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Trophy Club
August 25, 2009
By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

The Southeastern Conference can claim superiority with three consecutive national championships. But the SEC and the rest of college football has to take a back seat to the Big 12 Conference when it comes to the sport's iconic individual award.

In the 13 years the Big 12 has been in existence, it has been dominant when it comes to the Heisman Trophy voting. It has had four winners - Ricky Williams of Texas in 1998, Eric Crouch of Nebraska in 2001, Jason White of Oklahoma in 2001 and Sam Bradford of Oklahoma last year. The Pacific-10 and Big Ten conferences each have three Heisman winners since 1996.

The Big 12 also has a decisive edge in the voting. Based on the top five vote getters each year, the Big 12 has 54 points (five points for a first place, four for a second, etc.). The SEC and Big Ten are tied for second with 34 points.

Over the last 13 years, the Big 12 has had a player finish in the top five 10 times, missing out in 1999, 2002 and 2006. No other conference has a similar success rate. And four times the Big 12 has had more than one player in the top five - including last year when the Conference had four of the top five vote getters.

This year's Heisman Trophy race is unique as the top three finishers from last season return (that's happened just once before). Last year, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford became only the second sophomore to win the Heisman - the first was Florida's Tim Tebow in 2007.

Tebow, who finished third last season, and Bradford will both try to become the second player to win two Heismans (Archie Griffin of Ohio State did it in 1974 and 1975). Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, who finished second to Bradford in last year's Heisman voters, is back for his senior year.

Tebow became the seventh player to win the Heisman and then finish in the top five the following season. He became the third player (all quarterbacks) to win the Heisman and then finish third the following season.

Only one player - Oklahoma's Billy Sims - has finished first one season and then second the next. Sims won the Heisman in 1978 but was runner up to USC's Charles White in 1979.

Based on history, McCoy has slightly less than a 50-50 chance to win the 2009 Heisman. There have been nine second-place finishers who finished in the top five the following year and four of those won - Michigan's Tom Harmon in 1940, Army's Glenn Davis in 1946, USC's O.J. Simpson in 1968 and Georgia's Herschel Walker in 1982.


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