Tennessee Stat Book
The Heisman Trophy competition is so top-heavy with quarterbacks, you might wonder if there's room for anyone else.
Stanford's Andrew Luck has an unbeaten team behind him and his NFL draft-coronation ahead.
Robert Griffin of Baylor, Case Keenum of Houston, and Seth Doege of Texas Tech all are averaging more than 374 yards per game in total offense.
Oklahoma's Landry Jones isn't far behind, and the Sooners' No. 1 ranking in the coaches poll won't hurt his chances.
Russell Wilson leads the country in passing efficiency and is getting much of the credit for Wisconsin's unbeaten season.
Michigan's Denard Robinson already has rushed for more than 700 yards and passed for more than 1,100.
They're all worthy candidates. But if Alabama running back Trent Richardson keeps playing the way he has, he will be No. 1 on my Heisman ballot.
Not only is he having a dominant season. He's dominating in a conference renowned for defense.
He never looked more dominant than last week. Richardson, who will become Tennessee's problem this Saturday, scored four touchdowns, rushed for 183 yards and averaged 10.8 yards per carry in Alabama's 52-7 victory over Ole Miss. He looked like a college running back going against a high school defense.
Ole Miss' defense might be bad. But it's not as bad as Richardson made it look.
The statistics didn't adequately measure the disparity between the runner and the defenders trying to tackle him. You had to see The Run to appreciate what a mismatch this was. It covered 76 yards and embarrassed about half the Ole Miss defense in the process.
"He had some sweet moves there," UT senior linebacker Austin Johnson said. "That guy can pull some moves out of his hat.
"He's in a category all of his own, because he has all those tools. He's physical, he can move, he can pass block. He just a great back all-around."
That wasn't Richardson's first college high
light. In fact, his freshman run against Arkansas was just as impressive, if not as long as the one against Ole Miss. He shoved one Hog out of bounds, broke four other tackles and outran a final defender for a 52-yard touchdown.
His combination of speed and power is reminiscent of the 1980s, when Georgia's Herschel Walker and then Auburn's Bo Jackson were capable of making the nation's best defensive conference look like the WAC.
Yet despite Richardson's fast start and prominent role on outstanding teams, you could say that he was overlooked and underused his first two seasons at Alabama.
For two years, he was the backup to 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. Even as he entered this season without Ingram, South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore was rated ahead of him in some circles after rushing for 1,197 yards and scoring 17 touchdowns as a freshman.
There's no comparison after Saturday. Lattimore suffered a season-ending knee injury on the same day Richardson had a career game.
Oregon's LaMichael James has gained more publicity and yards per game. He's a spectacular open-field runner. But Richardson doesn't need an open field or a Pac-12 defense. All he needs is the ball.
Forget those highlight videos. Richardson could make a name for himself just by consistently moving the pile of humanity at the line of scrimmage with Walker-like force.
I didn't vote for Ingram when he won the Heisman — in part, because I didn't think he was the best running back on his own team.
Richardson was better than Ingram then. He's better than everybody else now.