Commentary

Why Andrew Luck won't win Heisman

He may be the nation's best player, but history says it's unlikely he'll take the trophy

Updated: August 31, 2011, 2:39 PM ET
By Brad Edwards | ESPN Insider
LuckMarc Serota/Getty ImagesIf history holds up, Andrew Luck will be turned away from the Heisman trophy.

As we reach the start of the 2011 season, there is little debate among the experts that Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck is the best player in college football.

But in order to win the Heisman Trophy a little more than three months from now, he'll need to be considered the most outstanding player. There's a distinct difference between the two, and a quick glance at the list of Heisman winners proves that they don't always go hand in hand.

That said, Luck -- who finished second in Heisman voting last season -- is considered the favorite to win it this year. But the front of the pack isn't always the best place to start the race when it comes to the Heisman Trophy.

More than 900 voters will be watching Luck every week and wanting to see him consistently perform at a higher level than the other contenders. Many of those voters are expecting him to look like the probable No. 1 pick in the next NFL draft. And when expectations get that high, a couple of mediocre outings can be all it takes to dash Heisman hopes. Just ask Peyton Manning.

But if an almost unfair level of scrutiny isn't enough of a reason to be skeptical of Luck's chances to capture the stiff-armed statue, here are five more ... by the numbers.

1 -- Overall team success tends to fall on QBs

In the last 40 years, only one QB has won the Heisman with more than two losses at the time of the voting. That was Tim Tebow in 2007, a season in which he did something statistically unprecedented in college football history (both rushing and passing for more than 20 touchdowns).


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• Analyzes college football and the BCS as part of ESPN's Stats & Information Group
• Analyst for both College GameDay on ESPN Radio and the ESPN College Football app