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Published: Dec. 10, 2014 at 01:42 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 10, 2014 at 02:05 p.m.

Top 10 Heisman Trophy snubs

There seems to be zero doubt that Oregon QB Marcus Mariota wins the 2014 Heisman Trophy.

He is one of three finalists, and the biggest mystery is which of the other finalists -- Alabama WR Amari Cooper and Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon -- will be the first to shake Mariota's hand once he is announced as the winner.

But let's play the "what if?" game: What if for some mind-boggling reason Mariota doesn't win? Would that be the biggest Heisman snub in history? Yes, it would.

When "Heisman snubs" are mentioned, the names most often heard are Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and Vince Young -- as in, "How did Peyton/Adrian/Vince not win the Heisman?" Actually, strong cases can be made for the guys who beat out each of that trio to win the award (Michigan's Charles Woodson in 1997 over Manning, USC's Matt Leinart in 2004 over Peterson and USC's Reggie Bush in 2005 over Young). You want real Heisman snubs? Here are the top 10.

10 Photos Total

  • <b>The winner:</b> Notre Dame WR Tim Brown<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Brown caught 39 passes for 846 yards and three TDs, ran for 144 yards and a TD and had 857 return yards and three touchdowns. Those aren't Heisman numbers. McPherson threw for 2,341 yards and 22 TDs, rushed for 230 yards and five scores and also caught a TD pass in helping Syracuse finish 11-0-1. He was second in the voting. 10

    10. Syracuse QB Don McPherson, 1987

    The winner: Notre Dame WR Tim Brown
    The skinny: Brown caught 39 passes for 846 yards and three TDs, ran for 144 yards and a TD and had 857 return yards and three touchdowns. Those aren't Heisman numbers. McPherson threw for 2,341 yards and 22 TDs, rushed for 230 yards and five scores and also caught a TD pass in helping Syracuse finish 11-0-1. He was second in the voting.

  • <b>The winner:</b> Notre Dame HB Johnny Lattner<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Lattner edged Giel by just 56 votes, the third-closest margin of all time. Lattner didn't lead the Irish in rushing, passing, receiving or scoring. But he did help Notre Dame to a 9-0-1 record, which garnered the Irish recognition from some selectors as the national titlist -- and certainly played a role in Lattner winning the Heisman. Giel remains one of the best players in Minnesota history, but the Gophers were just 4-4-1 in 1953. Giel, who later <a href="http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gielpa01.shtml" target="new">played pro baseball</a> (he went directly to the majors from college) and eventually was Minnesota's AD, rushed for 749 yards and nine TDs and threw for 590 yards and four scores. 9

    9. Minnesota TB Paul Giel, 1953

    The winner: Notre Dame HB Johnny Lattner
    The skinny: Lattner edged Giel by just 56 votes, the third-closest margin of all time. Lattner didn't lead the Irish in rushing, passing, receiving or scoring. But he did help Notre Dame to a 9-0-1 record, which garnered the Irish recognition from some selectors as the national titlist -- and certainly played a role in Lattner winning the Heisman. Giel remains one of the best players in Minnesota history, but the Gophers were just 4-4-1 in 1953. Giel, who later played pro baseball (he went directly to the majors from college) and eventually was Minnesota's AD, rushed for 749 yards and nine TDs and threw for 590 yards and four scores.

  • <b>The winner:</b> Notre Dame QB John Huarte<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Huarte threw for 2,062 yards, 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and also rushed for three scores for an Irish team that went 9-1 and won the national title. Rhome, who obviously played for a lesser program, had vastly better stats: 2,870 yards, 32 TDs and just four picks for a team that went 9-2 and won the Bluebonnet Bowl. Rhome threw seven fewer interceptions despite having 121 more attempts. He finished second in the voting. 8

    8. Tulsa QB Jerry Rhome, 1964

    The winner: Notre Dame QB John Huarte
    The skinny: Huarte threw for 2,062 yards, 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and also rushed for three scores for an Irish team that went 9-1 and won the national title. Rhome, who obviously played for a lesser program, had vastly better stats: 2,870 yards, 32 TDs and just four picks for a team that went 9-2 and won the Bluebonnet Bowl. Rhome threw seven fewer interceptions despite having 121 more attempts. He finished second in the voting.

  • <b>The winner:</b> Auburn QB Pat Sullivan<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Pruitt actually finished third, behind Sullivan and Cornell RB Ed Marinaro. Sullivan threw for 2,262 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Pruitt, meanwhile, racked up 1,760 rushing yards and 18 TDs, and averaged a staggering 9.0 yards per carry. OU QB Jack Mildren, who finished sixth in the voting, ran for 1,289 yards and 20 TDs and also threw 10 TD passes. No question he and Pruitt split some votes. 7

    7. Oklahoma RB Greg Pruitt, 1971

    The winner: Auburn QB Pat Sullivan
    The skinny: Pruitt actually finished third, behind Sullivan and Cornell RB Ed Marinaro. Sullivan threw for 2,262 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Pruitt, meanwhile, racked up 1,760 rushing yards and 18 TDs, and averaged a staggering 9.0 yards per carry. OU QB Jack Mildren, who finished sixth in the voting, ran for 1,289 yards and 20 TDs and also threw 10 TD passes. No question he and Pruitt split some votes.

  • <b>The winner:</b> Ohio State RB Eddie George<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> George had excellent numbers, for sure, rushing for 1,927 yards and 24 TDs. But Frazier -- <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1LjeyApVEE" target="new">perhaps the best option quarterback</a> in college football history -- had excellent numbers himself for one of the best offenses in college football history. Frazier ran for 604 yards and 14 touchdowns, and threw for 1,362 yards and 17 touchdowns. The national-champion Huskers averaged 53.2 points per game, scoring at least 62 four times, and Frazier made them go. He finished second in the voting. 6

    6. Nebraska QB Tommie Frazier, 1995

    The winner: Ohio State RB Eddie George
    The skinny: George had excellent numbers, for sure, rushing for 1,927 yards and 24 TDs. But Frazier -- perhaps the best option quarterback in college football history -- had excellent numbers himself for one of the best offenses in college football history. Frazier ran for 604 yards and 14 touchdowns, and threw for 1,362 yards and 17 touchdowns. The national-champion Huskers averaged 53.2 points per game, scoring at least 62 four times, and Frazier made them go. He finished second in the voting.

  • <b>The winner:</b> Miami (Fla.) QB Gino Torretta<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> The Hurricanes went 11-1 in 1992 and Torretta put up good numbers: 3,060 yards, 19 TDs, seven interceptions. Again, "good" numbers. But Faulk's sophomore season numbers were better: 1,630 rushing yards with 15 TDs, and he also caught 18 passes. Faulk finished second. 5

    5. San Diego State RB Marshall Faulk, 1992

    The winner: Miami (Fla.) QB Gino Torretta
    The skinny: The Hurricanes went 11-1 in 1992 and Torretta put up good numbers: 3,060 yards, 19 TDs, seven interceptions. Again, "good" numbers. But Faulk's sophomore season numbers were better: 1,630 rushing yards with 15 TDs, and he also caught 18 passes. Faulk finished second.

  • <b>The winner:</b> Ohio State RB Archie Griffin<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Griffin is the only two-time Heisman winner, but while his 1974 Heisman was deserved, his 1975 award was not. Griffin ran for 1,450 yards and four TDs (245 fewer yards and eight fewer TDs from the season before). Muncie ran for 1,460 yards and 13 scores, and also had 39 receptions for 392 yards and two scores. Muncie finished second -- but an unbelievable 1,070 points back. 4

    4. California RB Chuck Muncie, 1975

    The winner: Ohio State RB Archie Griffin
    The skinny: Griffin is the only two-time Heisman winner, but while his 1974 Heisman was deserved, his 1975 award was not. Griffin ran for 1,450 yards and four TDs (245 fewer yards and eight fewer TDs from the season before). Muncie ran for 1,460 yards and 13 scores, and also had 39 receptions for 392 yards and two scores. Muncie finished second -- but an unbelievable 1,070 points back.

  • <b>The winner:</b> UCLA QB Gary Beban<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Archie Griffin is the only two-time winner, but Simpson should've won two before Griffin won his first. Simpson won the Heisman as a senior in 1968, rushing for 1,880 yards and 23 TDs. He was almost as good in 1967, with 1,543 yards and 13 TDs. Beban threw for 1,359 yards, eight touchdowns and seven picks, and also rushed for 227 yards and 11 scores. Simpson was second in the voting. 3

    3. USC RB O.J. Simpson, 1967

    The winner: UCLA QB Gary Beban
    The skinny: Archie Griffin is the only two-time winner, but Simpson should've won two before Griffin won his first. Simpson won the Heisman as a senior in 1968, rushing for 1,880 yards and 23 TDs. He was almost as good in 1967, with 1,543 yards and 13 TDs. Beban threw for 1,359 yards, eight touchdowns and seven picks, and also rushed for 227 yards and 11 scores. Simpson was second in the voting.

  • <b>The winner:</b> Notre Dame QB Paul Hornung<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Majors finished second, McDonald third and Brown fifth behind Hornung, who had no business winning the award. Hornung is the only Heisman winner to play on a losing team (the Irish were 2-8 that season). He ran for 420 yards and six TDs, and threw for 917 yards and three TDs; he also tossed 13 interceptions. Majors accounted for 1,001 yards, with 12 TDs and just three picks, for a team that finished 10-1. McDonald (the guy who really should've won -- and the guy who received the most first-place votes) helped OU go 10-0 and win the national title; he accounted for 1,318 yards of total offense and 19 TDs; he ran for 853 yards and 12 TDs, caught four TD passes and threw three TD passes. Brown and Syracuse went 7-2; he ran for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns, and he also caught a TD pass and threw one, too. 2

    2. Syracuse RB Jim Brown/Tennessee RB Johnny Majors/Oklahoma HB Tommy McDonald, 1956

    The winner: Notre Dame QB Paul Hornung
    The skinny: Majors finished second, McDonald third and Brown fifth behind Hornung, who had no business winning the award. Hornung is the only Heisman winner to play on a losing team (the Irish were 2-8 that season). He ran for 420 yards and six TDs, and threw for 917 yards and three TDs; he also tossed 13 interceptions. Majors accounted for 1,001 yards, with 12 TDs and just three picks, for a team that finished 10-1. McDonald (the guy who really should've won -- and the guy who received the most first-place votes) helped OU go 10-0 and win the national title; he accounted for 1,318 yards of total offense and 19 TDs; he ran for 853 yards and 12 TDs, caught four TD passes and threw three TD passes. Brown and Syracuse went 7-2; he ran for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns, and he also caught a TD pass and threw one, too.

  • <b>The winner:</b> South Carolina RB George Rogers<br />
<b>The skinny:</b> Walker was a true freshman, and his third-place finish was considered remarkable for a guy his age. But he should've won: His presence helped Georgia win the national title. He ran for 1,616 yards and 15 TDs. How reliant were the Bulldogs on Walker? Georgia QB Buck Belue completed 77 passes all season, meaning Walker basically was a one-man offense <i>for a team that won the national title</i>. Rogers had a good season, no question, with 1,781 yards and 14 TDs. But his season wasn't as good as Walker's. (Pitt DE Hugh Green finished second, and he was more deserving than Rogers, too. But not as deserving as Walker.) 1

    1. Georgia RB Herschel Walker, 1980

    The winner: South Carolina RB George Rogers
    The skinny: Walker was a true freshman, and his third-place finish was considered remarkable for a guy his age. But he should've won: His presence helped Georgia win the national title. He ran for 1,616 yards and 15 TDs. How reliant were the Bulldogs on Walker? Georgia QB Buck Belue completed 77 passes all season, meaning Walker basically was a one-man offense for a team that won the national title. Rogers had a good season, no question, with 1,781 yards and 14 TDs. But his season wasn't as good as Walker's. (Pitt DE Hugh Green finished second, and he was more deserving than Rogers, too. But not as deserving as Walker.)