We continue with our new weekly miniseries on major college football history for MNC Wednesdays, as we go back and look at Heisman Trophy winners from the past—and whether or not they truly deserved the award. We started in 1956, as that was the most distant season where we have something resembling full statistics for offensive players.

By the way, here is our mythical national championship analysis from this season, too, for context.

1957 Heisman Trophy winner: John David Crow, RB, Texas A&M (original); Bob Anderson, RB, Army (revised)

The Texas A&M Aggies, coached by the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant, started off the season 8-0 before losing their final three games, including the Gator Bowl, by scoring just 13 points combined. Yet somehow, their star running back—John David Crow—won the Heisman vote, anyway. He posted just 624 yards from scrimmage and scored just 6 touchdowns. That is not very impressive for an 8-3 team.

So, who else can we consider? Here’s our list of vetted contenders:

  • Michigan State RB Walt Kowalczyk: 673 scrimmage yards and 9 TDs
  • Army RB Bob Anderson: 1,065 scrimmage yards and 14 TDs with 1 passing TD
  • Oklahoma RB Clendon Thomas: 947 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs with 1 passing TD and 2 INTs
  • Utah quarterback Lee Grosscup: 10 TDs and 2 INTs with a 175.5 QB rating
  • Duke RB Wray Carlton: 1,007 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs with 2 passing TDs
  • Colorado QB Bob Stransky: 1,131 scrimmage yards and 11 TDs with 3 passing TDs and 2 INTs

All these players were arguably better than Crow. But how did their teams fare? The Spartans went 8-1 and didn’t win the B1G, but that team effort already puts Kowalczyk ahead of Crow in our minds. Army posted a 7-2 mark, losing only to ranked teams from Notre Dame and Navy—and Anderson’s statistics are better than either Crow’s or Kowalczyk’s numbers. He’s now our frontrunner.

The Sooners went 10-1 with an Orange Bowl win over Duke, which gives Thomas the edge on Carlton, as the Blue Devils finished just 6-3-2. The Utes posted a 6-4 mark against a weak schedule, though, while the Buffaloes went 6-3-1, including a loss against Oklahoma. Generally, this boils down to Anderson and Thomas in our minds.

Both Army and Oklahoma played middling schedules, and both teams lost to Notre Dame as well. We don’t like Thomas’ two INTs, and the Sooners lost at home to the Fighting Irish—while Army lost to Notre Dame at a neutral site in Philadelphia. Anderson’s scoring, turnover, and yardage edges on Thomas tells us he was a better player, while Oklahoma was a better team. Thus, Anderson did more with less, period.

Congratulations to Bob Anderson, the real Heisman Trophy winner from 1957.

Make sure to check back every Wednesday on the Daily McPlay for the next entry in our Heisman analysis!