Heisman Race 2012: Braxton Miller Should Be Finalist Despite Buckeye Bowl Ban

Chris Hummer@chris_hummerAnalyst INovember 17, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 27: Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to pass against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the third quarter at Beaver Stadium on October 27, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. The Ohio State Buckeyes won, 35-23. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

At 11-0, the Ohio State Buckeyes would normally be heading toward the national title game and Braxton Miller would be on his way to a Heisman Trophy, but not this season.

Ohio State's bowl ban will cost the team an opportunity to play in the Big Ten championship game and compete for a national title. But even with the sanctions, Braxton Miller can still win a Heisman.

And he should be a finalist, even if his team can’t be.

Miller has been Ohio State's most electrifying force, and he is the best reason Ohio State sits at 11-0 in Urban Meyer's first season in Columbus.

Miller has already passed for 1,753 yards, 14 touchdowns and only six interceptions. But his most impressive attribute has been his feet. Miller has run Meyer's spread attack to perfection, slicing apart defenses with his shifty run style and gracefully long strides. He's rushed for 1,166 yards and 13 touchdowns thus far, averaging 6.3 yards a carry.

Often times he's Ohio State's only form of offense, and Miller makes plays that no other quarterback in America can make thanks to his athleticism.

But many people have dismissed Miller's Heisman candidacy due to Ohio State's bowl ban, but this shouldn't happen. Players on teams with sanctions have factored into the Heisman races before, and Andre Ware actually won the trophy in 1989 when Houston was on probation.

That season Ware beat out a relatively lackluster field of candidates. Unfortunately for Miller, this isn't the case in 2012.

Miller will go up against the quarterback of the No. 1 team in America, Collin Klein, for the Heisman Trophy. And Klein has already passed for 2,000 yards, thrown fewer interceptions than Miller and rushed for more touchdowns.

So, even if Miller makes it to New York, he won't likely take the Heisman, unless Kansas State stumbles in one of its final two games.

However, he certainly deserves a shot as a finalist in New York. He's one of the five best players in America, and the numbers prove it.

Ohio State may not be eligible, but there's no reason to hold that against Miller.