Our current MNC Wednesday miniseries is analyzing Heisman Trophy history, and in 45 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 skills to their decision-making processes. So, here we go again … on with our Heisman show!

2001 Heisman Trophy winner: Eric Crouch, QB, Nebraska (original); Josh Reed, WR, LSU (revised)

This was a messed-up season as we discussed previously, and in line with that, the Heisman vote went to Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Eric Crouch, who is perhaps one of the most undeserving winners ever. Against the No. 29 schedule, Crouch threw for just 7 touchdowns alongside 10 interceptions for a mediocre 124.3 QB rating. Yes, he totaled 2,688 total yards with his rushing prowess and managed 26 total TDs that way, too, but the Cornhuskers lost their last regular-season game by 26 points. Ouch.

As usual, there are always other candidates to consider, and this is our final list of properly vetted Heisman candidates for the 2001 Heisman Trophy, which QB-heavy … for the most part:

  • Rex Grossman, QB, Florida: 3,904 total yards with 39 TDs and 12 INTs for a 170.8 QB rating (No. 19 SOS)
  • Joey Harrington, QB, Oregon: 2,821 total yards with 34 TDs and 6 INTs (No. 26 SOS)
  • David Carr, QB, Fresno State: 4,906 total yards with 51 TDs and 9 INTs for a 165.9 QB rating (No. 75 SOS)
  • Josh Reed, WR, LSU: 1,850 total yards and 7 TDs (No. 10 SOS)

Remember, Nebraska didn’t even make the Big XII title game, so that’s also a ding on Crouch. Similarly, Grossman did not get his Gators to the SEC title game, despite leading the nation in passing efficiency. However, Harrington did lead the Ducks to the Pac-10 title; Oregon should have been invited to the B(C)$ “title” game, and his SOS was better than Crouch’s mark, too. Carr had an amazing season in leading the Bulldogs to 11 wins and a Top 20 ranking. But that SOS is too weak.

Reed is an interesting case, as the Tigers ended up winning the SEC, and they did it without a decent QB or a 1,000-yard rusher. And the LSU SOS is the best of the bunch here. Reed checks off several requirements here, in truth, as he was clearly the dominant player on a conference championship team playing an elite schedule. We don’t often see WRs win this analysis, but he grades out higher than Grossman and Harrington—who are better options than Crouch. So, Reed it is. Feel free to argue with us.

Congratulations to Josh Reed, the real Heisman Trophy winner for 2001.