By Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
NEW YORK - Robert Griffin III pounded the table and called the meeting to order.
He liked his chair, and he might have even liked being the center of the media's attention Friday when the five Heisman Trophy candidates hit New York City's Marriott Marquis for the first press junket before tonight's Heisman Trophy ceremony.
And while some see the Heisman race as too close to call, it seems to be Griffin's show now.
According to various voter straw polls, including stiffarmtrophy.com, Heismanpundit.com and ESPN's Heisman Watch, Griffin will likely be announced as the 77th Heisman recipient tonight well ahead of Stanford's Andrew Luck, Alabama's Trent Richardson,
Wisconsin's Montee Ball and LSU's Tyrann Mathieu.
But Griffin hasn't looked at any of that. He simply has not had the time - although he said, "Facebook goes crazy with that kind of stuff, but I try to tune that out."
"Those sites wouldn't say I was the winner if they didn't think I was going to win," Griffin added. "Their reputation is on the line. Some have picked nine of the last nine or 10 of the last 11. They just aren't going to say he is going to win because he is popular."
But Griffin is popular these days.
He was in Orlando on Thursday to accept the Davey O'Brien Award during ESPN's College Football Awards Show. And after the news conference, all the candidates - minus Luck, who was in Baltimore for the Johnny Unitas Award banquet - attended the Wendy's High School Heisman Awards Dinner and then went on a bus tour of New York City.
Sleep? There really hasn't been time for that.
"I actually wish the meeting was adjourned I could go lay down," Griffin joked after he pretended to slam the gavel and call the news conference to order. "I am operating on four hours and 40 minutes of sleep, but it's cool. I wouldn't trade sleep for this experience. It is amazing."
The whirlwind won't end anytime soon for Griffin.
Tonight, he will likely have to accept the Heisman.
From the day Luck announced he was returning to Stanford for another year, right through the first 12 weeks of this season, the national consensus was the 2011 Heisman Trophy was his to lose.
But there's a chance he won't. Instead, Griffin may steal it away.
Griffin's 192.3 efficiency rating will break the NCAA record if he can maintain it through the Alamo Bowl against Washington. His 72.4 completion percentage will be the highest of any winner and the statistics everyone knows are just as impressive: 3,998 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and six interceptions and another 644 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.
"A lot of people say it is about momentum with the Heisman and at the beginning of the year we had it," Griffin said. "We were sitting at 3-1 and everyone was talking about us being in the Heisman race. But, then we were sitting there at 4-3 and no one was talking about anything.
"For us to finish the way we did ... it kind of pushed us to the forefront and after the Oklahoma game the players on the team figured if we won out and did it in the style and fashion we knew we could, then we would be here."
Griffin punctuated his candidacy by contributing four touchdowns during a 48-24 nationally televised rout of the Texas Longhorns, saying afterward that, "Baylor just won its first Heisman."
"The last game could have helped us out because it was an opportunity to do it big or bust and we did it big - extremely big," Griffin said. "And that is the beauty of college football. It is all about excitement and Baylor is creating a lot of excitement."
That excitement quickly carried over to Griffin's Heisman push, as he surged ahead of Luck and Richardson in the straw polls.
Now, it seems the only thing left up to speculation is what socks Griffin, who always has a special pair on hand for big moments, will wear to the ceremony.
"Do I have any special socks? C'mon, man. Yes, I do," Griffin said. "I can't tell you (what they are) yet. Maybe someone will ask (tonight) and I can pull them up."