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If The Heisman Came After The Bowls - 1990s
Washington DT Steve Emtman
Washington DT Steve Emtman
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 13, 2013


What if the Heisman Trophy was awarded after the bowls, not before? Here's what might have happened in the 1990 to 1999 races.

Post-Bowl Heisman Voting

The 1990s

By Pete Fiutak 

What If The Heisman Voting Was Done After The Bowls? 
- 2000 to 2012 | 1990 to 1999 | 1980 to 1989 | 1970 to 1979

Ranking the All-Time Winners

- The 25 Greatest Heisman Winners | No. 25 to 50 | No. 51 to 77
 
Heisman Winners - Top 5 Races, Player to Not Win, and More
- 2010 to Present | 2000 to 2009 | 1990 to 1999 | 1980 to 1989
- 1970 to 1979 | 1960 to 1969 | 1950 to 1959 | 1940 to 1949 | 1930 to 1935

1999 Ron Dayne, RB Wisconsin
The Final Three Were ... 1) Dayne, 2) Joe Hamilton, QB Georgia Tech, 3) Michael Vick, QB Virginia Tech
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Ron Dayne, RB Wisconsin
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Dayne, 2) Vick, 3) Peter Warrick, WR Florida State

There's no question Ron Dayne would've still won after the bowls, he finished his career as the all-time leading D-I rusher and ran for 200 yards and a score in the Rose Bowl win over Stanford, but the voting would've been a heck of a lot closer than the landslide it originally was. Joe Hamilton's Georgia Tech team lost to Miami in the Gator Bowl, and here's where it gets interesting. Virginia Tech's Michael Vick, who finished third, put on a showstopper of a performance in the Sugar Bowl loss to Florida State, running for 97 yards and a score and throwing for 225 yards and a touchdown in a showstopper of a performance that was far better than the stats. And then there was FSU's Peter Warrick, who finished sixth in the voting thanks to an off-the-field problem involving a five-finger discount at a Dillard's, but he lit up the Hokies for six catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns as the MVP in the national championship. The sports world was buzzing about him after the FSU win, but Vick was the one leaving jaws on the floor.

1998 Ricky Williams, RB Texas
The Final Three Were ... 1) Williams, 2) Michael Bishop, QB Kansas State, 3) Cade McNown, QB UCLA
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Ricky Williams, RB Texas
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Williams, 2) Bishop, 3) Ron Dayne, RB Wisconsin

Forget about it. Williams ran for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the Cotton Bowl win over Mississippi State, while Michael Bishop's Kansas State team lost to Purdue in the Alamo Bowl and Cade McNown's UCLA lost to Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Ron Dayne, who didn't even finish in the top ten in the voting, but had a big season, likely would've rocketed up to third after tying a then-Rose Bowl record with 246 yards and four touchdowns against the Bruins.

1997 Charles Woodson, CB Michigan
The Final Three Were ... 1) Woodson, 2) Peyton Manning, QB Tennessee, 3) Ryan Leaf, QB Washington State
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Charles Woodson, CB Michigan
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Woodson, 2) Manning, 3) Leaf
One of the all-time most heated Heisman races would've been a slam-dunk after the bowls. Charles Woodson picked off a pass in the Rose Bowl as he led his Michigan team to the national championship over Washington State. Ryan Leaf was great in the loss, throwing for 331 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and would've cemented the No. 3 spot. Peyton Manning threw for a mere 134 yards and a touchdown with an interception in the 42-17 loss to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, and he likely would've been pushed by Leaf for the runner-up slot.

1996 Danny Wuerffel, QB Florida
The Final Three Were ... 1) Wuerffel, 2) Troy Davis, RB Iowa State, 3) Jake Plummer, QB Arizona State
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Danny Wuerffel, QB Florida
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Wuerrfel, 2) Davis, 3) Plummer

Danny Wuerffel had a fight on his hands with Iowa State 2,000-yard runner, Troy Davis, for the Heisman, but it wouldn't have been close after a 306-yard, three touchdown day in the 52-20 Sugar Bowl victory over Florida State to win the national title. It would've been a close call between Arizona State RB Jake Plummer and Ohio State OT Orlando Pace, who finished fourth, for the third spot. Even in a 20-17 Rose Bowl loss to the Buckeyes, Plummer was terrific throwing for 205 yards and a touchdown, with an interception, and running for an 11-yard score on a late drive that almost sealed the national title for the Sun Devils before Joe Germaine led OSU on the game-winning drive.

1995 Eddie George, RB Ohio State
The Final Three Were ... 1) George, 2) Tommie Frazier, QB Nebraska, 3) Danny Wuerffel, QB Florida
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Tommie Frazier, QB Nebraska
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Frazier, 2) George, 3) Keyshawn Johnson, WR USC

A tremendous Heisman battle would've ended in a flip-flop. Eddie George ran for 107 yards and a touchdown in the 20-14 Ohio State loss to Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl, but he was outplayed by Volunteer RB Jay Graham, who ran for 168 yards and a score. Tommie Frazier would've won in a walk after throwing for 105 yards and a score and running for 199 yards and two touchdowns, highlighted by a classic 75-yard tackle-breaking scoring run, in the 62-24 national title win over Florida in the Fiesta Bowl. With Florida's Danny Wuerrfel throwing three interceptions in the loss, USC WR Keyshawn Johnson, who finished seventh in the voting, would've moved up to the third slot after catching 12 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown in the 41-32 Rose Bowl win over Northwestern.

1994 Rashaan Salaam, RB Colorado
The Final Three Were ... 1) Salaam, 2) Ki-Jana Carter, RB Penn State, 3) Steve McNair, QB Alcorn State
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Rashaan Salaam, RB Colorado
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Salaam, 2) Carter, 3) Kerry Collins, QB Penn State

Rashaan Salaam won easily, and he wouldn't have had a problem getting the award after the bowls with 83 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-24 Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame. Penn State's Ki-Jana Carter would've closed the gap a little bit after running for 156 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by an 83-yard dash to open the scoring, in the 38-20 win over Oregon in the Rose Bowl. Alcorn State's Steve McNair only finished 16 points ahead of fourth place finisher Kerry Collins, and that likely would've changed after the Penn State quarterback threw for 200 yards with an interception against the Ducks to finish off an unbeaten season.

1993 Charlie Ward, QB Florida State
The Final Three Were ... 1) Ward, 2) Heath Shuler, QB Tennessee, 3) David Palmer, RB Alabama
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Charlie Ward, QB Florida State
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Ward, 2) Shuler, 3) J.J. Stokes, WR UCLA

Charlie Ward was a no-brainer pick, and he would've stayed that way after winning the national title completing 24 of 43 passes for 286 yards against Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Heath Shuler was on an island as the No. 2, and he would've likely stayed there despite losing to Penn State in the Citrus Bowl, throwing for 205 yards and a touchdown with an interception. The third place finish would've been an interesting battle led by Alabama's do-it-all playmaker David Palmer, who came up with a good day in a 24-10 Gator Bowl win over North Carolina. UCLA WR J.J. Stokes, who finished seventh, but by a mere 161 points behind Palmer, would've likely been a finalist after catching 14 passes for 176 yards in the 21-16 Rose Bowl loss to Wisconsin.

1992 Gino Torretta, QB Miami
The Final Three Were ... 1) Torretta, 2) Marshall Faulk, RB San Diego State, 3) Garrison Hearst, RB Georgia
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Garrison Hearst, RB Georgia
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Hearst, 2) Torretta, 3) Faulk

One of the historically significant Heisman races would've turned on its ear after the bowls. No one questioned that San Diego State's Marshall Faulk and Georgia's Garrison Hearst were better players than Miami's Gino Torretta, but the theory was that Faulk, a sophomore, had two more shots at winning and Hearst, a junior, would've been the front-runner in 1993. And then disaster struck as Torretta threw for 278 yards and three interceptions in a 34-13 Sugar Bowl national championship loss to Alabama. Faulk didn't go to a bowl game after getting stuffed for 21 yards on 21 carries against Miami in his regular season finale. That would've opened the door for Hearst, who ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries in the 21-14 Citrus Bowl win over Ohio State.

1991 Desmond Howard, WR Michigan
The Final Three Were ... 1) Howard, 2) Casey Weldon, QB Florida State, 3) Ty Detmer, QB BYU
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Desmond Howard, WR Michigan
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Howard, 2) Steve Emtman, DT Washington, 3) Shane Matthews, QB Florida

Desmond Howard won the Heisman in a blowout getting 640 first place votes, while second place finisher Casey Weldon of Florida State finished with 19. That would've changed just a bit after Howard was shut down by Washington in a 34-14 Rose Bowl loss with just one catch for 35 yards. Casey Weldon would've fallen off the map after completing 14 of 32 passes for 92 yards and four interceptions in a 10-2 Cotton Bowl win over Texas A&M. Detmer never got a Holiday Bowl win (even though he threw for 576 yards against Penn State in the 1989 loss), but he finished up with 350 yards and two touchdowns in a 13-13 tie with Iowa. He likely would've been knocked out by fifth place finisher Shane Matthews, who had a tremendous 370-yard, two touchdown, three interception day in the Sugar Bowl loss to Notre Dame. Steve Emtman, the unquestioned leader of the co-national champion Washington Huskies, would've rocketed up into the two spot. The junior defensive tackle originally finished fourth, but he was second behind Howard in first place votes.

1990 Ty Detmer, QB BYU
The Final Three Were ... 1) Detmer, 2) Rocket Ismail, WR Notre Dame, 3) Eric Bienemy, RB Colorado
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Rocket Ismail, WR Notre Dame
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Ismail, 2) Detmer, 3) Bienemy

Ty Detmer won because he lit up defending national champion Miami on national TV early in the season, but his Cougars lost late in the year 59-28 to Hawaii, and then got destroyed 65-14 to Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl. In the blowout, a banged up Detmer completed 11 of 23 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Notre Dame's Rocket Ismail, the most electrifying player in America and a close second place finisher, would've won in a post-bowl landslide for a play that didn't even count. He seemingly ruined Colorado's national title dream in the Orange Bowl with a late punt return for a touchdown, but it was called back on a questionable holding penalty. With the Buffs winning the national title, Eric Bienemy, who ran for 86 yards and a touchdown in the 10-9 win, would've finished third.