Heisman Trophy Ryan Finley: K-State's Klein does the most for his team

2012-12-08T00:00:00Z 2012-12-08T07:01:27Z Heisman Trophy Ryan Finley: K-State's Klein does the most for his teamRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 08, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The Heisman Trophy is all hype. To be more specific, it's all about hype.

Lately, you need a clever (or at least catchy) nickname, a highlight reel filled with "SportsCenter" top plays and your own website to compete for college football's top award.

Collin Klein's Heisman hype machine consists of a box full of Band-Aids.

Kansas State's media relations department sent each Heisman Trophy voter one of the things last month, the message being that no player sacrifices more every game for his teammates.

Silly, but it stuck.

Klein is special, in part because he's so different. No player in the country has done more to carry his team this season, and none is more qualified to win today.

Consider:

• Klein touched the ball an astounding 466 times this season, putting up 3,380 total yards and accounting for 37 total touchdowns. A converted wide receiver, he passed for 2,490 yards and 15 scores and rushed for 890 yards and 22 scores.

• Klein is the first-ever Bowl Championship Series conference player to post more than 20 rushing touchdowns and more than 10 passing touchdowns in multiple seasons. Only three others have had more than 20 and 10 in one season - and Eric Crouch (2000), Tim Tebow (2007) and Cam Newton (2010) all won Heismans for their efforts.

• This year alone, Klein ran for 71 yards and three touchdowns against Miami (Fla.) and 103 yards and two scores against Texas. When defenses forced Klein to throw, the 6-foot-5-inch, 226-pound senior shredded them: He threw for 323 yards against West Virginia and 286 against Baylor.

• Klein has accounted for 70 percent of K-State's total offense since 2011.

And if that doesn't mean anything to you, this might: Klein has Kansas State in a BCS bowl game.

Consider that for a second. If not for an uncharacteristic three-interception performance against Baylor last month, Klein and K-State (11-1) would be playing for a national championship. As is, they'll be playing Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.

Any discussion of success must first start with an argument about semantics.

The Heisman Trophy is given annually to the nation's most outstanding player, a decades-old catch-all term term that's about as clear as a haboob at night. The true definition varies, almost by the voter.

Let's face it: The Heisman is a glorified MVP award given to an offensive player, typically the best player on the best - or one of the best - teams in the country.

This season, there is no shortage of candidates.

Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel - "Johnny Football" - is singularly special, but the Aggies are a two-loss team, and coach Kevin Sumlin's system has historically led to gaudy numbers. Marqise Lee was stellar, but his USC team was mediocre.

Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey might well be the nation's best running back, but the Wildcats finished eighth in their 12-team league.

UCLA's Johnathan Franklin, Stanford's Stepfan Taylor and Oregon's Kenjon Barner are stars, for sure, but have flaws.

Collin Klein, the nation's best player, sticks with you.

Arizona's Carey expected to receive Heisman Trophy votes

Ka'Deem Carey will finish tied for 16th in Heisman Trophy voting today, according to a website that has accurately predicted the last 10 winners.

StiffArmTrophy.com has Carey garnering six third-place votes, giving him 0.2 percent of the totals. The projections, if true, would make Carey the first-ever Arizona Wildcats player to earn a Heisman vote.

That would mean "a lot," Carey said this week.

"It would mean that my fans are out there rooting for me," he said. "It's an honor. Just getting recognized, it's great."

Just a sophomore, Carey leads the nation with 146.42 rushing yards per game and is second in total rushing with 1,757 yards. The Sporting News and Walter Camp both named Carey a first-team All-American this week, making him Arizona's first since Antoine Cason in 2007.

Ryan Finley

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