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Bradford struggles against other Heisman leaders

1/19/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

One of my loyal readers, Christopher Huffman of Euless, Texas, had an interesting question for me that took a few minutes to research. But I'm happy to provide the answer.

Huffman wanted to know how rare it was for a Heisman Trophy winner like Sam Bradford to lose to both the second place and third place Heisman finishers in the season where he won the award. Bradford's Oklahoma team dropped a 45-35 decision to Texas and No. 2 Heisman finisher Colt McCoy. The Sooners also fell to Florida and the No. 3 finisher Tim Tebow, 24-14, in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game.

Two previous Heisman winners have matched Bradford's futility struggles against their top two Heisman finishers in the year when they won the award.

Ricky Williams of Texas won the Heisman in 1998, despite losing to second-place finisher Michael Bishop of Kansas State and third-place finisher Cade McNown of UCLA earlier in the season.

And 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers on South Carolina posted an 0-2 record against his two nearest finishers. The Gamecocks fell to No. 2 finisher Hugh Green and Pittsburgh and No. 3 finisher Herschel Walker and Georgia during that season.

Here's a list of how Heisman finishers did against their second-place and third-place finishers over the years. Scores of the game are listed inside the parenthesis. Winners from Big 12 schools are listed in bold.

2008 - Oklahoma's Sam Bradford was 0-2, losing to No. 2 finisher Colt McCoy of Texas (45-35) and No. 3 finisher Tim Tebow of Florida (24-14).

2005 - USC's Reggie Bush was 0-1, losing to No. 2 finisher Vince Young of Texas (41-38).

2004 - USC's Matt Leinart was 1-0, beating No. 2 finisher Adrian Peterson and No. 3 finisher Jason White of Oklahoma (55-19).

2002 - USC's Carson Palmer was 1-0, beating No. 2 finisher Brad Banks of Iowa (38-17).

2001 - Nebraska's Eric Crouch was 0-1, losing to No. 3 finisher Ken Dorsey of Miami (37-14).

2000 - Florida State's Chris Weinke was 0-1, losing to No. 2 finisher Josh Heupel of Oklahoma (13-2).

1998 - Texas' Ricky Williams was 0-2, losing to No. 2 finisher Michael Bishop of Kansas State (48-7) and No. 3 finisher Cade McNown of UCLA (49-31).

1997 - Michigan's Charles Woodson was 1-0, beating No. 3 finisher Ryan Leaf of Washington State (21-16).

1992 - Miami's Gino Torretta was 1-0, beating No. 2 finisher Marshall Faulk of San Diego State (63-17).

1991 - Michigan's Desmond Howard was 0-1, losing to No. 2 finisher Casey Weldon of Florida State (51-31).

1980 - South Carolina's George Rogers was 0-2, losing to No. 2 finisher Hugh Green of Pittsburgh (37-9) and No. 3 finisher Herschel Walker of Georgia (13-10).

1977 - Texas' Earl Campbell was 0-1, losing to No. 3 finisher Ken McAfee of Notre Dame (38-10).

1972 - Nebraska's Johnny Rodgers was 0-1, losing to No. 2 finisher Greg Pruitt of Oklahoma (17-14).

1971 - Auburn's Pat Sullivan was 0-1, losing to No. 3 finisher Greg Pruitt of Oklahoma (40-22).

1968 - USC's O.J. Simpson was 0-1-1, tying No. 3 finisher Terry Hanratty of Notre Dame (21-21).

1967 - UCLA's Gary Beban was 0-1, losing to No. 2 finisher O.J. Simpson of USC (21-20).

1956 - Notre Dame's Paul Hornung was 0-1, losing to No. 3 finisher Tommy McDonald of Oklahoma (40-0).

1954 - Wisconsin's Alan Ameche was 0-1, losing to No. 3 finisher Howard "Hopalong" Cassady of Ohio State (31-14).

1950 - Ohio State's Vic Janowicz was 0-1, losing to No. 2 finisher Kyle Rote of SMU (32-27).

1949 - Notre Dame's Leon Hart was 2-0, beating No. 2 finisher Charlie Justice of North Carolina (42-6) and beating No. 3 finisher Doak Walker of SMU (27-20).

1946 - Army's Glenn Davis was 0-0-1, tying No. 3 finisher Johnny Lujack of Notre Dame (0-0).

1943 - Notre Dame's Angelo Bertelli was 1-0, beating No. 3 finisher Otto Graham of Northwestern (25-6).

1942 - Georgia's Frankie Sinkwich was 1-0, beating No. 3 finisher Clint Castleberry of Georgia Tech (34-0).

1940 - Michigan's Tom Harmon was 0-1, losing to No. 3 finisher George Franck of Minnesota (7-6).

1939 - Iowa's Nile Kinnick was 0-1, losing to No. 2 finisher Tom Harmon of Michigan (27-7).

If anybody has any other Big 12-related questions, I'll be glad to try to answer. Thanks to Christopher for the question.