The end of the college football season is fast approaching, and the rest of the nation is finally learning something that Houston Cougar fans have known all season. The best player in the country isn't Colt McCoy or Tim Tebow. The best player is Case Keenum.
Tim Brando of CBS Sports and Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman have told Richard Justice that they currently have Keenum number one on their ballots -- if anybody is in a position to judge Keenum against the so-called golden kids, it's Brando and Bohls, who are paid to watch the SEC and Texas every week.
Keenum is having a season for the ages. He's passed for 3815 yards through nine games. That includes 28 touchdowns as opposed to just five interceptions. He's even run for three touchdowns. The numbers of McCoy and Tebow come nowhere near to comparing with Keenum's.
The thinking probably is that this is due to Keenum to playing in C-USA and against weak competition. But do you know what? It's actually possible to do a comparison because the Cougars have actually played some of the same teams as Texas and Florida.
Against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, Keenum passed for 801 yards, four TDs -- he even ran for two touchdowns -- and two interceptions. But against these same two teams, the Great One that is Colt McCoy passed for only 376 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Against Mississippi State, Keenum passed for 434 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, while the great Tebow was only able to pass for 127 yards, no touchdowns, but two interceptions (in fairness, he ran for 88 yards).
So the comparison can be made, and Keenum, the QB from the minor conference put up far better numbers against the big boys than the so-called major talents.
But will any of this actually matter to the rest of the voters?
"I don't know what the Heisman voters are thinking," Keenum said at yesterday's media luncheon. "My goal right now is to beat UCF. My goal is not to win the Heisman or break records. Any individual award is a team award. If you're not being successful and winning games, those team accolades are not going to come your way."
The Cougars are doing that now, however. The team is winning. The team is being successful. And the team thinks he should win the award.
"His character: He is the same on and off the field," receiver Tim Monroe said of Keenum yesterday. "A great leader and I know he will lead us to victory. The past game he didn't show any feelings. He had it in his head and believed we were going to win that game. Now we are winning games. With his numbers, there shouldn't be any reason why he shouldn't win the Heisman Trophy this year."
Then again, Keenum's not on ESPN and CBS every week. So he's not quite in the same national conscious as the others.
Andre Ware won the Heisman despite never playing on national TV, but Ware had the luck of playing for the Cougars when they were playing in a major national conference and playing Texas and Arkansas and the Aggies every week. So maybe Keenum's just going to have to be content with winning football games.
"We are going out to prepare the same as we did on week one," Keenum said about this week's game with UCF. "One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to be the most prepared football player on the field. I have to do that again this Saturday."
And nobody who has watched Keenum play will ever doubt that that Keenum is anything but the most prepared player on the playing field. Even if there are people who think that he doesn't play on the same field as Ingram, McCoy or Tebow.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: Speaking of awards, sophomore linebacker Marcus McGraw was awarded yesterday the Academic Momentum Award presented by the Scholar-Baller Program in conjunction with the National Consortium for Academics and Sports. This awards a student athlete's academic achievement in the face of adversity. Despite the sudden death of his mother last season, McGraw has not missed a game, nor has he dropped any credit hours. "He is the old 18 going on 30," Kevin Sumlin said. "He is more mature than a lot of so-called grown men."
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