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Heisman Trophy History: The Least-Deserving Winners

Ross DurrenceCorrespondent IIOctober 13, 2011

Heisman Trophy History: The Least-Deserving Winners

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    The Heisman is one of the biggest awards in all of sports.

    Winning this trophy will guarantee you eternal glory and place you into one of the most exclusive fraternities in the world.

    That being said, there have been some gross errors made in the selection of the winner over its long and storied history.

    Let's take a look at the 10 least-deserving Heisman winners of all time.

10. Jason White, 2003

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    Who should have won? Larry Fitzgerald.

    Jason White might be a stretch here, seeing that he threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns, and had a 4-1 TD-INT ratio.

    He was not the most talented player in college football in 2003, however.

    Larry Fitzgerald literally could not be stopped.  He hauled in more than 90 catches and an absurd 22 touchdowns.

    No one could even touch Fitzgerald that year.

9. Matt Leinart, 2004

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    Who should have won?  Adrian Peterson.

    Matt Leinart had a great season, that's not in question. 

    However, what Adrian Peterson was able to do as a freshman was simply astounding.

    Peterson rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and led the nation in carries, tacking on 15 touchdowns.

    As a freshman.

    A freshman.

    Should I say it again?

8. Eric Crouch, 2001

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    Who should have won? Rex Grossman.

    Eric Crouch made waves in 2001 when he threw and ran for over 1,000 yards.

    He led Nebraska to a great regular season and was one of the most exciting players in college football.

    Rex Grossman should have won the award, however.

    The Florida gunslinger passed for 3,800+ yards and 34 TDs, and he led the galaxy in quarterback rating in 2001.

7. Tim Brown, 1987

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    Who should have won? Don McPherson.

    Tim Brown was an exceptional college receiver and an even better pro.

    But you simply cannot win the Heisman in a year where you only score 7 touchdowns (and only 4 from scrimmage).

    Don McPherson led Syracuse to an undefeated regular season and accounted for three times as many touchdowns as Brown.

    Let the "Notre Dame Heisman-Trophy bias" begin.

6. Charles Woodson, 1997

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    Who should have won? Peyton Manning.

    People saw Charles Woodson and immediately imagined Desmond Howard.  And they were wrong to do so.

    Woodson wasn't near the return man people remember him as, though he was the finest cornerback in all the land.

    Manning was the best player in the country and should have brought home the award. 

    If voters thought they were making a statement by voting the first defensive player to win—they were right.

    They made a statement. By awarding it to the wrong man.

5. Pat Sullivan, 1971

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    Who should have won? Ed Marinaro.

    Pat Sullivan was the best quarterback in the country in 1970. 

    In 1970.

    The voters in 1971 were simply rewarding him for his previous season's exploits. In the process, they snubbed Cornell star Ed Marinaro.

    Marinaro had close to 2,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 24 touchdowns. 

    Gaudy numbers for 2011, let alone 1971.

4. John Huarte, 1964

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    Who should have won? Jerry Rhome.

    Huarte had a good year for Notre Dame, though his numbers pale in comparison to Jerry Rhome's.

    Rhome had twice as many touchdowns as Huarte and threw nearly one-third as many interceptions.

    Why didn't he win? 

    N-o-t-r-e D-a-m-e

    (this is not the last we'll see of this Irish blessing)

3. Gino Torretta, 1992

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    Who should have won? Garrison Hearst.

    Gino Torretta was a good quarterback on a stellar team, which is the only reason he won the award. 

    His numbers were pedestrian at best compared to the numbers of the third-place finisher.

    In 1992, Garrison Hearst set SEC records for rushing yards, total touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and yards per carry.

    Oh, and he also hauled in the Doak Walker Award and was a consensus All-American and the SEC Player of the Year.

2. Archie Griffin, 1975

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     Who should have won? Chuck Muncie, Ricky Bell, Tony Dorsett, anyone else on the ballot.

    Archie Griffin's 1975 win was monumental because he became the first and only two-time winner of the Heisman Trophy.

    The problem is that in 1975, he barely even sniffed the end zone.

    Let's look at the top finishers in the 1975 Heisman race to see how ridiculous of a win it was for Griffin.

    (numbers in bold are higher than Griffin's)

    1. Archie Griffin, RB: 1,515 yards, 4 total TD
    2. Chuck Muncie, RB: 1,852 yards, 15 total TD
    3. Ricky Bell, RB: 1,899 yards, 13 total TD
    4. Tony Dorsett, RB: 1,735 yards, 14 total TD
    5. Joe Washington, RB: 927 yards, 11 total TD
    6. Jimmy Dubose, RB: 1,410 yards, 6 total TD

    All of these players played on good teams and had successful seasons.

    The voters liked the idea of a multiple winner, so they gave an award to a man who had no reason to even be in the top three that year.

1. Paul Hornung, 1956

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    Who should have won? Jim Brown, Johnny Majors.

    Hornung's numbers make Steven Garcia look like Johnny Unitas.  As if his measly three passing touchdowns weren't enough cause for concern, he threw 13 interceptions!

    And his team's final record in 1956? A whopping 2-8.

    Jim Brown finished fifth in the voting and led the world in rushing. Johnny Majors?  Well he was only the best player in the SEC and a consensus All-American.

    So why did Hornung win even though his numbers were barely good enough for a junior-varsity squad?

    You guessed it kids, he played for Notre Dame.  It's almost as if there was a trend here...

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