The Heisman Trophy goes to the "best" player in college football, and BC hasn't been in that converation in more than a quarter of a century. Of course the venerable Doug Flutie was BC's one and only Heisman winner back in 1984. Will BC ever create a player that could be a Heisman Trophy winner? An interesting question to say the least. Over at the blog The Heisman Pundit, they created the "10 Heismandments" for all future Heisman winners. Let's use their criteria to see if a BC player will ever possibly win this prestigious award.
1. The winner must be a quarterback, a running back, or a multi-threat athlete
Doesn't sound like too hard of a criteria. BC have had plenty of athletes that could qualify under the first rule. Willie Green, Matt Ryan, Derrick Knight just to name a few. Even this year Montel Harris could be someone who could qualify under this first rule (and who knows, maybe he could put up Heisman numbers, anything is possible). This rule would immediately disqualify players like Mark Herzlich who probably had BC's most dominating defensive campaign in 2008.
2. Juniors and seniors have the overwhelming advantage in the Heisman race and, as a general rule, will win over an underclassman. But a sophomore from a traditional power who puts up extraordinary single-season numbers can’t be discounted.
Makes sense, I don't think this rule has much to do with Boston College, because if you look at BC's all-time best individual performances, they are usually turned in by a senior or junior. Matt Ryan's junior and senior seasons were among the all time bests, same with Flutie's. Which begs the question again, if Montel Harris is going to improve again, what could we expect this season?
3. The winner must put up good numbers in big games on TV.
This is where BC is going to, and has been, hurt in a lot of ways. During Matt Ryan's senior season, he was defeated by FSU on national television, knocking the then #2 BC down the polls. BC has notoriously had poor showings in the ACC Championship Games, and over the past two seasons they have struggled against teams with winning records. This year BC has three nationally televised games; FSU, Notre Dame and Miami. None of which are gimmes. In order for BC to produce a Heisman caliber candidate they need to start winning these types of games and show the rest of the nation, that BC is an elite ACC school.
4. The winner must have some prior name recognition.
Another difficult hurdle for anyone coming out of Boston College. Now that Matt Ryan Era is long gone, most of the Eagles are considered "unknowns" by most non-ACC college football fans. Using previous criteria that it has to be QB/RB would quickly eliminate our best player, Luke Kuechly. Montel Harris is known by most, but for many he's just another name on a mediocre BC team. Prior name recognition has to come from winning those big games on national TV. Can you imagine how big Harris would become if he put up huge numbers against Florida State on a Thursday Night game? That would be the kind of output that would catapult him onto the National Stage.
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 and 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.
Let's take these one by one. "The top player on a national title contender." That isn't happening any time soon.
"A player who puts up good numbers for a traditional power that has a good record." Again, I consider BC a good team, but not a traditional power. Oklahoma, Notre Dame, USC and Florida are traditional powers. Next.
"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." Even when we have had great players at BC, they have never put up "superlative numbers." When I think of that, I think of Tim Tebow's years at Florida or what Cam Newton accomplished last year. Freak statistics. Given the "pro style" of our offense, and the questions surrounding Chase Rettig, I just don't see this happening anytime soon. BC has tried to have mobile QB's in the past with Dominique Davis and Justin Tuggle, but neither worked out. Even with Kevin Rogers as the offensive coordinator, it's hard to imagine them abandoning the pocket passer style now.
6. The winner cannot be considered an obvious product of his team's system.
Boston College never has been a system school, like, say, Houston or Hawaii. Don't think this would be applicable to a BC player.
7. If you are a quarterback, running back or multi-purpose athlete at one of 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, Florida and Florida State.
Wow. That pretty much seals the deal there. When is the last time at least one of these teams did not have a player that was not a superstar? They are the powerhouse schools, and because of that, they are going to be on national television, bring in the best recruits and have the best coaches. That is a pretty high mountain to climb for any potential BC Heisman candidate.
8. There are statistical benchmarks for each position in order to be considered:
a) 2,000 yards rushing on a non traditional powerhouse and 15 TDs
Harris could probably run for the 15 TD's, he had 14 in 2009. but the yards expectation will never happen. Harris has only ran for 1400 yards in a season. If BC continues to build great offensive lines, running backs are going to continue having huge games, this could be a trend that continues into the future. Then again, the Heisman Committee might start thinking running backs from BC are benefiting from a great OL system.
b) For a QB: 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
Could happen again, Matt Ryan threw for 4500 yards in 2007, though his TD to INT ratio wasn't where it should be. Honestly, with a solid OC that keeps Spaz in check, I don't think these numbers are all that out of reach for a BC QB. Will Rettig put up these kind of numbers this year? Probably not, but who's to say that he doesn't progress by his junior or senior year under the watchful eye of a competent OC.
9. There will never be another two-time Heisman winner.
Not to worry, if BC is going to struggle to produce just one Heisman winner, I can't imagine we'd bring in a talent that could be on the Tim Tebow level that demands Heisman talk every year.
10. The winner must be likeable.
Cam Newton won last year even with the controversy surrounding him. For many his transfer to Auburn symbolized the greed and corruption that plague college sports. Even if he seems like a likeable person (which he does), it is hard to overlook the scandal that surrounds him, and makes it very difficult for Newton to be a completely likeable person.
Just looking at this list of possible requirements makes it seem like it will be very difficult, but not impossible, for Boston College to produce another Heisman Candidate. BC needs to continue to build a program that demands wins, which will in turn bring in better talent. Will this happen with Spaz?
Doug Flutie's historic 1984 performance might be a once in a lifetime treat for BC fans. Remember, even with his fantastic 2007 season, Matt Ryan wasn't even a Heisman Finalist. And with the current roster, it's hard to see a player outshine stars from schools like Auburn and Alabama.