If The Heisman Came After The Bowls - 1980s
Pitt DE Hugh Green
Pitt DE Hugh Green
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 7, 2012


What if the Heisman Trophy was awarded after the bowls, not before? Here's what might have happened in the 1980 to 1989 races.


Post-Bowl Heisman Voting

The 1980s

By Pete Fiutak 

What If The Heisman Voting Was Done After The Bowls? 
- 2000 to 2011 | 1990 to 1999 | 1980 to 1989 | 1970 to 1979

Ranking the All-Time Winners

- The 25 Greatest Heisman Winners | No. 26 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

1989 Andre Ware, QB Houston
The Final Three Were ... 1) Ware, 2) Anthony Thompson, RB Indiana, 3) Major Harris, QB West Virginia
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Andre Ware, QB Houston
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Ware, 2) Thompson, 3) Tony Rice, QB Notre Dame

Andre Ware was a statistical monster throwing for 44 touchdowns and 4,299 yards in the new run 'n' shoot attack. But he didn't play in a bowl game, and neither did Indiana's Anthony Thompson. West Virginia's Major Harris, who finished third, got blasted in a 27-7 Gator Bowl loss to Clemson, and with no other real candidates to slip into the top three, Notre Dame's Tony Rice, who finished fourth, would've probably slipped into the top three after beating Colorado 21-6 in the Orange Bowl. However, it wouldn't have been a slam-dunk after completing just five of nine passes for 99 yards.

1988 Barry Sanders, RB Oklahoma State
The Final Three Were ... 1) Sanders, 2) Rodney Peete, QB USC, 3) Troy Aikman, QB UCLA
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Barry Sanders, RB Oklahoma State
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Sanders, 2) Steve Walsh, QB Miami, 3) Aikman

Barry Sanders got 559 of the 715 first place bowls. After running 25 times for 222 yards and five touchdowns in the 62-14 Holiday Bowl win over Wyoming, it would've been 715 of 715. USC's Rodney Peete was held to 158 yards and two interceptions in a Rose Bowl loss to Michigan, and would've likely dropped out of the top three. UCLA's Troy Aikman would've stayed in the top three because his Bruins beat Arkansas 17-3 in the Cotton Bowl, but he only threw for 172 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Miami's Steve Walsh won the national title over Oklahoma with a nice 209-yard, two touchdown, one interception performance and would've gone from fourth to second.

1987 Tim Brown, WR Notre Dame
The Final Three Were ... 1) Brown, 2) Don McPherson, QB Syracuse, 3) Gordon Lockbaum, RB/DB Holy Cross
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Tim Brown, WR Notre Dame
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Brown, 2) Lorenzo White, RB Michigan State, 3) McPherson

Tim Brown won in a landslide and wouldn't have had many problems after the bowls catching six passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in a 35-10 loss to Texas A&M, but he was held in check as a returner. Don McPherson didn't do enough in the 16-16 Sugar Bowl against Auburn to get much closer, but Michigan State RB Lorenzo White, who finished fourth, would've blown past Holy Cross cause célèbre Gordie Lockbaum after running 35 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns leading the Spartans to a 20-17 Rose Bowl win over USC.

1986 Vinny Testaverde, QB Miami
The Final Three Were ... 1) Testaverde, 2) Paul Palmer, RB Temple, 3) Jim Harbaugh, QB Michigan
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Vinny Testaverde, QB Miami
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Testaverde, 2) Palmer, 3) Brian Bosworth, LB Oklahoma

Vinny Testaverde might have thrown five picks, no touchdowns and 285 yards in the 14-10 Fiesta Bowl loss to Penn State, but there simply weren't any other options. This was the first of two big Heisman hype years from Gordie Lockbaum, a do-it-all player from Holy Cross who finished fifth. Temple's Paul Palmer didn't play in a bowl, and Michigan's Jim Harbaugh was almost as bad as Testaverde with three interceptions and 172 yards in the 22-15 Rose Bowl loss to Michigan. Brian Bosworth led a Sooner defense that stuffed Arkansas 42-8 in the Orange Bowl.

1985 Bo Jackson, RB Auburn
The Final Three Were ... 1) Jackson, 2) Chuck Long, QB Iowa, 3) Robbie Bosco, QB BYU
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Bo Jackson, RB Auburn
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Jackson, 2) Long, 3) Lorenzo White, RB Michigan State

In one of the closes Heisman races ever, with Bo Jackson beating Chuck Long 1,509 total points to 1,464, voting after the bowls might not have settled the issue. Bo ran 31 times for 129 yards and a touchdown in the 36-16 loss to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, while Long threw for 319 yards and a touchdown with an interception in the 45-28 Rose Bowl loss to UCLA. Michigan State's Lorenzo White, who finished fourth, would've likely jumped up past BYU's Robbie Bosco for third after the Cougar star threw four picks in a Citrus Bowl loss to Ohio State.

1984 Doug Flutie, QB Boston College
The Final Three Were ... 1) Flutie, 2) Keith Byars, RB Ohio State, 3) Robbie Boscoe, QB BYU
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Doug Flutie, QB Boston College
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Flutie, 2) Bosco, 3) Byars

Doug Flutie's landslide win would've been even bigger after throwing for 180 yards and three touchdowns in the 45-28 Cotton Bowl win over Houston. Keith Byars ran for 109 yards in the 20-17 Rose Bowl loss to USC. Robbie Bosco led his Cougars to the national title by throwing for 343 yards and two touchdowns, but he threw three picks, in the 24-17 Holiday Bowl win over Michigan. White and Bosco would probably have flip-flopped spots in the post-bowl voting.

1983 Mike Rozier, RB Nebraska
The Final Three Were ... 1) Rozier, 2) Steve Young, QB BYU, 3) Doug Flutie, QB Boston College
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Mike Rozier, RB Nebraska
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Rozier, 2) Young, 3) Bernie Kosar, QB Miami

Mike Rozier got hurt in the national title loss to Miami, but he still would've pulled out the Heisman after dominating throughout the season. Steve Young got most of the second place votes, and would've closed the gap after throwing for 314 yards, running for a score, and catching a touchdown pass in the 21-17 win over Missouri in the Holiday Bowl. Doug Flutie played well with a furious rally coming up short in 19-18 Liberty Bowl loss to Notre Dame, so the 300-yard, two-touchdown performance in the epic win over Nebraska in the 1984 Orange Bowl would probably have taken him from out of the Heisman voting to third.

1982 Herschel Walker, RB Georgia
The Final Three Were ... 1) Walker, 2) John Elway, QB Stanford, 3) Eric Dickerson, RB SMU
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Herschel Walker, RB Georgia
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Walker, 2) Dickerson, 3) Elway

It would've been an interesting post-bowl fight for the runner up spots, but there was no question Herschel Walker would've still won easily after running for 103 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. John Elway never played in a bowl game, while Dickerson led SMU to an icy 7-3 win over Pitt with 124 yards on 27 carries. Nittany Lion RB Curt Warner, who finished tenth, and Todd Blackledge, who finished sixth, would've made a big push for one of the top three spots after their performances over Georgia to with the national title. Warner outgained Walker with 117 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries, while Blackledge threw for 228 yards with a classic 47-yard touchdown pass to Greg Garrity.

1981 Marcus Allen, RB USC
The Final Three Were ... 1) Allen, 2) Herschel Walker, 3) Jim McMahon, QB BYU
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Marcus Allen, RB USC
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Allen, 2) Walker, 3) McMahon

This might have been the great Heisman race ever, and it certainly would've gotten even more interesting after the bowls. How good would this post-bowl race have been? Pitt's Dan Marino, who finished fourth, would've have been able to crack the top three after throwing for 261 yards and three touchdowns with a 33-yard scoring pass on fourth-and-the-game to beat Herschel Walker's Georgia. Walker ran for 84 yards and two touchdowns, and would've been able to off McMahon, who would've made a push from the three spot after bombing away for 342 yards and three touchdowns in the 38-36 Holiday Bowl win over Washington State. Oh yeah, and then there's Marcus Allen, who ran for 2,342 yards becoming the first player ever to pass the 2,000-yard mark, but was held to 80 yards on 30 carries in a 26-10 loss to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.

1980 George Rogers, RB South Carolina
The Final Three Were ... 1) Rogers, 2) Hugh Green, DE Pitt, 3) Herschel Walker, RB Georgia
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been ... Herschel Walker, RB Georgia
The Final Three Likely Would’ve Been ... 1) Walker, 2) Green, 3) Rogers

Rogers might have led the nation with 1,781 rushing yards, but if the voters could've gotten past Herschel Walker's freshman status, it would've been a no-brainer of a vote after the Georgia star led his team to a national title win over Notre Dame by running for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Rogers ended up with 113 yards, but fumbled two times in a 37-9 loss to Hugh Green's Pitt in the 1980 Gator Bowl. The Gamecocks did everything possible to stay away from Green, and that allowed Rickey Jackson to make 19 tackles.