THE 10 HEISMANDMENTS has compiled its 10 rules to winning the Heisman–“The 10 Heismandments,” if you will.

The more Heismandments that apply to a player, the better his chances are of winning.


1. The winner must be a quarterback, a running back, or a multi-threat athlete.

2. Juniors and seniors have the overwhelming advantage in the Heisman race and, as a general rule, will win over an underclassman.  But a sophomore from a traditional power who puts up extraordinary single-season numbers can’t be discounted.

3. The winner must put up good numbers in big games on TV.

4. The winner must have some prior name recognition.

The only way to overcome lack of prior name recognition is by producing a season that is head and shoulders above the other challengers.

5. The winner must be one or more of the following three:

a. The top player on a national title contender.

b. A player who puts up good numbers for a traditional power that has a good record.

c. A player who puts up superlative single-season or career numbers on a good team, or numbers which are way out ahead of his Heisman competitors.

6. The winner cannot be considered an obvious product of his team’s system.

Call this the Andre Ware rule. Basically, this means that voters are unimpressed by huge stats put up by an individual in offensive systems conducive for huge numbers. Voters at one time were impressed (back when many of these systems were new and in vogue), but most have reached a level of sophistication where they are no longer completely fooled by big numbers alone. They will also look at the how the candidate fared against good teams and if the numbers are lacking, the player will suffer.

7. If you are a quarterback, running back or multi-purpose athlete at one of the following schools, you have a good chance to win if you have a very good statistical season, are an upperclassmen and your team wins at least 9 games: Notre Dame, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan, Miami, Florida and Florida State.

These 10 schools have won 15 of the previous 17 Heismans as well as each of the last nine.

8. There are statistical benchmarks for each position in order to be considered:

a. If you are a running back, you need to gain at least 2,000 yards if you are NOT on a traditional power or a national championship contender. This is a number that is slowly rising as more backs hit that mark. If you are on a traditional power or national title contender, you must gain at least 1,700 yards. In either case, you also must score at least 15 touchdowns.

b. If you are a passing quarterback on a traditional power or national title contender, you need to pass for at least 3,000 yards and must have at least a 2-1 touchdown to interception ratio, with at least 20 TD passes and an efficiency rating of at least 135.0.

c. If you are a running quarterback on a traditional power or a national title contender, you must reach the 1,000-yard mark rushing in spectacular fashion and also be a decent passer.

d. If you are a multi-threat athlete, you can only win if you produce spectacular plays on special teams, specifically kick and punt returns.

9. There will never be another two-time Heisman winner.

10. The winner must be likeable.

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About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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