Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Heisman Trophy Says Tim Tebow Is The Fourth Greatest Player Ever, And The Heisman Is NEVER WRONG!

Just about a year ago, I posted a list of the top thirty career point totals in Heisman voting history. O.J. Simpson occupied the top spot, followed by two-time winner Archie Griffin, Herschel Walker, Reggie Bush, and Tony Dorsett. Tonight, using voting information from, I updated that list. There were only two changes in the top forty: Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, the second sophomore winner, jumped onto the list at number 38, and Florida's Tim Tebow, who a year ago became the first sophomore winner, knocked Dorsett out of the top five:

Rank Player School Year Class Points
1 O.J. Simpson* Southern California 1967-68 Jr./Sr. 4575
2 Archie Griffin** Ohio State 1973-75 So./Jr./Sr. 4046
3 Herschel Walker* Georgia 1980-82 Fr./So./Jr. 3808
4 Tim Tebow* Florida 2007-08 So./Jr. 3532
5 Reggie Bush* USC 2004-05 So./Jr. 3138

I found this interesting given all the recent talk about Tebow's place among the all-time greats of the college game. That talk will likely lessen somewhat following Tebow's third-place finish in this year's vote*, but still, there it is: the only players in history to receive more points in the Heisman voting are Simpson, Griffin, and Walker.

*Also interesting: amidst the outrage over Graham Harrell's non-invite to New York, I remember reading that they make those invites according to natural breaks in the voting. Agree with the final vote or not, Harrell's finish (213 points, more than 1300 behind Tebow) did not warrant his presence at the ceremony.

This fits with my common response to the question of Tebow's place in history: if he comes back for his senior season and dominates again, he will probably be considered the greatest college player ever. Until then, however, he's in the "Greatest 21st Century Player" argument along with (at least**) Bush, Darren McFadden (still the most points for anyone who didn't take home the Heisman), and Matt Leinart.

**Vince Young? Colt Brennan? Sam Bradford? Adrian Peterson?

So anyway, Tebow's strong finish led me to use my limited points database to determine the schools with the most points in Heisman history. Not being able to recall Florida's history offhand, I figured it would be fun to see where the Gators stand:

School Points
Southern California 20433
Notre Dame 17968
Ohio State 17893
Oklahoma 17559
Michigan 10051
Texas 9389
Florida 8960
Miami (FL) 7460
Georgia 6974
Nebraska 6891

Okay, so Florida isn't that close to the top (although if Tebow returns for his senior season and has another good showing, they should pass 10,000). The top four initially looked a lot closer - I had Reggie Bush's school as "USC" while the others were "Southern California", so his numbers weren't originally included in the Trojans' tally. Ohio State and Oklahoma have the best chance to join USC in passing the 20,000 mark next season, with Terrelle Pryor, Beanie Wells, and Bradford all expected to contend for the award.