Sharing the Votes–Myths and Misnomers

One of the myths of the Heisman race is that you can’t have two legitimate candidates on the same team, that one will prevent the other from winning.

Heismanpundit looked at the last 25 Heisman races to ascertain what the numbers show.

We counted 12 times in those 25 years that teams had two candidates in the top 10 of the Heisman voting.

Four out of those 12 times, a winner was paired with a top 10 finisher from the same team:

1979–Charles White (1st), Paul McDonald (6th), USC
1983–Mike Rozier (1st), Turner Gill (4th), Nebraska
1992–Geno Toretta (1st), Michael Barrow (7th), Miami
1995–Eddie George (1st), Bobby Hoying (10th), Ohio State

In each of those cases, the lower-finishing candidate was a senior All-American who commanded great respect in the college football world. Yet, none of them seemed capable of derailing the eventual winner. Geno Toretta, considered by many to be a weak winner, actually won solidly despite losing votes to Barrow.

Has there ever been a case in the last 25 years where–by adding the votes of two teammates–a candidate has lost out on the Heisman due to a teammate taking away votes?

Heismanpundit research indicates that the answer to that is negative.

The most famous recent example of that possibility was when Willis McGahee and Ken Dorsey of Miami finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the voting behind winner Carson Palmer. But even giving McGahee’s votes to Dorsey, or vice versa, would not have changed he outcome.

The closest we’ve come to that situation actually happening came in 2001, when the combined votes of Dorsey and Bryant Mckinnie would have come a close second to Eric Crouch’s 770 points. The ‘Cane duo would have finished with 754 votes, a mere 16 votes behind.

So, when the media pundits talk about Reggie Bush taking away votes from Matt Leinart, or Adrian Peterson doing the same to Jason White, it’s really not supported by Heisman history.

In the end, the guys who are candidates will win it–or lose it–on their own.

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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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