How past Heisman votes would have changed after bowls

How past Heisman votes would have changed after bowls

Published Dec. 13, 2013 7:59 a.m. ET

Detractors slam the Heisman Trophy voting for politics and unwritten
rules that limit who can win. Altering mindsets can be difficult, but
what's far easier to change is simply getting with the

Bowl games aren't taken into account in the
balloting process, with votes due the Monday after the conference
championship games. It's an archaic stance when you consider the NCAA
began including stats from the postseason in a player's yearly total
back in 2002.

There are no plans or even rumblings to
bump the ceremony from its stage on the second Saturday of December,
but if history is any indication, it's a notion that would truly impact
the proceedings.

Looking back over the last 20
years, seven races in particular would have had very different outcomes
if voting was completed until after the bowl

Would Have Won:


1. Eddie George, RB Ohio State:
1,460 points
2. Tommie Frazier, QB Nebraska: 1,196
3. Danny Wuerffel, QB Florida: 987

Eddie George edged Tommie Frazier by 264
points to win, largely behind his Heisman moment of 314 yards against
Illinois. But it would have been hard to argue with the player that
finished behind George becoming the winner had he the benefit of his own
Heisman moment.

While George ran for 101 yards and a
touchdown on 25 carries in the Citrus Bowl, he also fumbled as Ohio
State fell 20-14. Meanwhile, Frazier ran for 199 yards and had TD runs
of 35 and 75 yards -- the ladder would have been the cornerstone of his
campaign as he shed seven tacklers -- also threw for 105 yards and a
score as Nebraska beat No. 2 Florida 62-24 to win the national

Had bowl stats counted, George would have been
the sixth player in history to go over 2,000 yards rushing, a figure
that certainly have resonated with voters. But it's hard to argue that
Frazier ended with a performance that was more

Would Have Won:


1. Chris Weinke, QB Florida State:
1,628 points
2. Josh Heupel, QB Oklahoma: 1,552
3. Drew Brees, QB Purdue: 619

Weinke's regular-season numbers were startling
as he threw for 4,167 yards and 33 TDs, though would they have been
enough after he was upset by Heupel and the Sooners in the BCS title

It's not that Heupel was that better than
Weinke head-to-head, the Sooner was 25 of 39 for 214 yards and a pick in
a 13-2 win, while Weinke threw two interceptions -- including one in
the end zone with 16 seconds remaining -- to go with 274 yards (25 of
51) and a fumble. But it was Weinke's first game that season without a
TD pass and he had his lowest completion percentage at 49.0.

Weinke's stats may have still won out, but a shaky
performance as he and his team fell flat in the biggest game of the year
would likely have tipped things in an already tight race in favor of
Heupel, who led the Sooners to a 13-0

Would Have Won:


1. Eric Crouch, QB Nebraska: 770
2. Rex Grossman, QB Florida: 708 points
3. Ken
Dorsey, QB Miami: 638 points

In the sixth-closes race
in history, Crouch edged Grossman by 62 points, while Dorsey was just
132 behind in third. A post-bowls voting could have created a similarly
tough decision for pollsters, though it likely wouldn't have ended with
Crouch on top.

The Cornhusker ran for 114 yards on 25
carries and was 5-for-15 for 62 yards and a pick-six in the BCS title
game, where Crouch was upstaged by Dorsey, who threw for 362 yards and
three scores in Miami's 37-14 win.

Grossman pass for 248 yards and four TDs in 56-23 rout of Maryland in
the Orange Bowl, a game he didn't enter until the 6:03 mark in the
second quarter for missing curfew, (which makes you wonder if Steve
Spurrier would have done so if a Heisman was on the

A Grossman-Dorsey debate would have been an
intriguing one after their dominant bowl performances, but that Dorsey's
came in delivering a title, he gets the make-believe

Would Have Won:


1. Jason White, QB Oklahoma:
2. Larry Fitzgerald, WR Pitt: 1,353
3. Eli
Manning, QB Ole Miss: 710

Manning may seem like a
stretch considering it was Fitzgerald that was 128 points behind White,
while the Ole Miss QB managed just 95 of the 1,245 first-place votes.
But after the bowls, Manning may have won by a process of

White struggled in a 21-14 loss to LSU
in the Sugar Bowl, throwing for 102 yards (13 of 37) with two picks, one
of which was returned for a score. Then there was Fitzgerald, who had
five receptions for 77 yards as Pitt dropped the Continental Tire Bowl
23-16 to Virginia.

All Manning did was pass for 259
yards (22 of 31) with two TDs and he ran for scores to beat Oklahoma
State 31-28 in the Cotton Bowl. It was the Rebels' first bowl win since
the 1970 Sugar Bowl, a game in which Eli's dad, Archie, starred. Don'
think that synergy wouldn't have driven a narrative all its

Would Have Won:


1. Reggie Bush, RB USC:
2. Vince Young, QB Texas: 1,608
3. Matt Leinart,
QB USC: 797

This obviously could have saved a lot of
future headaches, as Bush returned his trophy, which now sits
in a New York storage

Bush, who claimed 91.7
percent of the total points and 784 of the 892 first-place votes, was at
his all-purpose best in the BCS title game against Young and the
Longhorns. He totaled 279 yards, 82 rushing and a TD, 95 receiving and
102 on kick returns, but while he was great, Young was simply

The Texas QB had 267 yards passing and
200 yards rushing with three TDs, highlighted by the game-winner with 19
seconds left, producing arguably the greatest title game performance of
the BCS era.

It would have been stunning had Young
not won after that display.

Darren McFadden was a two-time runner-up,
though he may have claimed a Heisman after 2006 winner Troy Smith's BCS
title-game woes. (Photo courtesy of University of

Would Have Won:


1. Troy Smith, QB Ohio State:
2. Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas: 878
3. Brady
Quinn, QB Notre Dame: 782

The 60 percent margin of
victory is the largest in history, but its doubtful Smith would have
even won after the Buckeyes were dominated by Florida in the BCS title

He threw for a mere 35 yards (4 of 14) and a
pick and had minus-29 rushing yards as Ohio State was thumped 41-14 by

Remember, the Buckeyes were a seven-point
favorite in that game and were subsequently held to a paltry 82 yards of
offense. The thought of still giving Smith the Heisman after that would
have been a difficult one.

But if not Smith, who
would have won? Here's where things get murky amid that year's

McFadden had 89 rushing yards on 19
carries in a 17-14 loss to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, and Quinn
didn't fare much better. He threw for 228 yards, two picks and two INTs
as the Fighting Irish fell to LSU 41-14 in the Sugar

Smith's overall stats (2,542 yards and 30 TDs)
weren't otherworldly, making it most likely McFadden, who produced the
fifth-highest rushing season in SEC history (1,647), would have been the

Would Have Won:


1. Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma:
2. Colt McCoy, QB Texas: 1,604
3. Tim Tebow, QB
Florida: 1,575

Despite receiving more first-place
votes than anyone -- he drew 309 to Bradford's 300 and McCoy's 266 --
Tebow finished in third. He also had the most third-places (234),
extremes that spoke to two points: 1. Enough voters threw their support
behind Tebow that it was clear that if they were ready to anoint anyone
as the second two-time winner, it was him; and 2. There will still just
enough of a stigma surrounding his repeat bid that some were waiting for
him to one-up himself.

He would have surely have
appeased his doubters in the BCS title game where he got the best of
Bradford, accounting for 340 of offense (231 passing and 109 rushing)
and threw for two scores in beating the Sooners

That win made Tebow the fifth player since
1950 with a Heisman and two national titles, joining Bush, Matt Leinart,
Gino Torretta and Johnny Rodgers. Only Leinart from that group had a
chance at trophy No. 2, and in all likelihood, Tebow would have gotten
it, with a chance at an unprecedented third as a senior.