Kansas State and the Heisman

The Heisman and Kansas State don’t have much of a past together.

For a while it looked like Wildcats senior quarterback Collin Klein might change that. He led the HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll for four weeks from mid-October until mid-November. If not for his team’s 52-24 debacle at Baylor, Klein would be giving the trophy its first kiss from a Kansas State player on Saturday.

Before Klein, the pickings are slim to find a Wildcat in any Manhattan other than the one in Kansas.

Back in 2003, running back Darren Sproles rushed for 1,948 yards, scored 17 touchdowns and led the Wildcats to a 35-7 smashing of No. 1 Oklahoma, led by eventual Heisman winner Jason White, in the Big 12 title game. That was enough to entice six voters to put Sproles on top of their ballots. He did get a healthy smattering of seconds and thirds for a total of 101 points, enabling him to place fifth behind White (1,628), Larry Fitzgerald (1,552), Eli Manning (619) and Chris Perry (566), but he was not invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony.

The closest a Wildcat has come to winning the Heisman was 1998. Only, not really. Quarterback Michael Bishop threw for 2,844 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 748 yards and 14 scores, to lead K-State to an 11-2 record. Bishop was the runner up that year in the Heisman vote to Ricky Williams of Texas. But Williams’ 2,355 points was 1,563 points ahead of Bishop’s total of 792, which means that, technically, Sproles in 2003 was 36 points closer to White’s winning total.

Other than Bishop and Sproles, you have to go back to 1970 to find another Kansas State Wildcat in the Heisman conversation.

Lynn Dickey was a senior quarterback for the Wildcats that year. He threw for 2,163 yards as K-State went 6-5. For his efforts, he received six first-place votes and finished 10th in the final tally, well behind winner Jim Plunkett of Stanford. He went on to star for the Green Bay Packers.

Kansas State is ranked eighth in the Big 12 in HeismanPundit’s ranking of the top Heisman programs, which measures the total impact of schools in Heisman history.

If Bill Snyder can keep his program chugging along at it current rate, it’s only a matter of time before a Wildcat makes it to New York and comes back with the school’s first Heisman.

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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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7 Responses to Kansas State and the Heisman

  1. SSF December 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Ricky Williams came to Manhattan, Kansas in 1998 and gained 40 yds on 20 carries. In this day and age, where the Heisman is only based on one year, that would have doomed him and Michael Bishop would have won.

    The Heisman has changed. A freshman will probably win for the first time. It’s no longer about a career. It’s no longer about wins and championships. It’s no longer about the character of the player. It’s only about numbers. And only the numbers for one season.

    • Bishop! December 6, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      Ricky had 43 yards 😉
      I was there!

  2. IloveFootball December 6, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    It has nothing to do with character. If you compare Johnny to Mr. Collin Klein you’ll see two very different representatives of the game. The future Heisman Trophy winner (J.M. will win) has been arrested for defending a racist in a physical altercation. The event occured on June 29, 2012. Collin Klein’s record and GPA are clean. If not Klein it should be Te’o. Look at the achievements of the two deserving candidates. One Candidate has lead his team to a Conference Championship and an 11-1 record by scoring over 60% of his points. The other has destroyed Offenses and lead his team to the NCG with a perfect record. Fact! ND and KSU have defeated OU. Too bad the Heisman couldn’t have been voted upon after the Bowl season. It appears that OU will get the final say. Bottom line is that Character should matter. Te’o or Klein should represent College Football with this once prestigious award.

  3. Josh December 6, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Why is perhaps the most important statistic of all being talked about? Is the ESPN hype machine covering it up so their horse (Manziel) wins? Manziel was 2-2 vs teams with winning records. Klein was 7-1. Hard to imagine a more telling stat.

    • Craig December 6, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      A&M beat MSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, LA Tech, Sam Houston State – all had winning records (not 2-2). They only lost by 3 and 5 points to 2 top 10 teams for their only losses

      • Evan December 6, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

        Ole Miss is .500, and thus does not have a winning record. And Sam Houston State? We’re talking about real teams here; let’s keep it FBS level. A&M was 3-2 against teams with winning records.

  4. Travis December 6, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    A&M is 2-2 against FBS conference teams with winning records, whereas K-State is 7-1. Ole Miss does not have a winning record.