This current MNC Wednesday miniseries is analyzing Heisman Trophy history, and in 49 seasons overall so far, we have confirmed just 16 winners—clarifying that the voting process really came down to a lot of hype and bandwagon voting. It is sad to think about how sports history could be different if the voters had been able to apply any objective, critical-thinking skills to their decision-making processes. So, here we go again … on with our Heisman show, which is better than the real Hypesman, of course.

2005 Heisman Trophy winner: Reggie Bush, RB, USC (original); Vince Young, QB, Texas (revised)

We have no reason to discount USC Trojans running back Reggie Bush, as explained elsewhere, as he won the Heisman vote based on the following stats against the No. 9 SOS: 2,890 total yards and 19 touchdowns. His team went 12-0, won the Pac-10, and earned a spot in the BCS Championship Game. However, we have to remember he was playing with the 2004 Heisman vote winner who also had a pretty good year (see below), not to mention another loaded USC roster of All-Star players.

Therefore, as usual, there are always other candidates to consider, and this is our final list of firmly vetted Heisman candidates for the 2005 Heisman Trophy, which is short albeit sweet:

  • Vince Young, QB, Texas: 4,086 total yards with 38 TDs and 10 INTs for a 163.9 QB rating (No. 23 SOS)
  • Matt Leinart, QB, USC: 3,862 total yards with 34 TDs and 8 INTs for a 157.7 QB rating (No. 9 SOS)
  • Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame: 4,009 total yards with 38 TDs and 7 INTs for a 158.4 QB rating (No. 14 SOS)
  • Brian Calhoun, RB, Wisconsin: 2,207 total yards with 24 TDs (No. 30 SOS)

Bush and Leinart obviously cancel each other out here, leaving Young atop our initial short list. Texas went undefeated, too, to match up with the Trojans in the final game of the season. Meanwhile, Quinn tops Young in SOS and is close enough in the other categories, although the Fighting Irish only posted a 9-2 record while earning a Fiesta Bowl bid. Young was third in the nation for passing efficiency, and when you add in his legs, well … he ran for over 1,000 yards (which is part of his total above).

Calhoun turned in a great season for the 9-2 Badgers, but his SOS is lower than everyone else’s in this conversation. This really comes down to Young and Quinn, and while Young had a 1,000-yard runner in his backfield, Quinn had the same—plus two 1,000-yard receivers as well. Young’s best receiving option reached only the 750-yard threshold. Generally, Young carried his team more than Quinn did, and he did it to higher heights. That is good enough for us.

Congratulations to Vince Young, the real Heisman Trophy winner for 2005.