Last Updated: Nov 21, 2012 10:48 AM
The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually to "the most outstanding player in collegiate football." The trophy has been won by hallowed names from the college gridiron since the first one was awarded to Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger in 1935.
Chills are sent up any college football fan's spine when you mention the names of Davey O'Brien, Doak Walker, Roger Staubach, and Gino Torretta.
Wait a minute.
One of those does not belong.
Here are the top five worst Heisman winners of all time, players who somehow snuck into the elite fraternity of college football greats.
5. Gary Beban, UCLA QB, 1967
Eight touchdown passes and eight interceptions on the year for Bruins quarterback Gary Beban. There is your Heisman winner in 1967. OK, I'm leaving out some facts here. He did pass for 1,359 yards that year and score eleven touchdowns on the ground. In the biggest game of the year at the end of the year, #1 UCLA vs #4 USC, with the national championship in the balance, Beban did pass for over 300 yards and two touchdowns despite being hobbled by injury.
The trouble is, USC won the game, behind A 64-yard touchdown run by Heisman runner-up OJ Simpson that was a thing of beauty and is still talked about to this day. In fact, today Simpson would have probably struck the Heisman pose in front of the cameras and provided an accurate omen. "The Juice" did go on to win the Heisman in 1968.
4. Eric Crouch, Nebrasaka QB, 2001
Eric Crouch was a heckuva athlete and playmaker at quarterback for the Cornhuskers in 2001. Crouch led his Huskers to the National Championship game. When you think of Heisman moments, there is no doubt that Crouch's was his 63-yard touchdown catch late in the game to down rival Oklahoma late in the year and advance Big Red to the national championship game.
Meanwhile, Rex Grossman was doing his thing in Gainesville, just being a better passing quarterback, completing 66% of his passes for 3,896 yards and 34 touchdowns. A loss to Tennessee, being only a sophomore versus senior Crouch, and the lack of a Heisman moment unfairly cost Grossman the trophy.
3. Chris Weinke, Florida State QB, 2000
Perhaps it was the year 2000 when the Heisman voters decided to shake things up for three years with selections that only served to confuse. Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke was an interesting story, with him being 28 years of age. This was a horse race all year between Weinke, Oklahoma QB Josh Heupel, Purdue QB Drew Brees, and TCU RB Ladanian Tomlinson.
Heupel ended up taking home the hardware he really wanted at the end of the year - a national championship ring. Brees and Tomlinson? Brees had a prolific year threading the ball all year to average Purdue receivers and carrying the super potent Boilermaker offense. TCU had its offense built on the ground around LT and justifiably so with a huge rushing campaign that resulted. Weinke could have easily finished fourth on the list.
2. Jason White, Oklahoma QB, 2002
In 2001, a dropback passer (Grossman) put up fantastic numbers through the air, but was snubbed, in 2002, a dropback quarterback, Oklahoma's Jason White, recorded great passing numbers and won the Heisman. Why was this a bad selection in 2002? Pitt wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had an absolutely phenomenal season, arguably the best ever by a collegiate wide receiver.
Fitz was just a beast. Quarterback Rod Rutherford was average, often just throwing the ball up for grabs to #1 (Fitzgerald's number), despite tight double and sometimes triple- coverage. More often than not, Fitzgerald used his freak athletic skills and hands to outleap and outfight defenders to come down with the ball, which allowed him to finish with 92 catches for 1,672 yards and an amazing 22 touchdowns. White was a great quarterback playing on two reconstructed knees, but he deserved to come in second.
1. Gino Torretta, Miami QB, 1992
OK, so you saw this one coming after my teaser. Yes, I am going to list Torretta as the most undeserving Heisman winner of all time. I state that without saying that Torretta had a poor 1992. On the contrary, he had a solid year playing for a team that was loaded. It's just that there was this guy out at San Diego State in his second year, putting up absolutely huge numbers for an underclassman. Marshall Faulk.
What hurt him was playing for the Aztecs, not exactly in the spotlight every week, and being an underclassman compared to senior Torretta. NFL success is sometimes brought into an argument over Heisman flops, but I will say that is unfair. Charlie Ward was a deserving Heisman winner even though he never made it in the NFL. Just looking at college track records, Faulk, with his 1600 yards of rushing with 15 touchdowns in 1992, deserved the bronze stiffarm statue on his mantel.