Two of the three front runners in the race for the Heisman Trophy (LaMichael James, Kellen Moore) come from schools that have never won the award. The third school (Auburn) hasn’t won or had a top-five finisher since 1985. Whoever wins will either be establishing a new standard or breaking a long dry spell for his school.
A brief look at each program’s Heisman history:
Oregon–Norm Van Brocklin was the first Oregon player to finish in the top 10 of the Heisman voting. He finished sixth in 1948. George Shaw was the next Duck to place, finishing seventh in 1954. It would take another 47 years for an Oregon player to receive a Heisman vote, as Joey Harrington took fourth in 2001 and is the only Duck to make it to New York. Dennis Dixon was the most recent Duck to garner support, as he placed fifth in 2007. James could be the first Oregon running back to finish in the top 10, much less make it to New York as a finalist.
Auburn–The Tigers actually rank 25th in HP’s all-time Heisman rankings. The first Auburn player to receive a Heisman vote was end Jim Phillips, who finished sixth in 1957. Fullback Ed Dyas was fourth in 1960, while quarterback Jimmy Sidle was seventh in 1963. Auburn hit the jackpot with Pat Sullivan, who placed sixth in 1970 and then won the trophy in 1971. Fourteen years later, Bo Jackson was the second Tiger to win the Heisman and tailback Brent Fullwood followed him up with a sixth-place finish in 1986. Since then, Auburn has had just a 10th-place finish (Rudi Johnson in 2000) and a seventh-place finish (Jason Campbell in 2004). So Newton could help revive what was once a pretty solid Heisman tradition.
Boise State–It should come as no shock that Boise State’s influence on the Heisman has been virtually non-existent. Running back Ian Johnson placed eighth in 2006, while Kellen Moore was seventh last season. It appears that Moore is poised to make history–as his school’s first finalist, or first Heisman winner…or both.