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NCAA Football

Five Reasons Tre Mason Doesn’t Deserve the 2013 Heisman Trophy

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Five Reasons Tre Mason Does Not Deserve 2013 Heisman Trophy

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Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports

There’s no denying that the Auburn Tigers have had a great 2013 season, capped off by a trip to the BCS National Championship game. That run has been sparked by the emergence of running back Tre Mason and the Auburn running game in the read-option, up-tempo attack of first year head coach Gus Malzahn. But has his breakout season earned Mason the 2013 Heisman Trophy? Not quite.

You can’t question that Mason has had a great junior season. The Tigers’ running back has gained 1,621 yards on the ground, averaging 5.73 yards per carry and 124.69 yards per game while finding the endzone 22 times. His excellent season peaked in the SEC title game when he set a conference championship record with his 46 carries for 304 yards with four rushing touchdowns. The momentum from that performance is likely what punched his ticket to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

But has he done enough to be considered college football’s best player and take home the Heisman? Looking at the landscape of college football, there are many other dynamic players that have made major impacts this season, more than just the ones who were invited to the Heisman ceremony. Mason would have to have had a truly special season to come out ahead of all them at the Heisman presentation on December 14.

And while his season was very good, it just wasn’t that good. There are too many factors working against Mason in the 2013 Heisman race to make a case for why he deserves to win. Here are five reasons Tre Mason doesn’t deserve to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy.

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5. Running Back Position Devalued

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Kevin Liles - USA TODAY Sports

Running backs just don’t get the same respect that they used to. That makes making a case for a running back being the best player in the nation even harder. While Mason is a talented runner, the ability to carry a rushing attack just isn’t as impressive as it used to be. Heisman voters are not often moved by the statistics of a running back and Mason’s candidacy will ultimately suffer for it.

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4. Playmaking Quarterbacks in Contention

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Kevin Liles - USA TODAY Sports

Further hurting Mason’s case will be the playmaking quarterbacks also in contention for the Heisman this season. Jordan Lynch set the quarterback-rushing record this season while Johnny Manziel dazzled defenders with his scrambling ability for a second straight season. Even Jameis Winston tucked the ball and ran from time to time. Not only could these quarterbacks run the football like Mason, they also threw it for huge gains, making them a more dynamic choice for Heisman voters.

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3. Run-Heavy Option Offense

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Daniel Shirey - USA TODAY Sports

While Auburn has been impressive with their No. 1 ranked rushing offense in the nation, they lack any real balance offensively in Malzahn’s run-heavy option offense. The Tigers ranked No. 107 in passing this season with their aerial attack being a complete afterthought this season. Rushing accounted for 66 percent of the Auburn offense this season so Mason was bound to accumulate stats in an offense that runs that ball that much.

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2. Down SEC Defenses in 2013

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Brett Davis - USA TODAY Sports

While the SEC enjoys a vaunted reputation as the defensive center of the college football universe, 2013 was a down year for defense in the conference, particularly against the run. The SEC had just three teams ranked in the top 40 in rush defense this season and Auburn played only one of them (No. 11 Alabama Crimson Tide). Two of their conference opponents were even ranked outside the top-100 against the run (No. 102 Tennessee Volunteers, No. 109 Texas A&M Aggies). Bad run defenses produce big windows for runners to get through and Mason took advantage this season.

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1. Better Running Backs in 2013

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John David Mercer - USA TODAY Sports

But if the Heisman Trophy is going to go to a running back, it should at least go to the best running back in the nation. While Mason is certainly in that conversation, there are too many better options on the table to give him the nod. For all of Mason’s highlight reel runs this season, he is just No. 10 in the nation in yards per game this season. While he’s padded his stats with a kickoff return for a touchdown and a meager 121 yards receiving, it isn’t enough to elevate him to the top of top of the running back class.

Meanwhile, fellow Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams has been a dominant workhorse this season, rushing for 2,102 yards (against five teams ranked in the top 40 against the run) and 17 touchdowns. He averaged nearly 20 more yards per game than the next best running back and easily cleared the elusive 2,000-yard barrier. Williams will be the best running back at the Heisman presentation and should win if the award goes to a running back this season over Mason.