In the moments after Baylor routed Texas, 48-24, last Saturday, Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III couldn't help himself. "I think Baylor won its first Heisman tonight," he exulted.
Griffin will find out Saturday if he's as good a prognosticator as he is a football player; one of the five finalists in what is projected as one of the closest races ever will hear his name called as the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner.
Most expect the vote to come down to a race between Griffin, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu are the other finalists.
If Griffin's postgame comment seemed a bit intemperate, he explained it in a Friday afternoon news conference as something said in the exhilaration of the moment after Baylor crushed Texas in a game many said might sway all the last-minute voters for college football's most prestigious award.
"You don't feel you're owed anything," Griffin said. "I did say I might be wrong. That comment was directed more towards Baylor Nation because everyone was doubting, and they said we needed to beat a big-time team, which Texas was, and do it against a big-time defense, which they have.
"That's why I said that, and I could be wrong. If I am, I'll stand up and I'll clap for the guy that wins it. All these guys are deserving."
If he doesn't win, Griffin said his pick would be Richardson: "Nothing against Luck, but I'd roll with Trent Richardson. He's a man."
Two years ago, the Heisman was won by another Alabama back, Mark Ingram, who told Richardson he would have a shot at the famed trophy one day. "He said right after he won it that he hoped I get it," Richardson recalled.
Of the five finalists, Richardson and Mathieu will be on opposite sides in the BCS championship game, but Richardson said that shouldn't determine the winner. "I feel like the best player should win," Richardson. "We all have good attitudes no matter who wins."
The preseason favorite was Luck, who was absent from the news conference because he was in Baltimore to receive another award. Luck was runner-up to Cam Newton a year ago, and despite a one-loss season, he might find himself in that same position because Griffin had so many spectacular performances down the stretch.
"A lot of people say it's about momentum," Griffin said. "After the Oklahoma game, all the players on the team realized if we won out and we did it in style, that we'd be here.
"I said we'd be here because I'm here for those guys. The Texas game was the most pressure we had, and we won it in convincing fashion."
Can Baylor produce a Heisman winner? We'll soon find out.