Geno Smith has the 2012 Heisman Trophy all wrapped up -- if the rest of the team cooperates.
If you read my Heisman preview for this season you may remember the argument that the award is much more than a performance-based honor. Beyond the on-field exceptionalism it takes geography, class, team, and story. No one else within driving distance of Smith and the Mountaineers looks to have a chance at stealing votes from West Virginia's quarterback. Likewise, extend the concept of geography to that of the Big-12 conference and it doesn't look as if he has much competition there either. The only other choice would be Collin Klein and there's little hope that voters would pass on Smith's prolific arm over Klein's gritty running skills.
Next up, the fact that Smith is a senior weighs less heavily in the grand scheme of the Heisman -- but it still matters. There's something about picking a "mature" player that makes voters feel good when they get the chance. If it comes down to an identical choice for the award in other categories, Smith will get the nod.
Most obviously, and of prerequisite importance, is that Smith has the numbers to garner the award. He's thrown for twenty-four touchdowns to zero interceptions, has completed 81.4% of his passes, and the biggest question about his throwing numbers may be whether or not his quarterback rating (202.4) finishes higher than his weight (214 lbs).
While all of those less objective factors explicitly push Geno Smith towards the top of the Heisman ballot it's the story aspect -- and subsequent success of the team -- that blows him through the roof faster than the top of a thermometer on the sunny side of Mercury.
Geno Smith and the narrative he is creating are out of this world but also familiar. He's leading the West Virginia Mountaineers into the spotlight the way that Robert Griffin III did for the Baylor Bears in 2011. We all know how that turned out for RG3. And like Griffin III, Smith has room for error in the win-loss column -- his numbers set him apart that significantly. What he's doing in leading West Virginia towards a potential national championship appearance set him apart from any other at his school in modern memory.
If a one-loss SEC team, an undefeated Oregon squad and undefeated West Virginia remain at the end of the regular season, voters and the BCS machine will have an interesting selection to make.
I have a feeling, however, that the national championship will shape up like the big-time ceremony that will precedes it at the Downtown Athletic Club in early December. If an undefeated West Virginia squad is still standing, the nation and voters won't pass up on Geno Smith and the Mountaineers.
Sound Off: Will Geno Smith win the Heisman? Who are your top-five contenders?
Justin Mikels is a staff writer for Operation Sports. Follow him on Twitter: @long_snapper