Should Heisman Trophy voting wait until after all the bowl games are complete?
If that ever happened — and there’s absolutely no indication from the Heisman Trophy Trust that it ever will — it would be a radical change. Other major sports, professionally and collegiately, pick their major award winners after the regular season ends.
It’s a question worth considering this year because the top two Heisman finishers will face off in the Orange Bowl when Kyler Murray’s Oklahoma Sooners play Tua Tagovailoa’s Alabama Crimson Tide. They were nearly equally amazing in the regular season, with Murray winning the award.
But, if the vote wasn’t taken until after the bowl games, the Heisman might turn into a de facto College Football Playoff most valuable player. The award already is weighted too heavily toward players whose teams are part of the national championship chase.
Of the last 16 Heisman winners, only four played for teams that were not in the hunt for a national title — Florida’s Tim Tebow in 2007, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III in 2011, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel in 2012, and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson in 2016.
The 2007 Heisman voting was a bit of an oddity, as the only player among the top 10 to play in the national title game was LSU defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, who was ninth.
If today’s voting philosophies were used in 1971, Auburn’s Pat Sullivan might not have won it. The Tigers lost big to Alabama at the end of the regular season. Jerry Tagge, quarterback of No. 1-ranked Nebraska, might’ve taken it at the end.
His team was unbeaten, and the Cornhuskers won a huge 1-2 matchup over Oklahoma in the last game. Also, his passing numbers were better than Sullivan’s that year. He was seventh in voting back then, but today, that would result in a Heisman.
Keep the voting like it is. The trophy shouldn’t be decided by one game.