We are back to MNC Wednesday again, taking on the Heisman Trophy voting history in this second miniseries, and what we have discovered is pretty insane. In 21 seasons (as we started in 1956 when statistics were somewhat readily available), we have confirmed just 5 winners—illustrating that a lot of the voting process really came down to hype and not much common sense or objective analysis.
By the way, here is our MNC analysis from this season, too, for context.
1977 Heisman Trophy winner: Earl Campbell, RB, Texas (original, confirmed)
The Texas Longhorns finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the country, led by their star running back, Earl Campbell. He won the Heisman vote after accumulating 1,855 scrimmage yards and scoring 19 touchdowns against the No. 32 schedule in the nation. This was a surprise, as Campbell had only averaged 905 yards from scrimmage in his first three seasons, earning no Heisman votes prior to 1977.
Obviously, there are always other contenders to consider. So, here’s our final list of fully vetted Heisman candidates, as there may be opening with the Longhorns’ relatively unimpressive SOS:
- Matt Cavanaugh, QB, Pittsburgh: 1,906 total yards with 19 TDs and 6 INTs for a 161.7 efficiency rating (No. 29 SOS)
Forty-three RBs gained at least 1,000 yards on the ground during this season, which seems high to us. But Campbell was the best of them, and really, only Cavanaugh deserves any consideration outside of the Tyler Rose. One season after winning the Associated Press MNC, the Panthers fought their way to an 8-2-1 record with Cavanaugh leading the way. It just wasn’t a year of many real contenders.
But Cavanaugh’s numbers aren’t quantitatively impressive, even if they are qualitatively so. Meanwhile, Campbell put together both for the No. 1 team in the country, even if the schedule wasn’t super tough. We’re not saying Campbell wins this award from us by default, although it may seem that way. He just was the best player in a season where there were not a lot of great players. May fortune smile on him!
Congratulations to Earl Campbell, the legit Heisman Trophy winner from 1977. Amen.
Make sure to check back every Wednesday on the Daily McPlay for the next entry in our Heisman analysis!