Reversing the Curse

December 15, 2014

The Heisman Trophy will be awarded on Saturday, and two of this year's finalists—Alabama WR Amari Cooper and Oregon QB Marcus Mariota—also have a chance to win the national championship. After years of Heisman winners falling flat in the biggest game of the year, Cooper or Mariota can continue a modest streak of players who have won both trophy and title. Here is a look at how Heisman winners have fared over the past four decades when a win also meant finishing No. 1.

1970s

(1--3)

Ohio State RB Archie Griffin ('74 and '75) won two Heismans, but the Buckeyes lost both bowl games that would have given them at least a share of a title. The next year Tony Dorsett carried Pitt to a crown with 202 yards in the Sugar Bowl.

1980s

(0--3)

Running backs Herschel Walker (Georgia, '82) and Mike Rozier (Nebraska, '83) played well in losing causes for their top-ranked teams, but Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde, the '86 winner, threw five interceptions against Penn State in a 14--10 Fiesta Bowl defeat.

1990s

(3--1)

Like Testaverde, Gino Toretta ('92) stumbled in a title tilt for the Canes, throwing three picks in a blowout loss to Alabama. Fellow Sunshine State QBs Charlie Ward (Florida State, '93) and Danny Wuerffel (Florida, '96) helped their teams finish No. 1.

2000s

(2--6)

Only Matt Leinart (USC, '04) and Mark Ingram (Alabama, '09) were able to avoid the fate suffered by a half-dozen fellow Heisman winners in the decade, including Oklahoma QBs Jason White ('03) and Sam Bradford ('08).

2010s

(2--0)

Heisman winners have won their last five bowl games overall, two of them BCS title games this decade for Cam Newton (Auburn, '10) and Jameis Winston (Florida State, '13).

THEY SAID IT

"It's certainly a major consideration."

BOB BOWLSBY

Big 12 commissioner talking about adding teams and a championship after his league was left out of the playoff; Baylor finished No. 5, and TCU was No. 6.

PHOTOGEORGE LONG/WIREIMAGE.COM (GRIFFIN) PHOTOANDY HAYT/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (TESTAVERDE) PHOTOJOHN BIEVER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (TORETTA) PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (LEINART) PHOTOROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (NEWTON) PHOTOJEFF MOFFETT/ICON SPORTSWIRE (BOWLSBY)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)