In my last post, Horrible Heismans: Eric Crouch – 2001, I went into detail about how undeserving Eric Crouch was of the award in 2001.
Today, we are moving forward to the year 2006. The Heisman winner that year was Troy Smith – of the The Ohio State University.
Let’s Talk Stats
At first glance those are some decent numbers. Over 2,500 yards passing, 30 TD, and just 6 INT. Those numbers alone wouldn’t be enough to make anyone Heisman worthy – Smith must have had wild rushing numbers too.
Let’s get to the rushing stats later. For now, let’s focus on passing.
2,542 YDS, 30 TD, and 6 INT.
Those numbers include his BCS Championship performance – but honestly that performance does not matter much, he threw for just 35 yards and 1 INT in that game.
Anyways – 2,542 YDS is the fewest thrown by a Heisman winning QB since, yep, Eric Crouch. Every QB to win the Heisman since then has surpassed 2,542 YDS passing.
Aside from Eric Crouch, the most recent QB to win the Heisman and throw for less yards than Troy Smith was in 1971. Pat Sullivan – from Auburn – threw for 2,262 YDS while winning the award that season.
In 1988 Barry Sanders won the award. His rushing yards and touchdowns eclipse what Troy Smith put up throwing the football in 2006.
Smith played in 12 regular season games in 2006. He failed to pass for 200 yards in six of those games. He threw for over 300 yards once in 2006.
Now I know you are going to say, “wait dude, Troy Smith is African-American, he probably had great rushing stats for a quarterback.”
Fine, let’s take a look at his rushing stats
Yikes. Not great numbers there. In 2005 he ran for over 600 yards and 11 TD. His numbers fell off big time his Senior year.
If we combine the numbers – we are still looking at just 2,746 Total Yards and 31 combined TD.
Let’s compare that to everyone else in 2006:
Troy Smith finds himself out of the Top 20 with those numbers. He has less than half of the total yards that Colt Brennan put up at Hawaii.
I know what you’re going to say, “OK fine, he was an efficient passer – let’s look at his pass efficiency rating.”
Fine, here you go:
Whoa – 7th? Falling behind Brennan makes sense. However, Smith wasn’t even on the level of Tyler Palko, John Beck, Kevin Kolb, Jared Zebransky or JaMarcus Russell.
Troy Smith was a solid QB – but was he the best player in the country? Probably not. I need to figure out how he won this thing.
Could not find one – not very Heisman-like of him.
The Ohio State Buckeyes were the #1 team in the country through the entire 2006 season.
They beat #2 Texas on the road early in the year.
They ended their regular season defeating #2 Michigan. Along they way they also beat #24 Penn State and #13 Iowa.
It is hard to believe, but they were ranked #1 in every single poll for the length of the season. That is, until they lost to Florida in the BCS championship.
Troy Smith was the key player on the best team heading into bowl season.
Who Deserved to Win The Heisman?
If Troy Smith was not deserving – then who should have won the Heisman Trophy in 2006?
Let’s take a look at the final voting results:
|1||Troy Smith*||Ohio State||SR||QB||801||62||13||2540|
|3||Brady Quinn*||Notre Dame||SR||QB||13||276||191||782|
|4||Steve Slaton*||West Virginia||SO||RB||6||51||94||214|
|8||Ian Johnson*||Boise State||JR||RB||1||13||44||73|
|10||Calvin Johnson*||Georgia Tech||JR||WR||1||8||24||43|
Troy Smith was named on 94.8% of Heisman ballots, the second highest amount of all time. Marcus Mariota was named on 95.16% of ballots in 2014.
Troy Smith also had the second largest margin of victory – beating Darren McFadden by 1,662 points. O.J. Simpson (USC) won the award over Leroy Keyes (Purdue) by 1,750 points in 1968.
The Case for Darren McFadden:
Arkansas was such a cool team in 2006. They had one of the greatest backfields of all time: Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, and Peyton Hillis.
McFadden surpassed 100 yards rushing in seven games. He had a season high of 219 yards against South Carolina.
His receiving numbers were light – 11 receptions for 145 YDS and 1 TD.
He was also 7/9 passing on the year for 69 YDS, 3 TD, and 1 INT.
The Case for Brady Quinn:
Brady Quinn was better than Troy Smith. He was a four year starter at Notre Dame, and also pretty good. Four year starter + Notre Dame + Pretty Good = Heisman contender.
Notre Dame started the year ranked #2 and floated in and out of the top ten throughout the season. They ended the regular season with a 10-2 record – their losses coming to #11 Michigan and #3 USC.
The Case for Steve Slaton:
Steve Slaton led the backfield for one of the most exciting offenses in college football. Paired with Pat White – the two were electric for the West Virginia Mountaineers for many years.
2006 was an impressive year for Slaton. He rushed for over 100 yards in ten games, and over 200 yards twice. His season high came against Pitt when he ran for 215 yards and 2 TD on 23 attempts. He also had 6 receptions for 130 yards and 2 TD in that game.
The Mountaineers were a top 10 team most of the season – peaking at #3 after a 7-0 start. They finished with an 11-2 record. Their losses came to #5 Louisville and South Florida.
Truth be told, Slaton has a stronger case than McFadden for this award. He performed better and played for a better team.
The Case for Mike Hart:
Mike Hart was a solid 4-year starter for the Wolverines. In 2006, he set career highs for rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing TDs.
The Wolverines started the year with an 11 game winning streak, including a big win on the road at #2 Notre Dame. They peaked at #2 in the AP poll. They eventually fell to #1 Ohio State in their last game of the season – and again lost in the Rose Bowl to USC.
Hart had nine games with over 100 rushing yards. His season high was 195 yards against Minnesota.
The Case for Colt Brennan:
Colt Brennan was legit. He consistently put up video game numbers.
In 2006 Brennan set the single season Passing TD record – a record that still stands to this day. He threw for 58 touchdown passes. He also threw for the second most yards ever in a single season – 5,549. A number that has now fallen to 5th on the list.
If we throw his rushing yards into the mix – he ranks second in all time total yards in a single season – with 5,915 yards.
So the numbers are there, how was his competition and how did Hawaii do?
The Warriors finished with an 11-3 record. Their losses came on the road to Alabama, at Boise State, and in their last regular season game at home to Oregon State. They only defeated one power 5 team – Purdue.
The Case for Ian Johnson:
Here we have another WAC player in contention for the biggest award in college sports. So how can Ian Johnson possibly justify getting the award?
Ian Johnson finished 4th in the nation in rushing yards with 1,713 yards – he also led the nation with 25 rushing TDs.
Johnson topped 100 rushing yards in eight games prior to Heisman voting. His season high came against Oregon State when he rushed for 240 yards and 5 TD.
Boise State worked their way from unranked all the way up to #9 prior to Heisman voting. They finished the year with a win against #7 Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Case for Ray Rice:
Ray Rice was one of the best backs in college football in 2006. He was second in the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns. He put up big numbers in a weakened and not what it used to be Big East.
Ray Rice topped 100 rushing yards in nine games – his season high came against Pitt when he rushed for 225 YDS.
Rutgers was a solid team. They started the year unranked and peaked at #7. They entered bowl season with a 10-2 record and as the #16 team in the country.
So…Who Deserved the Heisman?
The RBs all put up pretty similar rushing numbers.
- McFadden – 1,647 – 14 TD
- Slaton – 1,744 – 16 TD
- Hart – 1,562 – 14 TD
- Johnson – 1,713 – 25 TD
- Rice – 1,794 – 20 TD
I guess the nod goes to Slaton there – he tops 2,000 total yards when you consider receiving. He also faced better competition throughout the year.
Now let’s look at QBs.
- Troy Smith – 2,542 YDS, 30 TD, and 6 INT
- Brady Quinn – 3,426 YDS, 37 TD and 7 INT
- Colt Brennan – 5,549 YDS, 58 TD and 12 INT
The numbers from Brennan are almost comical. Smith was clearly not the top QB of this class – he definitely should not have taken home the Heisman.
If I had a vote in 2006, it would have looked like this:
- Colt Brennan – Hawaii
- Steve Slaton – West Virginia
- Brady Quinn – Notre Dame
In my next edition of Horrible Heismans – I’m coming for someone from Alabama. The 2009 Heisman vote was despicable – Mark Ingram did not deserve the award that year.