Tide, Richardson Have Played Best

Alabama went a lot of years without a Heisman Trophy winner before Mark Ingram brought to Tuscaloosa the nation's biggest college individual award in 2009. Now the Crimson Tide is back with another candidate, and he's gaining momentum towards the end of the season.

Alabama junior tailback Trent Richardson this year compares very well to Mark Ingram in 2009. Through 10 games, Richardson has 204 carries for 1,205 yards and 18 touchdowns. Through 10 games in 2009, Ingram had 194 rushes for 1,297 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Richardson, 5-11, 224, from Pensacola, Fla., is leading the SEC in rushing, scoring, touchdowns, and all-purpose yardage and ranks seventh in the nation in rushing.

In addition to his rushing statistics, Richardson ranks second for the Tide in receiving with 25 catches for 318 yards and one touchdown. He also has 66 yards in kickoff returns for 1,589 all-purpose yards. He has 19 total touchdowns for 114 points.

Moreover, Richardson has done his work against tough competition.

He can't play against the nation's best defense. That's the one he practices against. The Crimson Tide leads the nation in all defensive categories – scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense, and total defense.

One reason many consider Richardson to be the top candidate for the Heisman Award is because of the competition he has faced compared to that of candidates like Andrew Luck, quarterback at Stanford, and Brandon Weedon, quarterback at Oklahoma State.

Against the nation's statistical leaders in total defense, Alabama and Richardson have faced five of the top 25 defensive teams. That includes LSU, which is number two behind Bama. Luck has not faced any of the top 25 and Weedon has played against one, 14th ranked Texas.

Adding in the next 25 defensive teams, Richardson has then gone against two more, Weedon still has only Texas on his resume, and Luck and Stanford squeeze in by having played No. 49 USC.

In playing against the best teams in scoring defense, the story is much the same. Richardson and Alabama have played against four of the top 25, again including number two (to Bama) LSU. None of the top 25 teams are to be found on the schedules of Stanford or Oklahoma State.

Extend the comparison to the top 50/ scoring defensive teams in the nation and Richardson has faced eight of them in 10 games. Oklahoma State has faced one, No. 28 Texas, and Stanford has faced one, No. 33 Oregon (and Stanford lost to the Ducks).

Richardson was named one of 15 semifinalists for the 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year. A list of five finalists will be announced on Wednesday, Nov. 30. The 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, who is voted on by the Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be presented live on Thursday, Dec. 8, during the 6 p.m., edition of ESPN SportsCenter.

Richardson is also in contention for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's best running back.

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