The last time a running back won the Heisman trophy, he played in the state of Alabama, and Auburn running back Tre Mason could be the first back since Mark Ingram of Alabama to hoist the bronze statue. Mason continues to build his case for garnering an invite to the Downtown Athletic Club next month with his sixth 100-yard rushing performance of the season in the Tigers’ crazy 45-38 win over Georgia.
His statistics are great for the resurgent, run-heavy Tigers, and yet he still has flown under the radar nationally. His 17 rushing touchdowns are the most of any FBS player and rank third in the nation. He has been the focal point in the No. 3 rushing offense in the country.
Granted, Mason has some work to do and needs some breaks for it to happen because of the bias toward quarterbacks. Signal callers have have won 11 of the last 13 awards, and it’ll be tough to overcome the seasons of Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel, A.J. McCarron, Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty. But, he has the opportunity and talent to do it.
Winston may be the front-runner, but his chances may be diminished with his reported connection to an alleged sexual assault. Manziel has already lost to Mason and Auburn, so if LSU beats Texas A&M this week, that would conceivably push him down the list.
Only three finalists were invited to the ceremony last year, but four likely will be brought this season, and the easiest — I use that term loosely — way to get there is to beat McCarron’s Alabama team in the Iron Bowl. The game will be on CBS with the entire nation watching and if Mason has 150 yards and 2-3 touchdowns, how could he not be invited if Auburn knocks off Alabama to get to the SEC Championship Game?
He will then have another huge audience in that game to pad his stats for the Heisman voters who have awarded the Heisman to an SEC player in four of the past six seasons. Another win and a big performance should do the trick for Mason to get to New York for the ceremony.
The last time Auburn had the Heisman winner on their team (Cam Newton), they won the BCS National Championship Game; could history be repeating itself?
Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.