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Heisman finalists: Who will win the trophy Saturday night?

December 6, 2011 |  8:18 am

When the five Heisman Trophy finalists gather in Manhattan for the presentation ceremony Saturday night, there is sure to be more suspense than last year, when everyone knew Auburn's Cam Newton would win in a landslide.

Stanford's Andrew Luck, who finished second to Newton by 1,184 points last year, is the only returning finalist. He entered the season as the overwhelming favorite to win the trophy and had another great season, passing for 3,170 yards with 35 touchdowns while leading the Cardinal to an 11-1 record.

But some stiff competition has emerged, particularly from Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III as the current favorite. With the nation's top passer rating (192.3), Griffin threw for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns and ran for 644 yards and nine touchdowns in leading the long-struggling Bears to a 9-3 record.

Wisconsin's Montee Ball needs just one more touchdown to match Barry Sanders' NCAA season record of 39. Ball, who will have a shot at that record against Oregon in the Rose Bowl, is fourth in the nation with 135.3 rushing yards per game and has 12 more touchdowns than any other player.

Trent Richardson hopes to follow in the footsteps of another Alabama running back, Mark Ingram, who won the Heisman two years ago. Richardson is fifth in the nation in rushing at 131.9 yards per game and tied for fifth in touchdowns with 23 for the Crimson Tide, who will play in the BCS title game.

LSU, Alabama's opponent in the championship game, will be represented by defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who has forced five fumbles, intercepted two passes and scored four touchdowns. He also missed a game after being suspended for violating the team's drug policy.

Who do you think will get to strike that famous Heisman pose on Saturday night? Vote in the poll and leave a comment explaining your choice.


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UCLA coach search continues as Al Golden indicates no interest

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: The first 1935 Downtown Athletic Club trophy, renamed the Heisman Memorial Trophy the following year. Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press