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« Heismandments, Extrapolated | Main | Website Interruptus »

The Heismandments

Below is one of the more accurate but never-before-articulated items of analysis I've seen in all of sport.

It is a list of qualifications for the Heisman Trophy---"Heismandments"---as presented by HeismanPundit. I'll gladly save it in the "intelligence" blog category, for future reference.

The Rules (the 10 Heismandments)

Heismanpundit.com has compiled its 10 rules to winning the Heisman--"The 10 Heismandments," if you will. The more Heismandments that apply to a player, the better his chances to win.


1. The winner must be a quarterback, a running back, or a multi-threat athlete.

2. The winner must be a junior or senior.
Caveat: Obviously, though no freshman or sophomore has ever won the award, it is likely that someday someone will. But, it would take an extremely weak field for this to happen. The athlete would almost certainly have to play for a traditional power competing for the national championship and, if a sophomore, have had a breakthrough first season.

3. The winner must put up good numbers in big games on TV.

4. The winner must have some prior name recognition.
The only way to overcome lack of prior name recognition is by producing a season that is head and shoulders above the other challengers.

5. The winner must be one or more of the following three:

a. The top player on a national title contender.

b. A player who puts up good numbers for a traditional power that has a good record.

c. A player who puts up superlative single-season or career numbers on a good team, or numbers which are way out ahead of his Heisman competitors.

6. The winner cannot be considered an obvious product of his team's system.
Call this the Andre Ware rule. Basically, this means that voters are unimpressed by huge stats put up by an individual in offensive systems conducive for huge numbers. Voters at one time were impressed (back when many of these systems were new and in vogue), but most have reached a level of sophistication that they are no longer completely fooled by big numbers alone. They will also look at the how the candidate fared against good teams and if the numbers are lacking, the player will suffer.

7. If you are a quarterback or running back at the following schools, you have a good chance to win if you have a very good statistical season, are an upperclassmen and your team wins at least 9 games:
Notre Dame, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio State, Michigan, Miami and Florida State. These 9 teams have won 10 of the last 13 Heismans and six of the last seven.

8. There are statistical benchmarks for each position in order to be considered:

a. If you are a running back, you need to gain at least 2,000 yards if you are not on a traditional power or a national championship contender. This is actually a number that is slowly rising as more backs hit that mark. If you are on a traditional power or national title contender, you must gain at least 1,700 yards. In either case, you also must score at least 17 touchdowns.

b. If you are a passing quarterback on a traditional power or national title contender, you need to pass for at least 3,000 yards and must have at least a 2-1 touchdown to interception ratio, with at least 20 TD passes and an efficiency rating of at least 135.0.

c. If you are a running quarterback on a traditional power or a national title contender, you must reach the 1,000-yard mark rushing in spectacular fashion and also be a decent passer.

d. If you are a multi-threat athlete, you can only win if you produce spectacular plays on special teams, specifically kick and punt returns.

9. There will never be another two-time Heisman winner.

10. The winner must be likeable.

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