Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 12/3/11
Perhaps Robert Griffin III's biggest accomplishment Saturday came after the game was over. When the final whistle was blown, Baylor fans followers of a school that hadn't beaten Texas in Waco since 1997 stayed in their seats. No rushing the field following a 48-24 victory over the in-state Longhorns. No pandemonium. That those fans of a long-suffering football school expected to beat a traditional power, or at least weren't surprised by when they did win, best showed the impact of the man they call RG3. Immediately after, Griffin, in his postgame interview, said simply: "I could be wrong, but I think Baylor won its first Heisman tonight." "I could be wrong, but we felt like if we came out and got a victory, then we should win the Heisman," Griffin said. "It's not just about me, it's about all of Baylor Nation. I don't know if you can say we deserve it, but it would definitely be warranted." Griffin's words came after he completed 15-of-22 passes for 320 yards and two touchdown passes, while rushing for two more scores. "He's the most dynamic player in the NCAA right now," said running back Terrance Ganaway afterward. But the most dynamic player doesn't necessarily mean the Heisman Trophy winner. There's a science to it, a science that Heisman guru Chris Huston follows for HeismanPundit.com. And while Huston said that Griffin will likely win the most first-place votes following his showing on Saturday, he said that wasn't necessarily the key to winning college football's most coveted prize. "I think he pretty much did what he had to do," Huston said. "I'm not quite ready to call the race, but I think he has as good a chance as anybody." The key, Huston said, was broadening Griffin's support. Fellow frontrunner Andrew Luck should carry the West, with Griffin winning the Southwest. Alabama running back Trent Richardson is expected to carry the South. But it's what happens outside that region, and outside the so-called Big Three, that could shift the race one way or another. Consider that Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, as of press time, had yet to play and could syphon votes from any of the above candidates. USC quarterback Matt Barkley and LSU dynamo Tyrann Mathieu could do the same. And then there's the undecided Northeast, which Huston said tended to support the "hottest or flashiest" candidate. On one hand, Huston said Griffin appeared to be that candidate. But it also could be Mathieu, by virtue of his performance against Georgia. And then there's the NFL factor. The Northeast, Huston said, was more NFL oriented than college oriented. And one of the candidates, Luck, just so happens to be the publicly accepted No. 1 NFL Draft pick in 2012. It's Luck that Huston said should be Griffin's primary contention for the stiff-armed trophy. "I can't see (Griffin) finishing any worse than second at this point," Huston said. "I don't think he blew everybody away tonight, but he had a great game against a brand-name team. "The key is going to be to place on as many ballots as possible," Huston said. "I think he broadened his support tonight." Critics will try to downplay what Griffin accomplished, both on Saturday and in this season. They'll point to the Longhorns' record at 7-5 and 4-5 in the Big 12 and claim that his final performance came against a mediocre team. And they might even point at Griffin's interception, a poor decision and worse throw that hit Texas safety Blake Gideon right in the numbers. But to focus on those factors would be to ignore the obvious. Forget the numbers, and hone in on what is clearly visible. There was Griffin Saturday afternoon against one of the nation's top defenses, negotiating pressure and firing darts to Bear receivers. He made every throw. He made plays with his legs. His deep ball is a homing missile with a tracker attached to every Bear wide receiver. "I felt like before this game, he did enough the whole season to win the Heisman," said Kendall Wright, Griffin's favorite receiver. "He's been doing this all season." "Robert's a great player," Ganaway added. "He's got my vote, most definitely." Now look at the numbers. The first one is nine. That's the Longhorns' national rank in passing efficiency defense. The second one is 211.3. That's what Griffin's quarterback rating was against that same defense. Texas hadn't allowed a touchdown pass of 20-or-more yards all season. Griffin hit on two, a 59-yarder to Wright on the game's second play and a 39-yard bomb to Terrance Williams seal the game in the fourth. But the most important number is nine. That's how many wins the Bears nabbed in a regular season that included triumphs over TCU, Oklahoma and Texas. Saturday marked the second year in a row the Bears knocked off Texas, an accomplishment considering that prior to Griffin, Baylor hadn't beaten Texas in Austin since 1991, and in Waco since 1997. That's the sort of program-changing impact that Griffin has had. And Baylor coach Art Briles was quick to point out that it wasn't a one-night performance. "I think he's done enough this season to win the Heisman," Briles said. "I don't think it comes down to one day I think when you judge somebody, you judge them over the long run, not the short run. And his long run has been very impressive this year." Will it be impressive enough to win the Heisman? It just might be. "I think it's one of the more interesting and exciting Heisman races in some time," Huston said. "I think it's going to be really close, and there could be a few surprises in the final vote when all is said and done." Under Griffin, the Bears just won nine games for the first time in 25 years. And if Griffin's postgame message was any indicator, the message should be simple: expect to win. "Three years ago, four years ago, I don't know what would've happened if we had gotten ahead of Texas 14-0," Briles said. "People would have been checking the score to see if it's right. It's not that way anymore."
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