Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Wolverine was in Top 10 in Heisman balloting 8 of 9 years from 1974-1982

One of the favorite topics of the college football preview magazines is the race for the Heisman Trophy. It is never too early for the Heisman hype to start. However, there is nary a mention of any of the Wolverines when it comes to talk of 2006 Heisman Trophy predictions. I figured that was fine for this year because unless you are USC, a school is not going to have a Heisman Trophy contender every single season. Or so I thought. I rationalized that Heisman Trophy candidates are rare players. They only come along once in awhile and I already feel spoiled by the fact that Michigan had two winners in the 90's in Desmond Howard (1991) and Charles Woodson (1997). However, then I came across the fact that there was a time under Bo when we did have a Heisman contender (almost) every single year. The Wolverines had a player finish in the Top 10 in the Heisman balloting eight times in the nine years from 1974 through 1982. Those Top 10 finishers were:

  • 1974: Dennis Franklin, QB (6th)
  • 1975: Gordon Bell, RB (8th)
  • 1976: Rob Lytle, RB (3rd)
  • 1977: Rick Leach, QB (8th)
  • 1978: Rick Leach, QB (3rd)
  • 1979: N/A
  • 1980: Anthony Carter, WR (10th)
  • 1981: Anthony Carter, WR (7th)
  • 1982: Anthony Carter, WR (4th)

For Bo to have 5 different players at 3 different positions each finish in the top 10 in the Heisman balloting during this era is truly impressive. I think this feat matches the fact that U of M had the two Heisman winners only six years apart in the 1990's. The lack of a Heisman contender on the 2006 team is not necessarily a shortcoming but the run between 1974-1982 shows me that it is possible to have a Wolverine in Heisman contention (nearly) every year. Traditionally, Michigan has not made a big push for a player's Heisman candidacy. However, U of M receives so much national media exposure that a Wolverine can play himself into contention just by performing on the field. As for 2006, you can never count out a healthy Mike Hart from stepping up and running himself right into the Heisman race. Go Blue!

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