EA Sports NCAA Football 13 allows you take former Heisman winners and place them on your team. Its a great concept in my opinion that can spark some interesting conversation like the one we had last week regarding which former Heisman winner we'd like to see as a Sooner.
But what about those players who didn't win the Heisman and yet were still the top player in the nation that year? who wouldn't want a Adrian Peterson or Marshall Faulk in their backfield, or Peyton Manning under center? For as much as we like to celebrate the Heisman the truth is the award is often not given to the top college football player but rather the one that is able to garner the most media attention.
Here's a look at my top five Heisman snubs. Five guys who were clearly the best players in the nation and yet watched a competitor walk away with the coveted award.
Granted all five of these guys are from the recent era of college football but I figure if I'm going to say the guy was snubbed then it would be better for it to be a guy that I have actually watched play. So while there are others out there these are the five that I have seen with my own eyes.
5. Chuck Long - Quarterback, Iowa, 1985: Game winning drives against Michigan State and Michigan, early in the season, helped propel Long into the front of the Heisman race and the Hawkeyes to the #1 ranking in the nation. His 2,978 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 65.8% completion rate eventually led Iowa to their first outright Big 10 title in 27 years and helped him to take home the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien awards. However, he would finish second in the Heisman voting to Bo Jackson of Auburn.
4. Marshall Faulk - Running Back, San Diego State, 1993: Most people won't remember Faulk's greatest game because you pretty much either had to be there in person or catch a highlight or two on ESPN. As a freshman, in 1991, he carried the ball 37 times against Pacific for 386 yards and seven touchdowns. However, most people remember Faulk's junior season where he ran the ball 300 times for 1,530 yards (5.1 YPC) and also caught 47 passes for 644 yards. He scored a total of 24 touchdowns that season while racking up 2,174 all-purpose yards, ranking him third in the nation in all-purpose yards and second in scoring. Despite that he finished fourth in the Heisman voting that year.
3. Vince Young - Quarterback, Texas, 2005: I have no problems admitting that Young was snubbed in 2005. I do have significant issues in saying that he is the greatest snub of all-time. There are those out there who feel that way and they are pretty much the same ones who felt as if he was worthy of being the first inductee into the SBN College Football Hall of Fame and with that a ton of credibility goes out the door.
That said, while Young is a far cry from being the greatest football player to ever walk the planet, he was pretty special in 2005. He led Texas to an undefeated season and a BCS championship by completing 65.2% of his passes for 3,036 yards and 26 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He also averaged 6.8 yards per carry while rushing for 1,050 yards and an additional 12 touchdowns. Young was an All-American in 2005 and also won the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien awards but finished second in the Heisman voting to Reggie Bush.
2. Peyton Manning - Quarterback, Tennessee, 1997: Manning led the Vols to an 11-1 regular season record and the SEC championship in `97 by completing 60.3% of his passes for 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He was a consensus first team All-American and also took home the Maxwell and Davey O'Brien awards. What should have been his Heisman moment came in the SEC championship game when he led Tennessee to a 30-29 win over Auburn after trailing 20-7. Manning finished second in the Heisman voting behind Michigan's Charles Woodson.
1. Adrian Peterson - Running Back, Oklahoma, 2004: I know, there is a huge temptation to write this off as a "homer" pick but the stats don't lie here. Not only did Peterson deliver college football's greatest freshman performance by a running back in 2004, he also gave us one of the greatest seasons by a running back period.
Peterson began the 2004 season with nine consecutive 100 yard games which was an NCAA record for a freshman. On the biggest stage of the `04 regular season he blistered the Texas defense for 225 yards but then outdid himself against Oklahoma State when he ran for 161 yards in the third quarter alone and finished with 249 total yards. He cracked the 200 yard barrier again against Baylor when he ran for 240 yards. Peterson tabbed his eleventh 100 yard rushing game against Colorado to set another NCAA freshman record.
At the end of the season he had amassed 1,925 rushing yards while leading the nation with 339 carries. As a true freshman he was named by the AP as a first-team All-American. Despite a record breaking season he finished second to USC's Matt Leinart in the Heisman voting, it was the highest finish ever for a freshman in the Heisman voting. Some would say that teammate Jason White "stole" votes from him but the truth is he didn't win the Heisman because he was a freshman. That my friend makes him the greatest snub of all time.
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