It's a lock. Robert Griffin III will win the Heisman Trophy.
Starting in 2002, I have correctly projected the winner of the Heisman Trophy every single year. The toughest call came in 2009, when Alabama's Mark Ingram defeated Stanford's Toby Gerhart in the closest Heisman race of all time.
2011 looked to be another Alabama vs. Stanford matchup -- this time between Crimson Tide RB Trent Richardson and Cardinal QB Andrew Luck.
But on the final weekend of the regular season, while both of those fellows were sitting on the couch, Baylor QB Robert Griffin III passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more to defeat the Texas Longhorns 48-24.
It was the kind of "Heisman moment" that can swing the momentum in the Heisman race.
At my site, StiffArmTrophy.com, we're projecting that Griffin will win the Heisman with approximately 2000 points -- roughly 71 percent of a perfect unanimous #1 vote. (This year, 2781 points would be perfect.)
Stanford's Luck will place second with about 1400 points, roughly 50 percent of a perfect score. Alabama's Richardson will place third, followed by Wisconsin RB Montee Ball and LSU DB Tyrann Mathieu.
How do we do it? Well, consider this: The Heisman vote is nothing more than an election. A very small election. Ballots go out to 870 members of the working sports media and the 56 living former winners (except Reggie Bush) -- along with a single vote determined by a season-long fan vote.
And lots of those sportswriters and commentators (and a few of the former winners) will publicly declare how they intend to vote -- on the air, in a newspaper, on Twitter. With the help of hundreds of Stiff Arm Trophy fans, we accumulate all those declarations to project the winner.
Unlike an election-night projection, we're not working with a random sample of voters. But when you get up to 203 of the 927 ballots -- as we have this year -- that's 22 percent of the electorate, and well, it's a no-brainer.
Why do we do it? First of all, because it's fun and a challenge. As George Mallory said of climbing Everest, "because it's there." Second, because the Heisman Trophy suffers from a stunning lack of transparency. The Heisman Trust doesn't reveal even the names of who its voters are -- much less how each of them voted. So, at Stiff Arm Trophy, we're bringing a little bit of transparency to the process.
After all, the Heisman Trophy is the single most prestigious award in all of sports. Like the Nobel or the Pulitzer, it's one honor that follows its recipients in every news story for the rest of their lives.
So, congratulations to Baylor University, the Bears football team, and to their quarterback, Robert Griffin III. On Saturday night, he'll be hoisting the Trophy in New York, live on ESPN.