What If The Heisman Was Voted On After The Bowls? – 2016
If the Heisman voting was done after the bowl season, would Deshaun Watson have won the Heisman, or would Lamar Jackson have held on?
It’s one of the unfortunate timing aspects of every college football season. The Heisman Trophy is awarded before the biggest games of the year are played, and someday, that needs to change.
The Heisman presentation has found its niche between the end of the regular season and the excitement for the bowls, but now it’s gotten to a point where there are just too many, “yeah, but …” complaints after the season is over.
Really? We’re supposed to vote for the guy who’s the MVP/MOP/Best Player In College Football before they all get to rise up and really show what they can do?
Going back to 1970, when the national title started being awarded after the bowls rather than after the regular season, here’s what would’ve likely happened if the Heisman was awarded after the season was over.
But if we could’ve voted after the bowls this year, what would’ve happened?
2016 Heisman Winner: Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville
The Final Three Were … 1) Jackson, 2) Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson, 3) Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma
The Likely Winner After The Bowls Would’ve Been … Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
The Final Five Likely Would’ve Been … 1) Watson, 2) Mayfield, 3) Jackson, 4) Dalvin Cook, RB Florida State, 5) Sam Darnold, QB USC
And it probably wouldn’t have been all that close.
Jackson won the Heisman with 2,144 total points to Watson’s 1,524, but the bowl games were a showcase on the big stages for Clemson and Oklahoma, while Louisville fizzled.
Not only did the Cardinals lose to LSU 29-9 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, but Jackson was held in check completing just 10-of-27 passes for 153 yards, while being held to 33 rushing yards on 26 carries. He was still brilliant throughout the regular season, and that wouldn’t have been completely forgotten.
Mayfield likely would’ve finished second if we could all vote for this thing after the bowls, hitting Auburn for 296 yards and two scores – and running for 34 more – with several magical moments in the 35-19 win in the Sugar Bowl.
But Watson would’ve won in a walk.
Everyone will remember the epic performance to win the national title, but he also threw for 259 yards and a score, and ran for 57 yards and two scores, in the 31-0 Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State. Winning the national title, though, would’ve made it a no-brainer.
After struggling early against the Crimson Tide, Watson threw for 420 yards and three scores, ran for 43 yards and a touchdown, and led the way to an epic final scoring drive to win the national title in the final seconds against the biggest, baddest defense in college football.
And he didn’t throw any interceptions.
Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook – No. 4 in the voting – had an okay game against the Tigers with a six-catch, 59-yard, one score day, and fifth-place finisher Jabrill Peppers didn’t even play against Florida State in the Orange.
No. 6 in the race was Washington QB Jake Browning, and he wouldn’t move up, while Alabama DE Jonathan Allen, Texas RB D’Onta Foreman, and Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey – 6, 7 and 8, respectively – wouldn’t have made a move.
However, Florida State RB Dalvin Cook would’ve rocketed up the voting, and probably would’ve finished fourth.
Cook tied San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey for the tenth spot, but after ripping up the loaded Michigan run defense for 145 yards and a score on 20 carries, and catching three passes for 62 more in the 33-32 Orange Bowl win, there might have been a few first-place votes.
And then there’s the Sam Darnold situation. The USC quarterback didn’t finish in the top ten, but his brilliant performance against Penn State in the Rose Bowl, and with his 453 yards and five touchdowns in the classic game, he might have even moved up into the top three.
But in the end, if we could’ve done this again, No. 4 would’ve been No. 1.