As college football heads toward its bowl season, the winner of the prestigious Heisman Trophy will be announced Saturday night at Times Square.
This year, it’s a wide-open race – Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Alabama’s Trent Richardson and Baylor’s Robert Griffin III are among the top candidates – with no clear-cut winner out there.
But that hasn’t always been the case. In some years, it’s obvious who should have won – which is in contrast with who actually did. As such, we take a look at the Top 10 Heisman Trophy snubs of all-time.
10. Notre Dame RB Johnny Lattner over Minnesota RB Paul Giel (1953)
Lattner was a very good two-way player. He even was a dual threat on offense – but he didn’t lead Notre Dame in rushing or receiving the year that he claimed the Heisman. The luck of the Irish? No, it was more about Notre Dame’s visibility. Lattner helped lead the school to a 9-0-1 record that season, a mark that carried heavy weight with voters. Scout.com ranked Lattner the second worst Heisman winner ever.
The All-American Giel, for his part, ran for 749 yards and threw for 590 to lead Minnesota’s attack – big numbers back in those days.
9. Texas A&M RB John David Crow over Iowa DT Alex Karras (1957)
Crow was a two-way player who ran for 562 yards with six touchdowns as a running back and had five interceptions on defense for Texas A&M. But he played in just seven games thanks to injuries.
Karras won the Outland Trophy that season and was the nation’s most-dominant defensive force. A First Team All-American in 1957, he led a defense that allowed just 12.4 PPG. But it wasn’t enough to sway voters toward a defensive tackle.
8. Ohio State RB Archie Griffin over Cal RB Chuck Muncie (1975)
This snub was a strict numbers game between two running backs. Griffin had 1,357 yards and four touchdowns, while Muncie had 1,460 and 13 scores. Yet, Griffin was the winner? Hmm.
Well, it’s likely that Griffin was rewarded for the Buckeyes’ undefeated 1975 regular season; they fell to Dick Vermeil’s surprise UCLA team in the Rose Bowl. Plus, it was special to see Griffin become the first – and still the only – two-time Heisman winner. As for Muncie’s Cal Bears, they finished 8-3 after an 0-2 start and played in relative obscurity.
7. Nebraska QB Eric Crouch over Florida QB Rex Grossman (2001)
Crouch was given the nod most likely for his senior status – and as a career achievement – by setting numerous Nebraska records. He also had an awesome run vs. Missouri. Yes, he rushed for over 1,000 yards and 19 TDs but he also had more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (7).
We can’t believe we are saying this but Rex Grossman was robbed. That’s some positivity toward Rex for a change. He cleaned up in the award season – winning numerous player of the year honors but not the big one despite 34 TDs and nearly 4,000 yards passing in the SEC.
It was one of the closest Heisman races in history, decided by just 62 votes.
6. Oklahoma QB Jason White over Pitt WR Larry Fitzgerald (2003)
White had the advantage of playing in an Air Raid system at Oklahoma, where he threw for 3,846 and 40 touchdowns in his final season. Plus, he was the quarterback for the Sooners – definitely a prominent perch. White was exposed in the Big 12 title game when he threw two picks and no touchdowns in a blowout loss to K-State.
Fitzgerald was easily the best player. He amassed 92 catches for 1,672 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore at Pitt – earning an All-American selection and eventually leaving for the NFL draft.
We all know what has happened since.
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