up short again."

But to say everything went right for Roy Williams' team at this Final Four would be less than the truth.

The Tar Heels (33-7) followed a terrible-shooting night in the semifinal with an equally ice-cold performance in the final - going 4 for 27 from 3-point land and 26 for 73 overall.

Gonzaga, helped by 8 straight points from Nigel Williams-Goss, took a 2-point lead with 1:52 left, but the next possession was the game-changer.

Jackson took a zinger of a pass under the basket from Pinson and converted the shot, then the ensuing free throw to take the lead for good. Moments later, Williams-Goss twisted an ankle and could not elevate for a jumper that would've given the Bulldogs the lead.

Isaiah Hicks made a basket to push the lead to 3, then Kennedy Meeks, in foul trouble all night (who wasn't?), blocked Williams-Goss' shot and Jackson got a slam on the other end to put some icing on title No. 6 for the Tar Heels.

Williams got his third championship, putting him one ahead of his mentor, Dean Smith, and now behind only John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp.

"I think of Coach Smith, there's no question," Williams said. "I don't think I should be mentioned in the same sentence with him. But we got three because I've got these guys with me and that's all I care about right now - my guys."

Berry recovered from ankle injuries to lead the Tar Heels, but needed 19 shots for his 22 points. Jackson had 16 but went 0 for 9 from 3. Overall, the Tar Heels actually shot a percentage point worse than they did in Saturday night's win over Oregon.

Thank goodness for free throws.

They went 15 for 26 from the line and, in many corners, this game will be remembered for these three men: Michael Stephens, Verne Harris and Mike Eades, the referees who called 27 fouls in the second half, completely busted up the flow of the game and sent Meeks, Gonzaga's 7-footers Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins, and a host of others to the bench in foul trouble.

The game "featured" 52 free throws. Both teams were in the bonus with 13 minutes left. Somehow, Collins was the only player to foul out.

Most bizarre sequence: With 8:02 left, Berry got called for a foul for (maybe) making contact with Karnowski and stripping the ball from the big man's hands. But as Karnowski was flailing after the ball, he inadvertently grabbed Berry around the neck. After a long delay, the refs called Karnowski for a flagrant foul of his own.

"I'm not going to talk about refs," Karnowski said. "It was just a physical game."

Zags coach Mark Few handled it with class, calling the refs "three of the best officials in the entire country," and insisting they did a fine job.

He might have wanted further review on the scrum with 50 seconds left. The refs were taking heat on social media for calling a held ball, which gave possession to the Tar Heels, on a pile-up underneath the Carolina basket. It set up the Hicks layup to put Carolina ahead by 3. One problem: Meeks' right hand looks to be very much touching out of bounds while he's trying to rip away the ball.

"That was probably on me," Few said. "From my angle, it didn't look like an out of bounds situation or I would have called a review. That's tough to hear."

The Bulldogs (37-2), the Cinderella-turned-Godzilla team from the small school in the West Coast Conference, tried to keep the big picture in mind. Twenty years ago, this sort of run at that sort of place looked virtually impossible. With less than 2 minutes left, they had the lead in the national title game.

"We broke the glass ceiling everyone said we couldn't break," junior forward Johnathan Williams said.

And North Carolina got over a hump that, at times this season, felt like a mountain.

"They wanted redemption," Williams said. "I put it on the locker room up on the board - one of the things we had to be tonight was tough enough. I think this group was tough enough tonight."