LITTLE ROCK — The same lack of a last chance to impress that eliminated Baylor and TCU from consideration for the College Football Playoff could bite the new favorite for the Heisman Trophy.

LITTLE ROCK — The same lack of a last chance to impress that eliminated Baylor and TCU from consideration for the College Football Playoff could bite the new favorite for the Heisman Trophy.

The 10-team Big 12 has no championship game and TCU has an open date on Dec. 5 so quarterback Trevone Boykin will be idle while other Heisman candidates will be TV from Atlanta, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and Santa Clara, Calif., with a final opportunity to sway undecided voters.

As a Heisman voter, my ballot is never cast until after the championship games in the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, and Pac-12. Even last year, when Oregon quarterback Marcus Maritoa was a clear choice, I waited until he completed 25-of-38 in a rout of Arizona State in the league championship game.

On the final Saturday of the 2013 regular season, some voters wavered on Florida State’s Jameis Winston after he completed half of his 24 passes and threw four interceptions vs. Florida. In the ACC title game, Winston wrapped up the Heisman by completing 21-of-30 for 309 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-35 victory over Georgia Tech.

Early on, Boykin was the second choice in the Heisman odds provided by, but he has moved slightly ahead of the previous favorite, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. They are the only players at less than 10-1 and Eliliott is going up against the impossible "what have you done for me lately" standard he established at the end of last season:

—220 yards vs. Wisconsin, Big Ten championship.

—230 yards vs. Alabama, Sugar Bowl.

—246 yards vs. Oregon, national championship.

Also, whether Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett, or Cardale Jones is taking the snaps, the Ohio State quarterback could siphon off some of the support for Elliott. In fact, Miller, Auburn quarterback Jeremy Johnson, and Georgia running back Nick Chubb are 10-1 to win the statue.

Elliott and his Buckeyes are almost certain to make the Big Ten championship game again while Auburn and Georgia are among the teams most likely to play in the SEC championship game. Arkansas, which saw plenty of Johnson and Chubb last year, will get a second look at three others in the second tier of Heisman favorites — Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott, LSU running back Leonard Fournette, and Alabama running back Derrick Henry during the season.

On the first Saturday of last December, Baylor and TCU were completing the regular season while Ohio State, Alabama, and Oregon were winning conference championship games by lopsided margins and Florida State was completing another perfect season.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in April that Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long, chairman of the CFP Selection Committee, told him 13 data points were better than 12.

"What we heard is if we don’t go to a championship game, we’re at a disadvantage," Bowlsby told CBSSports.

It’s the same with this Heisman voter — the higher the stakes, the better the opportunity to impress.

The NCAA can decide to allow a 10-team league to have a championship game in 2016, but that won’t help Boykin, a senior who was fourth in the voting last year after running for 707 yards and throwing 33 TD passes vs. 10 interceptions in a one-loss season.

In addition to his stats, Boykin has an appealing back story — a three-star high school quarterback who threw as many interceptions as he did touchdown passes in 2013 — but he might need monster regular-season numbers to outpoll others who join the Heisman conversation by leading their teams to league championship games.

That category includes USC’s Cody Kessler and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson.

Kessler was 39-5 on TD passes vs. interceptions last year in the up-tempo offense of first-year coach Steve Sarkisian. Watson missed three games with a broken finger and underwent knee surgery after the season, but he is a dual threat, and the Tigers have closed the gap on Florida State.

Harry King is sports columnist for GateHouse Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. Email: