Heisman Trophy 2012: Power Ranking Every Winner of the BCS Era

Ian Berg@@ShugJordanPkwyCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

Heisman Trophy 2012: Power Ranking Every Winner of the BCS Era

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    The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is Johnny Manziel, as announced on ESPN Saturday night. It was an amazing year for the freshman signal-caller under the leadership of Kevin Sumlin, leading to his Heisman win. 

    Records have been set all season and they will continue to be broken for the next few seasons with Manziel leading the Texas A&M offense. He has set an amazing precedent in becoming the first freshman to win the award, but where does he rank among the BCS era Heisman winners?

    There has been a tremendous amount of talent that has won the Heisman in the past 15 years, but breaking it all down puts it in perspective. Some winners took home the bronze because they played during a down year with a weaker talent pool, while others owned a competitive field during their banner season. 

    Gauging past winners on season stats, competition level for that season and their team's record, here is the power ranking for the Heisman winners during the BCS era. 

No. 15: 2001 Eric Crouch, Nebraska, Quarterback

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    Eric Crouch was an efficient option quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but he was far from an elite Heisman winner. In his winning season, he threw three more interceptions than touchdowns. 

    Crouch won as a result of his team's success and lack of challenger that year. He finished the 2001 season 105-of-189 for 1,510 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. 

    Crouch’s biggest contribution was on the ground, where he added 203 carries for 1,115 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is one of the worst Heisman winners in history. 

No. 14: 2003 Jason White, Oklahoma, Quarterback

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    Jason White was a great comeback story for college football, marching back from multiple knee surgeries to guide the Oklahoma Sooners during the 2003 season.

    That year, White was able to go 278-of-451 for 3,846 yards. He also tossed 40 touchdowns in that season. White was the least flashy of the Heisman winners of the modern era, winning games by picking apart opposing defenses. 

    The Sooners were very good with White in the driver’s seat, but the effort that won him the Heisman places him almost dead last in the power rankings. When it comes to elite Heisman talent, White doesn’t come to mind. 

No. 13 2009: Mark Ingram Jr., Alabama, Running Back

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    Mark Ingram was the first Heisman winner for the Alabama Crimson Tide in history. The Tide have a storied program, but until the magical 2009 campaign, they had never witnessed an individual have a season like Ingram. 

    Ingram was a dual threat from the 'Bama backfield, rushing 271 times for 1,658 yards and catching 32 passes for 334 yards. He scored 20 total touchdowns, rushing for 17 and catching three. 

    His efforts were among the best of the season, but compared to the competition on this list, it was a modest one by Heisman standards. 

No. 12: 2002 Carson Palmer, USC, Quarterback

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    The Trojans were on a tear in the early 2000s and a lot of that tradition began with Carson Palmer. Palmer won what was the first of many Heisman Trophies for the Trojans. 

    He finished the 2002 season 309-of-489 for 3,942 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also added four rushing touchdowns to his stat line. 

    Palmer was an efficient quarterback, but his play was mediocre compared to other winners at the same position in the BCS era. 

No. 11: 2000 Chris Weinke, Florida State, Quarterback

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    Chris Weinke was known to be an old man in college football when he joined the Florida State program after spending six years with the Toronto Blue Jays. His senior season, he took home the Heisman Trophy, guiding the Seminoles to a national-championship-game appearance. 

    Weinke was 266-of-431 for 4,167 yards and 33 touchdowns in his Heisman-winning season. Despite his age, this guy won football games in convincing fashion for the Seminoles.

    He led a resurgence in Tallahassee to end the 1990s. 

No. 10: 2006 Troy Smith, Ohio State, Quarterback

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    Troy Smith was an electric player for the Buckeyes who was almost able to cap off his career with a national-title win, but Florida shattered those dreams the same year he won the Heisman. 

    Smith was able to walk away with the bronze in 2006. That year, he went 203-of-311 for 2,542 yards and 30 touchdowns. He only tossed six interceptions and added 204 yards on the ground. 

    There has been a changing of the guard of sorts in regard to quarterback play following Smith's days in college ball. Since Smith, a number of winners have been dual-threat quarterbacks. 

No. 9: 2004 Matt Leinart, USC, Quarterback

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    Matt Leinart led the Trojans during the the school's golden era. He was able to guide USC to a national title over Oklahoma, finishing the year 269-of-412 for 3,322 yards and 33 touchdowns. 

    Pete Carroll was building a dynasty and Leinart was carrying on the tradition for the Trojans. 

    Leinart silenced any doubts that he deserved the Heisman when he threw for 332 yards and five touchdowns in the national-title game, in which he led the Trojans to a 55-19 win.

No. 8: 2008 Sam Bradford, Oklahoma, Quarterback

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    Sam Bradford is one of two sophomores to ever win the Heisman Trophy. During his 2008 season, he beat out Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow for the award. 

    He finished that year 328-of-483 for 4,720 yards and 50 touchdowns. He only tossed eight interceptions. Bradford accounted for 337 yards per game in his sophomore year for the Sooners. 

No. 7: 1999 Ron Dayne, Wisconsin, Running Back

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    Ron Dayne was a bruiser for the Wisconsin Badgers. He would take over games with his physical style, causing defenders to duck when he approached. 

    In his senior season, he set the Division I record for career rushing yards and tied Ricky Williams for most 200-yard games with 12 in his career. 

    His senior season, he rushed 303 times for 1,834 yards and 19 touchdowns. Every yard was earned as he rumbled through defenders that year. Dayne defined Wisconsin football. 

No. 6: 2012 Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, Quarterback

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    Johnny Manziel was announced as the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner on Saturday. 

    Manziel took the game and country by storm this fall, earning the nickname “Johnny Football.” The Aggies marched to 10 wins on the back of Manziel, including a win over then-No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

    Manziel is the first freshman to throw for more than 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 in a season. He finished the regular season 273-of-400 for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also rushed 184 times for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.

    Manziel is the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. 

No. 5: 2007 Tim Tebow, Florida, Quarterback

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    Tim Tebow was one of the most electric players in college-football history. Tebow was known for his bruising running style, but his passing game was quite proficient when he was at Florida. 

    His Heisman-winning season, he was 234-of-350 for 3,286 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also rushed 210 times for 895 yards and 23 touchdowns. 

    Tebow was able to carry the Gators throughout his career, becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy in the process. 

No. 4: 2011 Robert Griffin III, Baylor, Quarterback

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    Robert Griffin III had the difficult task of following up Cam Newton on the Heisman podium. 

    The country was either tired of the explosive quarterback, or it was willing to embrace the changing face of the college game. 

    Griffin III put together the first Heisman-winning year for Baylor, going 291-of-402 for 4,293 yards and 37 touchdowns.

    Griffin III also added 179 carries for 699 yards for 10 touchdowns. In the Baylor offense, Griffin III was a pure passer that found rushing lanes. He put together one of the most impressive single seasons in college-football history. 

No. 3: 2005 Reggie Bush, USC, Running Back

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    Love him or hate him, Reggie Bush was one of the best Heisman winners in history—whether it officially happened or not. 

    Bush was electric for the Trojans, exploding his junior year as he rushed 200 times for 1,740 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also added 37 receptions and 478 yards in the passing game. 

    On top of his gaudy rushing and receiving numbers, Bush accounted for 28 kick returns and 493 return yards that season. He also returned a punt for a touchdown.

    He was one of the most complete players in the modern era of college football. 

No. 2: 2010 Cam Newton, Auburn, Quarterback

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    Cam Newton stormed onto the field for Auburn after spending a season at the JUCO level and single-handedly destroyed the SEC competition. 

    Newton finished his season 185-of-280 for 2,854 yards and 30 passing touchdowns. Newton also added 264 rushes for 1,473 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. He was the most complete quarterback ever to take the field in the SEC. 

    By the end of his one season, Newton had become an Auburn legend. He led the Tigers to their second national title and first in over 50 years. 

No. 1: 1998 Ricky Williams, Texas, Running Back

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    Ricky Williams is one of the few running backs to ever rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season. During his Heisman-winning year, he rushed 361 times for 2,124 yards and 27 touchdowns. 

    Williams also caught 24 passes for 262 yards and one touchdown that season.

    Williams was one of the most electric players to take the field at running back. He ushered in the BCS era for Heisman winners, taking home the award in 1998. He finished his senior season averaging 198.9 yards per game.