Here we go again with our MNC Wednesday miniseries entry scrutinizing Heisman Trophy history, and in 57 seasons overall, we have confirmed just 17 vote winners—which is pretty crazy. Yes, we have the benefit of many advantages, of course, but some of the elected winners just have defied rationality in our eyes. As we get closer to the modern day, not a lot has changed, though, showing that the voters were still ignoring statistical realities in favor of subjective horseshit. Should we be surprised? No. Enjoy!
2013 Heisman Trophy winner: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State (original); Tre Mason, RB, Auburn (revised)
Another freshman quarterback, this time Jameis Winston of Florida State, was the vote winner, as he led the Seminoles to a 13-0 regular season and the ACC title—oh, and a berth in the final BCS “title” game. Even though his stats came against just the No. 59-rated schedule, the numbers were impressive: 4,276 total yards with 44 total touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, all for a 184.8 QB rating. That last mark was the top one in the nation, so maybe Winston will get to keep his hardware.
As is often the case, there are always other quality candidates to consider, and this is our final list of firmly vetted Heisman candidates for the 2013 Heisman Trophy, a list that is packed with QBs:
- Tre Mason, RB, Auburn: 2,374 total yards for 25 TDs (No. 6 SOS)
- Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor: 4,409 total yards for 46 total TDs, 3 INTs, and a 174.3 QB rating (No. 55 SOS)
- Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson: 4,251 total yards for 44 total TDs, 11 INTs, and a 168.7 QB rating (No. 40 SOS)
- Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: 4,380 total yards for 40 total TDs, 4 INTs, and a 167.7 QB rating (No. 24 SOS)
Mason helped the miracle Tigers pull off some unlikely wins late in the season to win the SEC and get an invite to face the Seminoles in the BCS charade. Those are great numbers that become “incredible” when we consider the schedule strength. Petty, playing against slightly better competition than Winston, led the Bears to a Big XII title and a Fiesta Bowl bid. His QB rating was second in the nation, and you can bet his supporting cast was much less talented than the one at Florida State.
Boyd is an interesting entry here, as those Tigers only lost in the ACC to the Seminoles while earning an Orange Bowl bid. His SOS is better than Winston’s mark, and again, we’re sure Florida State had a heavier-loaded roster than Clemson did. Mariota was very impressive against the best SOS among all the QBs, but like Boyd, his team didn’t win its conference, while also getting relegated unfairly to a lesser bowl (Alamo). That hurts Mariota in this specific comparison—and Boyd, too.
We like Mason’s achievements against an elite schedule, and our favorite QB in this analysis is Petty, due to the lesser supporting cast and the slightly better SOS. Baylor’s Top 5 skill-position players managed 5,049 scrimmage yards and 48 TDs, compared to the Florida State Top 5 with 5,168 scrimmage yards and 56 TDs. Close enough, really, but the defensive support is what really separates these two QBs: Winston was backed up by the No. 1 scoring defense, while Baylor came in at No. 36 overall. Wow.
In the end, we’re left with Mason and Petty, and the difference in SOS is just too big here to ignore. Auburn’s QBs were mediocre (less than a 150 QB rating combined), and Mason produced almost as many yards as his two next-best teammates. Throw in the No. 48 scoring defense, and it’s a bloody shock Auburn even managed to win its SEC division let alone reach the last BCS title game. He’s our clear-cut winner, although he finished just sixth in the Heisman vote. So uncool!
Congratulations to Tre Mason, the real Heisman Trophy winner for 2013. Never let it be said we have an anti-SEC bias, folks.