So, there you have it. One year where nothing changed, one where the runner-ups changed and one where the runner-up took the trophy for himself. What has all this taught us? For me, it does validate my stance that the cupcake games should be out of the equation when it comes to determining individual accomplishments.
This approach helps weed through the closest vote in Heisman history to prove who truly was the more dominant player. Meanwhile, the truly dominant, like Cam Newton and RG3, still get to keep their trophies. I look forward to seeing the three years before that to see if there are any new surprises. (Although the legwork is daunting!)
Four of the players above are just getting ready to start their NFL careers. The future is bright for all of them, and none have shown any indication that they'll fail in their new careers.
For Andrew Luck, the two-time runner-up has the greatest challenge ahead of him compared the rest of the list: The pressure of being the first-overall pick, inheriting the worst team in the league and confronting the ghost of No. 18. By all accounts, Andrew seems to be a man of unique character. Time will write the tale of Andrew Luck, be it comedy, tragedy or triumph.
For Mark Ingram, he played sparingly for one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. While he shared carries with other backs and didn't record a stat in six games, he did score five touchdowns on 122 carries and gained 474 yards.
It would appear that in his second year in the league, he'll be more of the feature back people know he can be. Injuries and surgeries ended his rookie year and threaten the offseason of the next one. Mark needs to get healthy and stay healthy fast because in today's NFL, you don't get many chances.
For Toby Gerhart, playing behind one of the NFL's best running backs, Adrian Peterson, doesn't allow for too many carries. In his rookie year, he rushed 81 times for 322 yards and one touchdown. He also caught 21 passes. In his second year, he had 109 carries for 531 yards and one touchdown, but added 23 more receptions for three scores.
When AP went down, Gerhart had a 109-yard game against the Redskins (including a nice 64-yarder), followed by a two touchdown reception game the next. Toby hurt his MCL in the season finale but seems to be fully healed going into the offseason.
For Cam Newton, he is poised to become the brightest star in all the NFL, individually at least, as his team races to catch up with him and the rest of the league. He set numerous rookie and NFL records and firsts. It seems like nothing can slow him down.
For Colt McCoy, 2012 is his make-or-break year. Thrust into the starting lineup in Week 6 of his rookie season, Colt struggled but by all accounts did a good job. He played in eight games and became the starting quarterback for 2011.
He played the first 13 games, but the Browns were 4-9. Not all the blame falls on McCoy's shoulders. Fans will no doubt remember an obviously concussed McCoy being allowed back into a game after taking a vicious hit from James Harrison (who was suspended one game for the action).
Nonetheless, the Browns selected Oklahoma State's Brandon Weedon in the first round of the 2012, providing a serious competitor for Colt's starting job. If Colt can't hold Weedon off, Colt's career seems very murky indeed.
The Heisman list of NFL players is full of Hall of Famers, All-Pros, Almost-Weres and Never-Wases. Who's going to make it and who's not? It's always difficult to predict. The most we can do is try to look at it from as many angles as we can and make an educated guess.
Who's going to be your guess for 2012?