This second MNC Wednesday miniseries evaluates only Heisman Trophy history: In 39 seasons overall, we have confirmed just 14 winners—demonstrating that a lot of the voting process really came down to hype and shallow-thought voting. We’re trying to correct that (post de facto, of course), as we have done with all sports, really, over the past 2.5 years running now … enjoy another Hypesman revisionist piece!
1995 Heisman Trophy winner: Eddie George, RB, Ohio State (original); Darnell Autry, RB, Northwestern (revised)
The Ohio State Buckeyes posted a “disappointing” 11-1 record in the regular season and got relegated to the Citrus Bowl, thanks to a season-ending loss at Michigan. But running back Eddie George—2,344 total yards and 25 touchdowns—won the Heisman vote, nonetheless, topping quarterback Tommie Frazier of Nebraska (see below) in the vote. George did this damage against the No. 8 schedule.
But, of course, there are always other candidates to consider. As a result, this is our final list of properly vetted Heisman candidates for the 1995 Heisman Trophy, which is complicated, in truth:
- Tommie Frazier, QB, Nebraska: 1,966 total yards with 31 TDs and 4 INTs (No. 24 SOS)
- Danny Wuerffel, QB, Florida: 3,266 passing yards with 37 TDs and 10 INTs (No. 16 SOS)
- Darnell Autry, RB, Northwestern: 2,023 total yards with 18 TDs (No. 5 SOS)
- Peyton Manning, QB, Tennessee: 2,954 passing yards with 27 TDs and 4 INTs (No. 17 SOS)
Frazier led the Cornhuskers to an undefeated season and the voted (and confirmed by us) MNC, but the SOS is not in the same realms as that of George. We suspect, however, that if the vote had been taken after the bowl games, Frazier may have won this award due to this play alone. Alas, that is not the case, which brings us to the other two QBs on the list: Wuerffel and Manning.
The Gators star topped the nation in QB rating (178.4), which was more than 30 points higher than Manning’s mark. So, that drops Peyton from contention here, as Florida also had the head-to-head edge on the Vols—to go along with an undefeated regular season. Yet both George and Autry were Top 5 rushers nationally, while playing against better schedules than the one Wuerffel faced.
To us, this one comes down to the two B1G running backs—and the Wildcats earned the Rose Bowl bid with an undefeated conference season, and Autry certainly didn’t have as much help as George did. We explained that previously when awarding Autry the B1G MVP trophy, and we will reiterate it here, too, augmented by SOS data as well. The NU hero was fourth in the vote, but he’s first with us here.
Congratulations to Darnell Autry, the real Heisman Trophy winner from 1995.