Tuesday Doomsday: History and Math Suggest Johnny Football Will Not Win the Heisman Trophy Again


This is the sixth post in the Tuesday Doomsday series.  Previously, downfalls were predicted for GurshallJadeveon ClowneyTajh Boyd, Will Muschamp and Teddy Bridgewater.

 

In some regards this article was a long time coming.  When predicting that an entity will fall short of expectations, the easiest place to start is with the pinnacle of current success.  Case in point: if I want to predict which NBA team will disappoint in 2013 one team seems like an odds-on-favorite:  the Miami Heat.  Miami returns its nucleus, the best player on the planet, a host of other weapons and a lot of momentum.  But anything short of being the best is failure for the two-time defending champs.  Do I expect the Heat to miss the playoffs?  No. But even making the playoffs and winning in rounds one, two and three before losing in round four is still coming up short.  There is a much higher chance for disappointment next year with Miami Heat (82-23 overall record including playoffs) than with Orlando (20-62 in 2012) even though Miami is light-years ahead as a team.

I say all of that to say:  It’s not exactly ground-breaking to say that a Heisman Trophy, in this instance Johnny Manziel, winner may take a step back.  And perhaps the very obvious nature of that prediction is why I’ve been slow to write this.

 

The History

History alone strongly opposes back-to-back Heisman winners.  In total the award has been handed out 78 times.  Fifty-Six of those winners were seniors and therefore eliminated from living up to expectations the following season – at least at the collegiate level.  Here is how the other twenty-two winners shake out:

  • Nine (Roger Staubach – 1963, Herschel Walker – 1982, Barry Sanders – 1988, Andre Ware – 1989, Desmond Howard – 1991, Rashaan Salaam – 1994, Charles Woodson – 1997, Cam Newton – 2010, Robert Griffin III – 2011) did not return for another season of college football.  Instead, they went pro early.
  • Ten (Doc Blancherd – 1945, Doak Walker – 1948, Vic Janowicz – 1950, Billy Sims – 1978, Ty Detmer – 1990, Jason White – 2003, Matt Leinart – 2004, Tim Tebow – 2007, Sam Bradford – 2008, Mark Ingram – 2009) returned to college football but failed to win another Heisman Trophy.
  • Nineteen of the 22 are now covered.  Two of the 22 belong to Archie Griffin – the lone repeat Heisman winner (1974 and 1975).
  • That leaves only Johnny Manziel.

 

Johnny Football didn’t have the option of going pro – so I’m taking the “not playing” option off the table (although at any time Manziel could be seriously injured or decide that he really, really, really hates college and could then quit).  That means that 10 out of 11 stars with whom Manziel could be compared (those Heisman winners that returned) failed to repeat.  Add some math to that history and Johnny has a 9.09% chance of repeating.  Those are slim odds for anything, but when the condition in question is “Being the Best in the Country,” those odds are steepened.

 

The Statistics

“But,” you may be saying, “Johnny Manziel was the first freshman to ever win the award.”  That is true and that certainly makes him unique.  But if you remove that special circumstance, you can deduce that although he got there faster (although to be fair: as a redshirt freshman he had been in college as long as Tim Tebow – a true sophomore) but put up eerily similar numbers to the following Heisman-winning QBs:

Winning Year

Player

School

Total Offfense

Total TDs

1990

Ty Detmer

BYU

4929

44

2003

Jason White

Oklahoma

3640

41

2004

Matt Leinart

USC

2957

31

2007

Tim Tebow

Florida

3970

51

2008

Sam Bradford

Oklahoma

4529

53

2012

Johnny Manziel

Texas A&M

4600

43

 

A few notes on those numbers:

  • These are numbers prior to Heisman voting – so they do not include Bowl Games.  In general, when I speak on Heisman campaigns I will ignore games that occur after voting.  Those may be interesting or indicative of correct or incorrect polling but they had no bearing on votes cast.
  • When I say, “Manziel’s numbers are eerily similar,” that is not a bad thing at all.  Remember: these are all players deemed to be the most outstanding in the country.   The five other players on the list averaged 4005 yards of offense (Manziel bested that) and 44 total TDs (he lagged slightly).  This is a good group to fit in with.

 

But, how did those players who returned hold up during the following season?

Year

Player

School

Total Offense

Total TDs

1991

Ty Detmer

BYU

3651

37

2004

Jason White

Oklahoma

2913

33

2005

Matt Leinart

USC

3484

33

2008

Tim Tebow

Florida

3079

40

2009

Sam Bradford

Oklahoma*

3264

24

 

With regards to these numbers:

  • To keep things even I again excluded Bowl Games.
  • Sam Bradford’s numbers are projected (he was hurt early during Game 3, so I multiplied his total performance prior to injury by six to get a rough estimate for a 12-game slate).
  • Only Matt Leinart advanced in yardage (although he somehow hurt his draft stock in the process).  He was also the lone player to advance in total TDs.

 

The graphs below display the total impact of these declines.  And, so that I’m not accused of randomly selecting data: THIS DATA REFLECTS EVERY SINGLE HEISMAN WINNING QUARTERBACK WHO RETURNED TO PLAY THE NEXT SEASON AFTER WINNING THE HEISMAN TROPHY.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  ONE. EVER.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

 

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

 

Application:

So what does this mean for Johnny Manziel?  If the historical (and mathematical) precedents hold then in 2013 Manziel will account for a little less than 82% of his 2012 total offense accumulation and a little over 75% of his TD production.  What do those numbers look like?

  • 3765 yards of offense
  • 33 TDs

 

Those are certainly respectable numbers, but do they win the Heisman?  Probably not.  Put it this way: last year Aaron Murray came pretty darn close to numbers while putting up a passer rating nearly 20 points better than Manziel, and he didn’t get serious Heisman consideration.  And, even as a Georgia fan, I’m not complaining about that.

Combine that notion with the fact that there is absolutely no historical precedent for crap like this happening once – let alone twice – and I feel confident in predicting that Manziel will not win the Heisman Trophy in 2013.

 

That’s all I got/

Andrew

About dudeyoucrazy

College Football Writer

Posted on July 9, 2013, in Blog, Georgia Bulldogs, Texas A&M and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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