Our current MNC Wednesday miniseries evaluates only Heisman Trophy history: In 44 seasons overall so far, we have confirmed just 15 winners—clarifying that the voting process really came down to hype and surface-analysis voting. It is sad to think about how sports history could be different if the voters had been able to apply any critical thinking to their decision-making processes. It’s like the entire twentieth century just had a brain fart sometimes. But we digress … on with our Heisman show!

2000 Heisman Trophy winner: Chris Weinke, QB, Florida State (original); Damien Anderson, RB, Northwestern (revised)

The Florida State Seminoles finished No. 3 in the Associated Press poll, behind their quarterback, Chris Weinke: 4,167 passing yards for 34 total touchdowns and 11 INTs with a 163.1 QB rating. He did this against the No. 11 SOS in the nation, as FSU went 11-1, won the ACC, and was voted into a BCS Championship Game berth. That’s a solid resume for a Heisman winner, with the only loss coming on the road to Miami-FL by 3 points.

Of course, there are always other candidates to consider. As a result, this is our final list of properly vetted Heisman candidates for the 2000 Heisman Trophy, which has some interesting names on it:

  • LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, TCU: 2,198 total yards with 22 TDs (No. 103 SOS)
  • Damien Anderson, RB, Northwestern: 2,195 total yards with 23 TDs (No. 27 SOS)
  • Ken Dorsey, QB, Miami-FL: 2,737 passing yards with 26 total TDs and 5 INTs (No. 15 SOS)
  • Rex Grossman, QB, Florida: 1,866 passing yards with 21 total TDs and 7 INTs (No. 10 SOS)

Quite a year, in truth, for QBs from the Sunshine State. Dorsey (152.3 QB rating) and Grossman (161.8) were both first-time starters, and they played really well against great schedules. But Weinke has the better stats, as all three guys were playing on All-Star teams, basically. That leaves us to look at the running backs, where it’s clear that Anderson is the best of the bunch, based on SOS and the Wildcats’ shared B1G title. So, that puts our final showdown as a comparison between Weinke and Anderson.

How did Northwestern manage to earn a shared conference title with Purdue and Michigan? The QBs combined for less than a 125.0 rating, and the next-best position player gained just 600 scrimmage yards. Yet Northwestern was tenth in scoring offense, averaging 36.8 points per game. That was all Anderson; meanwhile, Weinke had weapons left and right to use down south. He had a running back and a wide receiver each gaining over 1,200 scrimmage yards, and two other guys finishing above 670 yards.

Anderson was a one-man wrecking crew for Northwestern and its surprising run to the shared B1G title, and for that, we recognize him, as the SOS is good enough to warrant such a distinction. He is the second Wildcats RB to win this nod from us in the last six seasons, strangely, and this season is probably one of the most underrated in college football history, even if Anderson did manage to finish fifth place in the vote.

Congratulations to Damien Anderson, the real Heisman Trophy winner for 2000.