Seriously, was the Heisman Trophy ever THIS cool before? My apologies to you and you bow tie, Billy Sims; maybe this one time it actually was. (Photo by Kelly Kline/Heisman Trophy Trust via Getty Images)
If you're a college football fan and own an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3, then you're probably more than aware that EA Sports NCAA Football 13 has hit the stores. And if you own a television, you've probably seen the ads for the newest release of the franchise and know that the newest feature is an ability to take former Heisman Trophy winners and place them on any team you choose. (If you own an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, but not a television set, you either rode a short bus to high school with lots of watercolors classes or hail from Iowa City)
Needless to say the possibilities here are endless. And certainly more interesting than the RG3 in a TCU uniform, I've been seeing in print ads. (Don't worry, inside are some much funnier TV ads you may or may not have seen yet.) The question put to me was a simple one:
As a Husker fan, which former Heisman winner from another school do you most wish had played for your own?
Now, I could have just simply answered that with my favorite guy, but why jump right to that when I can make some lists? Like the Top Five I Wish Had Been Huskers and the Five I Would Almost Rather Eat The White Dog Poop Than See in The Scarlet & Cream? Read on...
Let's get bad out of the way to start things off. The first list is my bottom five. These are the guys that would most cause me to react like the dad in the ad below if walked in on my son or daughter and caught them playing with one of them as a Husker. Keep two things in mind: 1) I had a few family members who attended the University of Georgia, so I grew up a huge Dawg fan, and 2) my 12-year daughter knows this and LOVES starting seasons with Florida and happily pointing out when they kick someone's ass. So, this is not as far-fetched as you might think:
So in honor of Dads everywhere, here we go:
#5 - Any Heisman Winner Before 1966
I know a certain demographic just stopped yelling at kids to get out of their yard or hung up in mid 45-minute call with their credit union arguing over why they only got $.02 interest on the $8.23 savings account instead of $.03 to start screaming why, why, WHY??? Simple really. There's no chance I ever saw them play except in clips. Steve Spurrier won in 1966, so that seemed like a nice cutoff. Also, from the clips it looks like all these guys only played in black and white. Who needs a bunch of gray guys running around for their team? Pass.
#4 - O.J. Simpson
Hopefully, this one doesn't require much of an explanation.
#3 - Gino Torretta
First of all, he played for Miami. Second, Marshall Faulk and Garrison Hearst were finalists as well (and Hearst actually had a higher YPC in the SEC than Faulk did against...well, whoever San Diego St. played). And finally, Torretta was only about the 15th best player on Miami!! If you add a Heisman winner to your roster, I'm guessing you're looking for more than a big stiff to lob Billy Kilmers to your hopefully All-American stocked receiver corps.
#2 - Reggie Bush
This one's tougher because I'm betting he would provide loads of entertainment value. However, the "Tool" factor is so incredibly high that I had to include him. Reggie, you're not the first kid to take a bunch of cash from multiple agents unaware that there are other suitors for your services. Your just the only one not pay back the guys you didn't hire and then try to lie about it!! (Yes, I know he vacated it & probably isn't in the game, I'm just sayin')
#1 - Tim Tebow
Quite simply, he sends the "Tool" factor right thru the roof. He played for Florida, so quadruple the hatred right there. And instead of fading away or taking his place as mediocre tight end, he stays visible in the NFL with a blind following who look at him and see a combination of Dan Marino and Joe Montana when the reality is more like Kelly Stouffer and Quincy Carter. I could go on for pages, but I won't. And these kids should have their spleens removed with a rusty fork and dirty hot dog tongs:
This actually makes me physically ill. If I saw him in Husker Red, I wouldn't stop drinking until I woke up in a rehab center around Upper Manitoba somewhere. Gawd, let's just move on.
Happier times now, here are the top five, I'd most wish had been Huskers. This was a much tougher list to cob together, even if everyone who knows me fairly well probably has a pretty good idea to whom the top spot will go. Let's floss the OJ and Tebow from between our molars with this list below:
#5 - Earl Campbell
Yes, I know he's a Longhorn, but this is all about rewriting history, correct? And Campbell's style would quite frankly have fit Nebraska like no other running back we ever had. Picture those oak-sized thighs churning through the Big 8 in the 70's, dragging tacklers around and leaving them with pieces of red tear-away jerseys in their hands. Go ahead.
Now come back from your happy place, we have four more to go.
#4 - Barry Sanders
Or we can just insert one of the slipperiest all-time human highlight reels who bears no resemblance to Campbell's style whatsoever. He once torched the Red for 4 touchdowns but didn't come accompanied by a defense in a 63-42 loss. If someone didn't play for your school, but you glued yourself to Sportscenter every Saturday night or Sunday morning hoping to catch his highlights, then you wanted him on your team. You just did.
That was Barry Sanders.
#3 - Doug Flutie
This is a "let's just ignore the QB we actually had" since Flutie would have only been on campus for one year without Turner Gill. A definite entertainment value pick. I loved watching Flutie scramble around flinging rockets everywhere. He definitely passes the Sportscenter test. He had that on-field charisma that could ignite a team and a crowd. And watching the Miracle in Miami on ESPN Classic never gets old. Never.
#2 - Robert Griffin III
I'm willing to admit that he might be this high on the list simply because so much of what he did is fresh in my mind. But just maybe. The truth is that if I do this list again in 10 years, there's a pretty good chance he holds this spot down. World class speed, strong arm, incredible accuracy, good kid, good student, Superman and Spongebob socks, cornrows, beating Texas and Oklahoma? Him starting for Baylor while we were trotting out Zac Lee, Cody Green and Taylor Martinez???
Let's just say the thought of RG3 in Husker red just makes me giddy. I can't even think straight right now.
#1 - Herschel Walker
When it came time to make these lists, number one was a foregone conclusion. When I was kid and Herschel led Georgia to their 1st national title, I mistakenly thought that guys like him come along regularly. If you were a national championship contender, you simply found a 225 pound I-back with world-class sprint speed and the durability to carry the ball 30-40 times a game who was stronger in the 4th quarter than at kickoff. When he went to the USFL, I simply waited for the next Herschel to come along.
I went to the University of Nebraska and eventually they became my number one team and Georgia sort of my 1-A (they've never played since I've followed college football and hopefully never do). But despite the Craigs, Roziers, Phillips, etc. I always thought I'd just have to wait for them (or Georgia) to get their next Herschel and the national championship runs could start anew.
I'm still waiting.
To get an idea of his dominance, just ask yourself how you'd feel about a 6'3" 225 pound I-back with a low 4.3 forty and a world class speed in the 100 coming along today who just ran for 3100 yards and 45 touchdowns as a senior in high school. Now picture a guy like that coming along in 1980 when defensive ends probably weighed less. Play around on Youtube sometime and search Herschel Walker highlights. There simply isn't another combination of breakaway runs and mudhole stompings by anyone else. By the way, for fun now, he's 2-0 with 2 KO's as a 49 year old MMA fighter and still runs a sub-4.4 forty. There's freaks of nature and then there's guys who continue to redefine the word.
The videos are endless, but check this clip from SEC Stories of his debut in front of 92,000 in Neyland Stadium vs. Tennessee:
Not to sound like we're playing doctor or anything, but I showed you mine, now you show me yours.
This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.