The Most Undeserving Heisman Winners of the 2000's
Here’s hoping the Heisman Trophy voting becomes a little more rigid and meaningful and a lot less political.
The former Heisman winners and the media decide who the best college football player is each year. The last three seasons, the voting populous got it right – but that has not always been the case. Whether it has been Eric Crouch of Nebraska or Darren McFadden finishing second TWICE, there have been many flaws in the voting process.
And then there is the move to make Charles Woodson a winner while Peyton Manning never took home the hardware. Here is a look at the five most undeserving Heisman winners since 2000.
ERIC CROUCH - 2001
Crouch played college football for the University of Nebraska. In 2001 Crouch won the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to the most outstanding collegiate football player in the United States. He also won the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, given annually to the best collegiate quarterback in the US. During that year running Nebraska's option offense, he completed 105 of 189 passes for 1,510 yards and seven touchdowns, while also rushing for 1,115 yards and 18 touchdowns.
In the first game of the 2001 season, a 21-7 defeat of TCU, Crouch surpassed Tommie Frazier as Nebraska's all-time total offense leader. He became the Big 12 all-time career rushing quarterback in the emotionally-charged game against Rice.
Crouch became only the fourth player in Division 1 history to both pass and rush for 3000 yards in a career with his performance against Texas Tech.
JASON WHITE – 2003
Good quarterback, great team. White had a huge season, but when he bombed in the BCS Title game against LSU, it became very clear that Pitt receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the runner-up, or Mississippi’s Eli Manning, who finished third, should have won the award.
White won the Heisman Trophy in 2003 after throwing 40 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions. White was also the recipient of the Associated Press Player of the Year, unanimous All-American, consensus Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, the Davey O'Brien Award and the Jim Thorpe Courage Award in his 2003 season. He was also the 2003 NCAA QB of the Year as awarded by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. He was awarded a medical hardship by the NCAA and allowed to play a second senior year in 2004. He led the Sooners to the Big 12 championship game in 2003, which they lost to Kansas State.
MATT LEINART – 2004
He had so many other stars at his disposal: Bush, LenDale White, Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett. Adrian Peterson was the runner-up that season as a freshman. Being a frosh surely didn’t help Peterson. Nor did White finishing third and pulling some of the Oklahoma vote away from Peterson.
The 2005 Trojans again had a perfect 12–0 regular season. Against Notre Dame, Leinart threw for a career-high 400 yards. After an incomplete pass and a sack led to a fourth-and-nine situation with 1:36 left—at the Trojans' own 26-yard line, Leinart called an audible "slant and go" route at the line of scrimmage and threw deep against the Irish's man-to-man coverage, where Dwayne Jarrett caught the ball and raced to the Irish' 13-yard line, a 61-yard gain.
Leinart moved the ball to the goal line as time dwindled and scored on a quarterback sneak that gave the Trojans a 34–31 lead with three seconds to go, giving the Trojans their 28th straight victory and one of the most memorable and dramatic finishes in the history of the Notre Dame–USC rivalry. Leinart was again invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony along with teammate Reggie Bush and Texas quarterback Vince Young.
REGGIE BUSH – 2005
The one he gave back.
By the end of the 2005 season, Bush had amassed 2,611 all-purpose yards and scored 18 touchdowns (15 rushing, 2 receiving, 1 punt return). He was awarded the Heisman Trophy on December 10, 2005. He had 784 first-place votes while University of Texas Longhorns quarterback Vince Young finished second with 79 first-place votes, an overall edge in voting points of 2,541 to Young's 1,608.
Teammate Matt Leinart came in third with 18 first-place votes. Bush had the second most first-place votes and the second-highest total points in the history of Heisman voting at that time, behind only O.J. Simpson's 855 in 1968
Bush became the 71st winner of the Heisman Trophy, and the seventh USC player to receive the award. In addition to his Heisman Trophy, Bush also won the Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Award, and was selected as the Pac-10's offensive player of the year.