Oregon Ducks QB Marcus Mariota is going to win the 2014 Heisman Trophy on Saturday. Oh, I’m sorry. Should I have said “Spoiler Alert?” While the official announcement will come in a few days, if you didn’t already know that Mariota was going to win college football’s most prestigious individual honor then, clearly, you haven’t been paying attention this season. Mariota is not only going to win the Heisman, but he is going to do so in runaway fashion. He will become the first ever Oregon player to win the Heisman. He will become the first ever Hawaii-born player to win the Heisman. He will win by a huge margin over Wisconsin Badgers RB Melvin Gordon and Alabama Crimson Tide WR Amari Cooper. He will not, however, win the Heisman in the biggest landslide vote in history.
But he may come pretty darned close.
In 1993, Florida State Seminoles QB (and future New York Knicks basketball prospect) received a record-setting 93.6 percent of the vote on his way to a Heisman victory and national championship. Ward beat out the likes of Tennessee Volunteers QB Heath Shuler and Alabama RB David Palmer. Both had very good seasons, but they paled in comparison to Ward’s. Ward received 740 first place votes out of a possible 790.
Ohio State QB Troy Smith was a blowout winner in 2006, taking home the Heisman with 91 percent of the votes. Smith received 801 first place votes out of a possible 880. The 801 first place votes remains the most in Heisman voting history. Smith beat out the likes of Arkansas Razorbacks RB Darren McFadden and Notre Dame Fighting Irish QB Brady Quinn.
Mariota will add his name to Heisman history folklore on Saturday night. He will win, and it will not be close. I just don’t think that he will win by a wider margin or receive a larger margin of first place votes than Ward or Smith. After all, while Mariota has had the best season in 2014, Gordon did rush for the fourth most yards in NCAA history this past season and turned in the most rushing yards in a single game, until that record was broken about a week later after lasting for over a decade. Cooper was the best player for the best team heading into the inaugural College Football Playoff. Neither can stake the claim that they should win the Heisman over Mariota, but both should receive enough votes to keep Ward’s record safe.