The week we’ve been waiting for all summer is finally here.
The first college football games arrive this week and with them comes the opening of the 2015 race for the Heisman Memorial Trophy.
It’s a special award this year, as 2015 marks the 80th anniversary of the first Heisman winner, Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago. We’ll be commemorating Berwanger’s accomplishments all throughout the season.
The Heisman has come a long way since 1935, when it was handed out to merely ‘the most outstanding player in the East’. The list of players who’ve won it since then reads like a Who’s Who of college football history. At the end of this year’s race, on Saturday, Dec. 12, one more player will add to that history while joining the most prestigious fraternity in sports.
Seemingly everyone is a candidate
It’s true. Every player on a college football roster who is eligible for competition according to NCAA standards can win the Heisman. However, we can’t remember the last time the preseason hype surrounding the trophy featured so many names being bandied about. A simple Google news search of the word ‘Heisman‘ seems to cover every possible angle of who might conceivably win. Of course, once the games get underway, we’ll see the speculation focus a bit more, but all the buzz reveals that the interest in the trophy is as intense as it has ever been.
In addition to it being the 80th anniversary of the first Heisman, it’s also the 50th anniversary of Mike Garrett winning USC’s first trophy and the 25th anniversary of Ty Detmer winning BYU’s only Heisman to date. We’ll take a look back their Heisman seasons throughout the fall.
Both were record-setting players. Garrett’s 1,440 rushing yards was a then-NCAA single-season record while Detmer produced Heisman single-season records for passing yards and total offense.
Odds and Ends
Sports Illustrated looks at the challenges that defensive players must overcometo win the Heisman.
ESPN believes that Nebraska defensive end Ros Dzuris has a Heisman-worthy head shot (we’re inclined to agree).
It’s common for schools to prominently display their Heismans at their athletic facilities. Here is a beautiful shot of how Marcus Mariota’s Heisman looks at the University of Oregon.
Where have all the Heisman promotions gone? asks ESPN’s Ted Miller.
Inc.com doesn’t answer that question, but does give us a nice history of such promotions.
It is revealed what 2003 Heisman winner Jason White thinks of Oklahoma’s new offense in an interview in the Tulsa World.
Jay Berwanger is from Dubuque, Iowa, so it’s fitting that several Heisman winners signed a football to help raise money for that city’s schools.
Trivia Item of the Week
It’s happened before where two players returned to a team after finishing in the top five of Heisman balloting, but it’s always been done in the same season. The first time it occurred was in 1945, when Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard returned from a 2-3 Heisman finish in the 1944 Heisman vote. Most recently, Matt Leinartand Reggie Bush returned in 2005 as the Heisman winner and as the fifth-place finisher.
But Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett are the first to return to a team after having logged top five finishes in two separate seasons. Miller finished fifth in the Heisman vote in 2012 while Barrett was fifth in 2014.