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November 23, 2011

Heisman Watch: Check out Griffin's resume

If they weren't already aware, everyone who follows college football is learning what Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops already knew.

"He's an excellent player," Stoops said. "I've known that for a long time."

the awards watch
A weekly look at the top three candidates for some key postseason awards.
Davey O'Brien
(top quarterback)
Doak Walker
(best running back)
(most outstanding wide receiver)
(top tight end)
(most outstanding center)
1. Ben Jones, Georgia
2. David Molk, Michigan
3. Scott Wedige, Northern Illinois
(best interior lineman)
(most outstanding defensive player)
(most outstanding linebacker)
(most outstanding defensive back)
1. CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
2. SS Mark Barron, Alabama
3. CB David Amerson N.C. State
(NOTE: LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu is not one of the 15 semifinalists for the award.)
Lou Groza
(top kicker)
Ray Guy
(top punter)
1. Jackson Rice, Oregon
2. Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech
3. Steven Clark, Auburn
(NOTE: Oklahoma State's Quinn Sharp is not one of the semifinalists for the award.)
"He" is Baylor QB Robert Griffin III, who on Saturday led the Bears to a shocking 45-38 victory over Oklahoma.

A 34-yard touchdown pass with eight seconds left to Terrance Williams not only clinched an upset win over Oklahoma, it may have clinched an upset victory in the Heisman race. Doesn't "RGIII," as he's known in Waco, have to be the leading Heisman contender now?

The main elements that go into winning the Heisman include impressive statistics, leadership, importance to the team, caliber of competition, victories and a "signature" play.

Griffin gets a check in all the categories.

Statistics: Griffin has passed for 3,572 yards and 33 touchdowns (with just five interceptions) in 10 games. He's second in the nation in passing efficiency. He also has rushed for 550 yards and three touchdowns.

Leadership: Griffin has led last-minute, game-winning drives against TCU and OU.

Importance to team: Before last season, Baylor hadn't appeared in a bowl since 1994. Now, the Bears are bowl-eligible for the second consecutive season, and they will be in back-to-back bowls for the first time since 1991 and '92. The Bears are 114th in the nation in total defense, and without Griffin, they wouldn't be going bowling again.

Caliber of competition: Four of Baylor's opponents are ranked and another, Texas A&M, was ranked when it played Baylor. Baylor has a shot at tying for second in the Big 12.

Victories: The Bears are 7-3, and with two games left, they have a chance to reach nine wins for the first time since 1986. If they post a bowl victory, they could reach 10 wins for the first time since 1980. In addition, Baylor beat Oklahoma for the first time ever (the Bears had been 0-20 against the Sooners) and ended TCU's 25-game regular-season winning streak.

Signature play: Griffin has made several great plays this season, but the game-winning pass against Oklahoma was spectacular. He moved out of the pocket to his left, stood strong in the face of the rush and made a perfect throw across the field for the touchdown.

"Another day at the office for Robert," Baylor coach Art Briles said after the win over OU. "He's been doing that for three or four years. If the ball is in his hand, he's going to make good things happen because he's very intelligent, very passionate and very gifted."

Stoops could've told you that.

The top five Heisman candidates this week:

1. QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor: Griffin has passed for more than 400 yards and at least three touchdowns in four of the past five games. He leads the nation in total offense with an average of 412.2 yards per game (3,572 passing yards, 550 rushing). He's second nationally in passing efficiency, fifth in passing yards per game and sixth in total passing yardage.

2. QB Andrew Luck, Stanford: He has tossed at least two touchdown passes in every game this season. Luck has passed for 2,937 yards and 31 touchdowns, with eight interceptions. He's fifth in the nation in passing efficiency. He also has Stanford on track for an 11-1 regular season.

3. RB Trent Richardson, Alabama: He has rushed for 1,380 yards and 20 touchdowns, and has added 322 receiving yards and two touchdowns despite facing seven opponents that rank among the nation's top 44 in total defense.

4. QB Matt Barkley, USC: He has come on strong, throwing at least three touchdown passes in four of his past five games. He was excellent in an upset victory over Oregon and played well in a near-miss against Stanford. He's in the top 15 in all major passing categories. He has thrown for 3,105 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

5. QB Case Keenum, Houston: Winning the Heisman is about more than statistics and Houston's schedule is infested with weak opponents. Still, Keenum's performance deserves consideration. He leads the nation with 4,269 passing yards and 38 touchdowns, and has thrown just three interceptions for the unbeaten Cougars.

Olin Buchanan is a senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at olin@rivals.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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