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We’re at about the halfway point of the regular season, and once again the SEC is on the outside looking in at the Heisman Trophy race.

In the nine-year stretch from 2007-15, the conference was awarded five Heismans and established itself as the best in America by leaps and bounds. The four other Power-5 leagues won four combined. None claimed more than two.

But in 2016, Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen was the only player from the SEC to get a single first-place vote — he was a distant seventh in the final balloting — and didn’t get anywhere near New York for the ceremony. Two ACC quarterbacks, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, finished first and second, respectively.

Among the names currently being mentioned for this most prestigious individual honor, none represent this conference.

The two leading contenders appear to be a pair of running backs, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Stanford’s Bryce Love. The eye test suggests that Barkley is the premier player in the country, while Love has been a statistical monster.

Beyond Barkley and Love, a couple of QBs from the Sooner State have put together stellar campaigns so far. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield — the nation’s No. 1-rated passer — was fourth in 2015 and then third this past season, so he’s familiar with this process. Nobody throws for more yards per game than Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph.

Jackson boasts impressive numbers again but has lost three of his last five, so the chances of him repeating are razor thin.

According to the latest Heisman Watch at ESPN.com, which polls a dozen experts from the Worldwide Leader on a weekly basis, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is seventh on the strength of one third-place vote and one fourth.

A total of 12 players received at least one fifth-place vote, including four from the Big 12, three from the Big Ten and two from the ACC. The SEC and Pac-12 have one each. You know what conference also has one? The Mountain West. San Diego State tailback Rashad Penny — he had just 53 yards in a loss to Boise State this past Saturday — made the list.

If you look up and down the conference from a statistical perspective, it's difficult to make an argument for anyone.

Fitzpatrick may be a sensational player and a soon-to-be Top 10 pick in the NFL Draft, but he’s not a legit Heisman candidate.

Only one defender has ever won: Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997, when he upset Tennessee signal caller Peyton Manning. But Woodson also played some offense and was a prolific return man, so his highlight reel was long and distinguished.

That’s simply not the case for Fitzpatrick. Even though he came into the season with 8 career interceptions — half of them resulted in touchdowns, by the way — he’s only picked off one pass in seven games. He did return a kickoff 39 yards, but that was out of the ordinary. There’s no need for coach Nick Saban to experiment with him on offense, either.

If you look up and down the conference from a statistical perspective, it’s difficult to make an argument for anyone.

Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia’s Nick Chubb (above) is the league’s leading rusher with 688 yards, although he’s just 16th nationally. While Chubb averages a respectable 98.3 yards per game on the ground, 26 ball carriers across the land are in triple digits.

A.J. Brown of Ole Miss is the only receiver in the SEC on pace to crack the 1,000-yard barrier, and that’s despite missing a game due to injury. Nevertheless, the last wideout to win the Heisman was Desmond Howard of Michigan — like Woodson, he was also an ace in the return game — in 1991. The Rebels are 3-3 and going nowhere, as well.

Unfortunately, he plays the game's most important position in a system that makes it hard to destroy the box score. He's thrown for 1,025 yards and 8 touchdowns to go along with 558 yards and 8 TDs rushing. Not one of those figures is jaw-dropping.

Alabama’s Calvin Ridley and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk are sensational collegians and future first-rounders, but their stats are so-so.

Unlike last year, when the conference had the likes of Allen, Myles Garrett of Texas A&M and Derek Barnett of Tennessee along the defensive line, a standout pass rusher is nowhere to be found. LSU’s Arden Key hasn’t been healthy or effective.

By the time the draft arrives in April, the league will certainly take center stage again and fill the NFL with talent at every spot on the field. However, the SEC is going on two years now — it’s debatable how deserving Alabama ball carrier Derrick Henry was in 2015, too — being unable to produce one of college football’s brightest stars.

If the conference has a last gasp in the Heisman race, it’s Alabama’s Jalen Hurts. Somehow, he’s still underrated.

Unfortunately, he plays the game’s most important position in a system that makes it hard to destroy the box score. He’s thrown for 1,025 yards and 8 touchdowns to go along with 558 yards and 8 TDs rushing. Not one of those figures is jaw-dropping.

Just once in seven games has he gone north of 200 yards through the air, and that was against lowly Colorado State. While he’s posted 100-plus three times as a rusher — including a career-high 154 vs. Fresno State — only one of those performances came in league play. ‘Bama is so loaded that he doesn’t have to do much to direct easy victories.

That being said, Hurts is still borderline indefensible. Maybe if the final scores weren’t so lopsided, we’d see it more.

If you pay attention to the mission statement, the definition of the award is a bit nebulous: “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”

I’ve been a voter on and off since 2009, and I still have a tough go of it understanding exactly what that means. Hurts seems to fit the bill. He’s an outstanding college football player. He plays for Saban, who is all about the pursuit of excellence. Integrity? I have no reason to believe that he’s not a tremendous young man.

Will it be enough to win the Heisman? Probably not. The SEC would be lucky to have a finalist in 2017, let alone another winner.