The Greatest College Football Player

Is Tim Tebow the greatest college football player of the post-World War II era?

Not yet – at least by one assessment method.

Like many college football fans, the history of the game holds great allure for me. I grew up reading about the exploits of real and fictional football heroes. Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside (Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis of Army), Roger the Dodger (Staubach), Archie Who (Manning), and other authentic campus heroes helped introduce me to the sport.

Similarly, there were whole series of Frank Merriwell tales and Matt Christopher short novels to devour as a teenager, books extolling the virtues of sportsmanship, selflessness, and courage. Great stuff.

Watching Tebow sludge through the mud and muck to lead Florida past FSU to close the regular season, then seeing him will his Gators past a tough Alabama team in the SEC title contest, and finally witnessing the big QB dominate the second half of the National Championship game against Oklahoma … well, Tebow seems cut from the same cloth as those gridiron greats real and fictional.

While calling any player the greatest is a subjective venture, if Tebow wins the 2009 Heisman Trophy, he will join Glenn “Mr. Outside” Davis of Army atop the list of greatest Heisman winners using the points scale below.

Two disclaimers:

· Ranking only Heisman winners excludes defensive standouts like Lawrence Taylor, Dick Butkus, and Deion Sanders.

· Some terrific players (most notably Jim Brown) never won the award.

Here is the points formula used for Heisman finishes:
1st Place= 5 points
2nd Place = 4 points
3rd Place = 3 points
4th Place = 2 points
5th Place = 1 point

Based on that formula … here are the top Heisman Trophy finishers Tebow can catch or surpass by winning the 2009 award.

1. Glenn Davis, Army: 13 points
· 1946: Winner
· 1945: 2nd
· 1944: 2nd

2. Herschel Walker, Georgia: 12 points
· 1982: Winner
· 1981: 2nd
· 1980: 3rd

3. (Tie) Doak Walker, SMU and Archie Griffin, Ohio State 11 Points
· Walker: 1st in 1948 and 3rd in 1947 and 1949
· Griffin: 1st in 1974 and 1975, 5th in 1973

4. (Tie) Tom Harmon, Michigan; Angelo Bertelli, Notre Dame; O.J. Simpson, USC; and Billy Sims, Oklahoma 9 Points
· Harmon: 1st in 1940 and 2nd in 1939
· Bertelli: 1st in 1943 and 2nd in 1941
· Simpson: 1st in 1968 and 2nd in 1967
· Sims: 1st in 1978 and 2nd in 1979

5. Tebow is tied with several others at 8 points:
· Johnny Lujack, Notre Dame
· Billy Cannon, LSU
· Doug Flutie, Boston College
· Ty Detmer, BYU
· Danny Wuerffel, Florida
· Jason White, Oklahoma
· Matt Leinart, USC

6. Heisman winners tied with 7 points:
· Frank Sinkwich, Georgia
· Doc Blanchard
· Gary Beban, UCLA
· Tony Dorsett, Pitt
· Charles White, USC

7. Heisman winners tied with 6 points:
· Johnny Lattner, Notre Dame
· Paul Hornung, Notre Dame
· Vinny Testaverde, Miami
· Ricky Williams, Texas
· Reggie Bush, USC

8. All other Heisman winners scored 5 points by virtue of winning the award. The full list is below.

· Source of Year-by Year Voting totals: Rivals Heisman Trophy Voting

List of Heisman Winners

1935: Jay Berwanger Chicago
1936: Larry Kelley Yale
1937: Clint Frank Yale
1938: Davey O’Brien TCU
1939: Nile Kinnick Iowa
1940: Tom Harmon Michigan
1941: Bruce Smith Minnesota
1942: Frank Sinkwich Georgia
1943: Angelo Bertelli Notre Dame
1944: Les Horvath Ohio State
1945: Doc Blanchard Army
1946: Glenn Davis Army
1947: Johnny Lujack Notre Dame
1948: Doak Walker SMU
1949: Leon Hart Notre Dame
1950: Vic Janowicz Ohio State
1951: Dick Kazmeier Princeton
1952: Billy Vessels Oklahoma
1953 Johnny Lattner Notre Dame
1954: Alan Ameche Wisconsin
1955: Howard “Hopalong” Cassidy Ohio State
1956: Paul Hornung Notre Dame
1957: John David Crow Texas A&M
1958: Pete Dawkins Army
1959: Billy Cannon LSU
1960: Joe Bellino Navy
1961: Ernie Davis Syracuse
1962: Terry Baker Oregon State
1963: Roger Staubach Navy
1964: John Huarte Notre Dame
1965: Mike Garrett USC
1966: Steve Spurrier Florida
1967: Gary Beban UCLA
1968: O.J. Simpson USC
1969: Steve Owens Oklahoma
1970: Jim Plunkett Stanford
1971: Pat Sullivan Auburn
1972: Johnny Rodgers Nebraska
1973: John Cappelletti Penn State
1974: Archie Griffin Ohio State
1975: Archie Griffin Ohio State
1976: Tony Dorsett Pitt
1977: Earl Campbell Texas
1978: Billy Sims Oklahoma
1979: Charles White USC
1980: George Rogers South Carolina
1981: Marcus Allen USC
1982: Herschel Walker Georgia
1983: Mike Rozier Nebraska
1984: Doug Flutie Boston College
1985: Bo Jackson Auburn
1986: Vinny Testaverde Miami
1987: Tim Brown Notre Dame
1988: Barry Sanders Oklahoma State
1989: Andre Ware Houston
1990: Ty Detmer BYU
1991: Desmond Howard Michigan
1992: Gino Torreta Miami
1993: Charlie Ward FSU
1994: Rashaan Salaam Colorado
1995: Eddie George Ohio State
1996: Danny Wuerffel Florida
1997: Charles Woodson Michigan
1998: Ricky Williams Texas
1999: Ron Dayne Wisconsin
2000: Chris Weinke FSU
2001: Eric Crouch Nebraska
2002: Carson Palmer USC
2003: Jason White Oklahoma
2004: Matt Leinart USC
2005: Reggie Bush USC
2006: Troy Smith Ohio State
2007: Tim Tebow Florida
2008: Sam Bradford Oklahoma


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