The Heisman Trophy will be awarded this evening in New York. We offer our Two Cents on the top prize in college football.
Rolling with the Tide
It's hard to believe that Alabama, with one of the richest traditions in college football, has never had a Heisman Trophy winner. Running back Mark Ingram could change that today. Here's a look at Crimson Tide players who fell just short of winning the Heisman.
The quarterback finished fifth in voting in 1945 and 1947. Those years featured two of the greatest Heisman winners — Army's Doc Blanchard in 1945 and Notre Dame's Johnny Lujack in 1947.
The quarterback finished fifth in 1961, the year Syracuse legend Ernie Davis won.
Lee Roy Jordan
One of the all-time great linebackers was fourth in the 1962 balloting.
Known as the "Italian Stallion,'' the senior running back finished a distant fourth in 1971 behind winner Pat Sullivan of Auburn, Cornell's Ed Marinaro and Oklahoma's Greg Pruitt.
The wishbone quarterback was fifth in the 1972 vote, the year another famous running quarterback, Johnny Rogers of Nebraska, won the award.
Palmer is the closest any Alabama player has come to the Heisman. The quarterback finished third in 1994, although he wasn't close at all. Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward won going away, finishing with 2,310 points to Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler's 688 and Palmer's 292.
The senior quarterback finished fifth overall in 1994 but was third among quarterbacks, behind Alcorn State's Steve McNair and Penn State's Kerry Collins. Colorado running back Rashaan Salaam won.
Michigan's Charles Woodson, below, the 1997 winner, is the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman, though it should be noted that the year the cornerback won, he had signature moments scoring touchdowns on a punt return and an offensive reception. This year, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is among the five players invited to New York for the trophy presentation, but he appears to be a long shot to win.
Here's a look at other defensive players to make a run at the Heisman.
The Pitt defensive end (and former Bucs linebacker) had 179 first-place votes, 125 second-place votes and 74 third-place votes in 1980 but finished second, losing by 267 points to South Carolina running back George Rogers. But many thought the winner should've been Georgia running back Herschel Walker, who finished third and didn't win only because many voters didn't think a freshman should.
The brash Oklahoma linebacker finished fourth in 1986, but few complained about who won: Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde, in a landslide over Temple running back Paul Palmer and Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh.
The Florida State linebacker finished fourth in 1992 behind Miami quarterback Gino Torretta, San Diego State running back Marshall Faulk and Georgia running back Garrison Hearst. Two other linebackers finished in the top 10. Miami's Micheal Barrow was seventh, and Alabama's Eric Curry was 10th.
The former Miami and Bucs great might have had a shot in any other year besides 1994. Sapp finished seventh behind several players who had spectacular seasons, including Colorado running back Rashaan Salaam, Penn State stars Ki-Jana Carter and Kerry Collins, and Alcorn State quarterback Steve McNair.
He was one of the greatest and yet most underrated defensive players in college football history. The Nebraska defensive tackle finished third in 1972 behind winner and teammate Johnny Rogers and Oklahoma back Greg Pruitt.
Thoughts and tidbits
Looking back, it's hard to beat the 1982 class . Georgia's Herschel Walker won, followed by Stanford quarterback John Elway, SMU back Eric Dickerson, Michigan receiver Anthony Carter and Nebraska's Dave Rimington, one of the greatest offensive linemen in college football history. Heck, Pitt quarterback Dan Marino finished ninth in the voting, and the tie for 10th was a pair of sensational running backs, Penn State's Curt Warner and future Heisman winner Mike Rozier of Nebraska.
The 2006 race was full of great college players whose success hasn't translated to the pros. The top five vote-getters were Ohio State's Troy Smith, Arkansas' Darren McFadden, Notre Dame's Brady Quinn, West Virginia's Steve Slaton and Michigan's Mike Hart.
Auburn running back Bo Jackson nipped Iowa quarterback Chuck Long by 46 points in 1985. Last year, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford finished 122 points ahead of Texas' Colt McCoy and 151 ahead of Florida's Tim Tebow.
In 1968, USC running back O.J. Simpson, right, won by a whopping 1,750 points over second-place finisher Leroy Keyes of Purdue for the biggest margin of victory. In 2005, USC running back Reggie Bush garnered a record 84 percent of the first-place votes.
First, but not first
Notre Dame's Paul Hornung (1956), Oklahoma's Billy Sims (1978) and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford (2008) are the only winners not to receive the most first-place votes. In 1956, Hornung had 197 first-place votes, but Oklahoma's Tommy McDonald, who finished third, had 205. In 1978, Penn State quarterback Chuck Fusina, who was the runnerup, had 163 first-place votes to Sims' 151. Florida's Tim Tebow finished third last season even though he had 309 first-place votes, nine more than Bradford.