It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s time 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 have confirmed just 3 winners in the 10 seasons of study so far, so that tells you a lot about … well, many things. What will happen today? We never know in advance, which makes it all the more fun!
By the way, here is our mythical national championship analysis from this season, too, for context.
1966 Heisman Trophy winner: Steve Spurrier, QB, Florida (original); Bob Griese, QB, Purdue (revised)
The Florida Gators posted an 8-2 regular-season record behind the leadership of quarterback Steve Spurrier, who threw for 2,012 yards with 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions for a 132.2 QB efficiency rating. Those stats won him the Heisman vote as the Gators played the 16th-best schedule in the country.
But, as we do, there are other contenders to consider. Here’s our final list of fully vetted Heisman candidates:
- Dewey Warren, QB, Tennessee: 1,716 passing yards with 23 total TDs and 7 INTs
- Bob Griese, QB, Purdue: 1,964 total yards with 18 total TDs and 11 INTs
And that’s it, as it was a down year for position/skills players, overall. Warren topped the nation in QB rating (142.2) as the Vols went 7-3 against a Top 30 schedule. Yet he got zero Heisman votes … Tennessee and Florida didn’t play each other, which is ironic. But if Spurrier wasn’t even the best QB in the SEC, why would we give him the Heisman? We cannot justify that.
Griese led the Boilermakers to their first Rose Bowl ever with an 8-2 regular season, playing a Top 25 schedule. His QB rating (137.0) was better than Spurrier’s mark, and Griese also did some damage with his running ability. With a second-place finish in the voting process, it’s clear the “experts” at the time did see Griese’s value.
So, this comes down to Warren or Griese for us, and we’re going to err on the side of the voters at the time—and give this nod to Griese. Purdue’s only losses were to top-ranked teams from Michigan State and Notre Dame, and the Boilermakers were better than the unranked Gators and unranked Vols. It just makes sense on many levels here.
Congratulations to Bob Griese, the real Heisman Trophy winner from 1966.