Montee Ball: Heisman Trophy Frontrunner

By Tony Piraro

The Wisconsin Badgers running back Montee Ball is just one touchdown shy of the all-time FBS record for TD’s in a season, originally held by the great Barry Sanders (39). Ball’s 38 touchdowns have come in a variety of ways, through rushing, catching and even passing, he has eclipsed records across the board.

That is to say a ton in itself, considering the running back-rich history of Wisconsin. Ball not only leads the nation in touchdowns, but he is the No. 1 rusher in the country currently with 1,747 yards on the ground in 2011. Truly, a historical season of monumental heights for Ball and his Badger teammates.

Montee Ball solidified his Heisman ballot in my opinion on Saturday night against the Spartans. Wisconsin’s back rushed for 137 yards on 27 carries and added four total touchdowns in the game, as he lifted his team to the inaugural B1G 10 Championship. If you can find one running back that is having a better season, I dare you to find him for me. Ball’s magical year could go down as the single greatest season for a running back in FBS history when all said and done.

Trent Richardson and LaMichael James are the two closest running backs in the nation to Ball this season. Richardson has 1,500-plus yards rushing and 23 total touchdowns. James has 17 TD’s and was leading the country in rushing yards before Ball stepped onto the field Saturday evening. However impressive those individual players seasons are, they just don’t equate to Ball’s magnificent 2011 run. Montee has rushed for 15 more total touchdowns than the “experts” No. 1 choice for the Heisman, in Richardson.

Everything is being thrown out the window this season in college football. Everybody has losses, with the exception of LSU. Two-loss teams now have legitimate Heisman candidates, like it has never been seen before in college. Baylor, Wisconsin and Oregon all have two losses and a top-5 Heisman contender. In a year where anything goes, I like my chances with the Badgers do-it-all back. Vote for Montee in 2011.

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