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Football

WILLIAMS: What Breece Hall is up against in the Heisman race; Big 12 predictions

Nov 7, 2020; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State running back Breece Hall (28) looks up at the scoreboard during their football game at Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State would go on to win 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

I have been known to overanalyze things, and perhaps I am doing it right now. But, rightfully so, Iowa State fans are excited about the season Breece Hall is having and want their beloved Cyclone to get the respect he deserves on a national level.

You know, Heisman talk … or lack thereof. 

This partial Covid season we are all witnessing in college football equals a worst-case scenario for a Cyclone attempting to launch a legitimate Heisman Trophy campaign. 

First of all, the Heisman’s voting process is broken. In addition to previous winners, 870 media members spread out across the country vote on the award. That’s too many voters.

The original concept of voting on the Heisman made a lot of sense but like everything, media has changed drastically over the years. Jobs that were considered prestigious in 1995 don’t even exist today.

I am all for spreading this process throughout the country geographically and getting voters from all sorts of media and ages involved. But 870 scribes and talkers? That’s a lot. With a number that large, you are leaving a lot of fat to be trimmed. 

In order to vote for the Heisman, you should – you know – actually have to watch the games. 

A highly publicized example: Back in 2015, (according to The Athletic) an anonymous Heisman voter told former Stanford stud Christian McCaffrey that he didn’t get his vote because couldn’t stay up that late to watch his games.

I’m not trying to be a know-it-all here because I don’t have answers as to how you do it (as I don’t have all of the information on how votes are handed out), but refining the Heisman voting process needs to happen in some capacity. 

Perhaps require that voters make their votes public. This is what the AP Poll does. It seems to somewhat hold scribes accountable. Just a thought.

In a normal year, after 12 games, stacking Breece Hall’s numbers up vs. the rest of the country would leave a resounding mark, even to voters who aren’t watching little old Iowa State. The numbers alone would demand a certain level of respect from the east coast voter who will go an entire year without watching a Big 12 game not featuring Texas or Oklahoma. 

Heading into Saturday’s bout with Kansas State (3 p.m. on FOX), Hall is the country’s leader in rushing yards (1,034), is tied for third nationally in rushing touchdowns (13) and tied for first in the country with five multi-touchdown rushing games. The Cyclone sophomore is averaging 6.3 yards per carry. 

But once again, 2020 is screwing things up. Every league is playing a different number of games. Non-conference games are scattered depending on the league. Dozens of games are getting canceled every week anymore. 

There has never been a season in the history of college football where numbers will mean LESS at the end of the year.

In a season where guys like Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence (to name a few) are already in the mix and playing fewer games (for different reasons), a running back from Iowa State is not going to get the benefit of the doubt from those 870 voters who are spread out across the country – many whom I guarantee haven’t watched Iowa State play a snap all season long. 

For what it’s worth, according to OddsShark.com, Hall isn’t even listed in the Heisman conversation. He’s not in the top 12 at least. However, fellow Big 12 players Sam Ehlinger and Spencer Rattler are. 

Vegas knows.

If you actually watch the games, Hall is one of the most outstanding players in college football. He should at the very least be in the conversation. However not all Heisman voters watch the games and in 2020 – again – stats just aren’t that important.

Weekly Big 12 Predictions … 

Iowa State 27, Kansas State 20 — I had Iowa State winning by two touchdowns until the “no fans” announcement was made earlier this week. Iowa State is a better team than the Wildcats, but we have all seen this movie play out before. K-State will keep it close but expect the Cyclones to be 6-1 heading into a monster Black Friday date with the Longhorns in Austin. 

Oklahoma 34, Oklahoma State 27 — I’ve been hyping Oklahoma for a few weeks now. The Sooners are on a totally different level compared to the team we saw in Ames earlier this season. It actually starts on defense. Top to bottom, this will be one of the finest played Bedlam games we have seen in a decade. 

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