Ranking the Heisman Powers

If you want to win a Heisman Trophy, you have a distinct advantage if you go to one of these schools.  I take into account media presence, Heisman tradition, recent Heisman success and overall program mystique when putting together this ranking.   

1. USC–Three Heismans this decade and seven trophies overall, plus a glitzy program set in Tinseltown means a successful Trojan quarterback or tailback is automatically a candidate.

Status: Dropping slightly.  Three Heismans between 2002 and 2005, but no finalists since despite some high-profile athletes on offense.

2. Oklahoma–Two Heisman winners and two runners up this decade.  They’ve won with running backs and quarterbacks, with Switzer and Stoops. 

Status:  Steady.  Are voters about to wise up to the Sooner system? 

3. Notre Dame–No Heisman winner since 1987 and only two finalists since then, but a star Irish player is always on the radar.  Like it or not.

Status:  Dropping.  The former champ from way back when.  Still relevant, but needs a savior.

4. Ohio State–Seven Heisman winners and the dominant Big Ten Heisman power.  However, a Buckeye player will, on occasion, have to compete with Notre Dame and Michigan players for attention.

Status:  Rising slightly.  A reliable Heisman power that never goes too long without producing a viable candidate.

5. Florida–Only one school–Notre Dame–has more quarterback Heismans than Florida.  With a high-profile coach and a premier program in place, Gator players will be in the mix for the foreseeable future.

Status:  Rising.  Will John Brantley be the next Florida quarterback to contend?

6. Texas–The last Longhorn to win was Ricky Williams in ’98, but there have been two runner ups since. 

Status:  Steady.  Colt McCoy was about as close as you can get points-wise to winning two Heismans (while not actually winning one).

7. Michigan–The Wolverines won two Heismans in the 1990s and haven’t been much of a factor lately.  Still, if a Michigan player goes off, he’s always going to be considered in the Heisman mix.

Status:  Dropping.  Can Rodriguez bring back the magic?

8. Miami—The Miami quarterback has been a strong presence in the Heisman race in the last 25 years.  Both Ken Dorsey and Willis McGahee were finalists this decade.

Status:  Dropping.  Having the ability to produce a serious Heisman contender is a sign of overall program health.  If Jacory Harris contends this year, it’ll show that Miami is back as a power.

9. Florida State–One of the glamor schools of the 1980s and 1990s, Florida State still has enough media cache to produce a Heisman contender. 

Status:  Dropping.   A recent rebound in recruiting could get the Seminoles back in the mix, but a lack of firepower on offense has been the main issue.

10. Nebraska–You could always count on the I-bone to produce a big-time rusher.  Since that offense went away, however, the Cornhuskers have struggled.  There hasn’t been a true Husker star on offense since Eric Crouch won the Heisman in 2001.

Status:  Rising slightly.  Ndamukong Suh’s run at the trophy this year shows that Nebraska can still muster a Heisman campaign.

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About Heismanpundit

Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, 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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5 Responses to Ranking the Heisman Powers

  1. Kevin January 29, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    “Status: Steady. Colt McCoy was about as close as you can get to winning two Heismans.”
    No, winning one Heisman trophy is a lot closer.

  2. Heismanpundit January 29, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    Kevin, you are right and I should have been a little more clear. I meant to write that he came as close as you can get to winning two Heismans without actually winning any. He lost by 122 points in 2008 and 160 points in 2009. Both are very small amounts when it comes to the Heisman. Tebow actually came much closer to winning two, as he was just 152 points away from repeating in 2008.

  3. jobin January 30, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    Fuck you….GO BIG RED, you piece of shit

  4. Jeremy February 1, 2010 at 9:29 am #

    jobin—> Uncalled for! As a Husker fan this was pretty much dead-on. If you have an issue with that look at what Pederson put us through, can you blame anyone else? The Sea of Red will rise again, give it time.


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