The Top Heisman Schools in College Football History

I went back and sifted through all the past Heisman results and came up with a little system to assign each school a point value for when its players finished in the top 10 of the Heisman voting.

A first-place finish gets 10 points, a second-place gets nine, a third-place 8, and so on down to 1 point for 10th place.

My hope was to paint a clearer picture of each school’s impact on Heisman history, beyond just listing the schools with the winners.

Here are the highest-scoring programs, with points:

1. Notre Dame, 277
2 (tie) Ohio State, Oklahoma, 191
4. USC, 161
5. Michigan, 142
6. Texas, 105
7. Army, 102
8. Penn State, 99
9. UCLA, 98
10 (tie). Nebraska, Miami, 93
12. Pitt, 88
13 (tie). Florida, Georgia, 81
15. Alabama, 77
16. BYU, 76
17. Stanford, 75
18 (tie). Purdue, Michigan State, 74
20 (tie). Florida State, Minnesota, 73
22. Tennessee, 69
23. Navy, 63
24. Iowa, 58
25. Auburn, 56

Now, for some more breakdowns:

Top 10 Heisman Teams By Decade:

1930s

1. Yale, 26
2. TCU, 20
3. Pittsburgh, 17
4. Tennessee, 12
5. Iowa, Chicago, Notre Dame, 10
8. Army, Nebraska, Colorado, Michigan, 9

Yale captured two Heismans in the abbreviated 1930s.  Not all the seasons had 10 finalists, so scoring is less complete than in other decades.

1940s

1. Notre Dame, 84
2. Army, 72
3. (tie) Minnesota, Michigan, SMU, Georgia, 26
7. Penn, 21
8. North Carolina, 18
9. Ohio State, 17
10. Navy, 16

A dominant decade for Notre Dame.  Its 84 points in the 194os is the highest of any team in any decade.  Army’s 72 points is the second highest.

1950s

1. Oklahoma, 51
2. Notre Dame, 48
3. Ohio State, 30
4. Michigan State, 28
5. UCLA, 25
6. Kentucky, 23
7 (tie) Iowa, Maryland, 21
9. Army, 20
10 (tie). SMU, Minnesota, Wisconsin, 19

No suprise the Sooners are on top given their success in this era.  You can also see Ohio State starting to emerge and some surprising strength from Michigan State.

1960s

1. Notre Dame, 41
2. Purdue, 38
3 (tie) USC, Syracuse, 29
5. UCLA, 27
6. Ohio State, 26
7. Minnesota, 24
8. Michigan State, 22
9 (tie). Texas, Illinois, 21

Notre Dame on top again, but Purdue a strong second thanks to three runner-up finishes in four years. USC first makes it mark, but the Midwest schools still hold sway.

1970s

1. Oklahoma, 65
2. Ohio State, 57
3. USC, 48
4. Notre Dame, 42
5. Penn State, 30
6. Nebraska, 28
7. Michigan, 27
8. Texas, 25
9. Pittsburgh, 21
10 (tie) BYU, Oklahoma St., 16

This list pretty much contains most of the traditional powers of the 1970s, save Alabama. The BYU quarterback lineage tarts to bear some fruit here.

1980s

1. BYU, 41
2. Georgia, 33
3. Pittsburgh, 32
4. Miami, 30
5. Nebraska, 27
6. Ohio State, 26
7. Michigan St., 22
8. Notre Dame, 21
9. Michigan, 20
10. USC, 19

BYU placed quarterbacks in the top five of the vote six time in this decade, the first (and only decade) in which no one school was able to produce two winners. Miami makes its first appearance in the top 10.

1990s

1. Florida State, 47
2 (tie). Michigan, Tennessee, 26
4. Florida, 24
5. Penn State, 23
6. Miami, 22
7. Ohio State, 20
8. Alabama, 19
9 (tie) BYU, Colorado, 18

Florida State’s Heisman score mirrors its team’s success in this decade. Florida starts to move up, too, as three SEC teams make the top 10.

2000s

1. USC, 56
2. Oklahoma, 51
3. Florida, 33
4. Texas, 31
5. Miami, 28
6. Arkansas, 18
7. Nebraska, 17
8 (tie) Texas Tech, Notre Dame, West Virginia, 16

USC notches its first decade win thanks to three winners (though one is later vacated). Oklahoma not far behind, one of four Big 12 teams to place.

Top Heisman Teams by Major Conference

SEC

1 (tie). Florida, Georgia, 81
3. Alabama, 77
4. Tennessee, 69
5. Auburn, 56
6. Ole Miss, 44
7. Kentucky, 32
8. LSU, 29
9. Arkansas, 22
10. South Carolina, 14
11. Mississippi St, 1

Big Ten

1. Ohio State, 191
2. Michigan, 142
3. Penn State, 99
4 (tie). Michigan State, Purdue 74
6. Minnesota, 73
7. Iowa, 58
8. Illinois, 46
9. Wisconsin, 42
10. Northwestern, 26
11. Indiana, 25

Pac-10

1. USC, 161
2. UCLA, 98
3. Stanford, 75
4. California, 41
5. Washington St., 24
6. Oregon, 22
7. Washington, 19
8. ASU, 13
9. Oregon St., 12

Big 12

1. Oklahoma, 191
2. Texas, 105
3. Nebraska,93
4. Missouri, 43
5 (tie) Oklahoma St., Colorado, 41
7. Texas Tech, 29
8. (tie) Iowa St., Texas A&M, 22
10. Kansas St., 16
11. Kansas, 8
12. Baylor, 4

ACC

1. Miami, 93
2. Florida State, 73
3. Georgia Tech, 39
4. Boston College, 28
5. Maryland, 27
6. Virginia, 22
7. North Carolina, 18
8. Va. Tech, 16
9. NC State, 14
10. Duke, 10
11. Clemson, 9
12. Wake Forest, 1

Big East

1. Pittsburgh, 88
2. Syracuse, 52
3. West Virginia, 35
4. Rutgers, 9
5. Cincinnati, 2
6. Louisville

Military Academies
1. Army, 102
2. Navy, 63
3. Air Force, 12

Note: I’ll come back to this post a little later to fill in the rest of the conferences.

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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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6 Responses to The Top Heisman Schools in College Football History

  1. Ed Newman October 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Interesting information.

    OSU has been in the top 10 every decade except the first and the last ones.

    Considering that you can make an argument that the 2000s was the program’s best decade on the field it’s really surprising that the Heisman impact was the lowest (even with a winner!). Does this plus Alabama’s low impact over the years just show how much more important having a good defense is than a few offensive stars to overall team success?

  2. Kirk October 13, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    This is good stuff. Sorry to nitpick, but I noticed your top 25 only has 24 teams – looks like you skipped #20.

  3. HP October 13, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    Good catch Kirk, I’ll fix it. Thanks.

  4. Hank October 17, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    Wow — Stanford comes in at #17? It makes me proud, but I wouldn’t have guessed it in a million years. Go Mighty Card!

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