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A historical ranking of the top Heisman schools and conferences

By Chris Huston | College Football Writer

Notre Dame

In my eight-plus years of analyzing and covering the Heisman race, I've often referred to the 'traditional Heisman powers' and the inherent advantage players from those programs possess when it comes to the quest for the prestigious bronze statue.

In an effort to better quantify the impact of certain schools on Heisman history, I went back and sifted through all the past voting results and came up with a system to assign each school a point value each time one of its players finished in the top 10 of the Heisman voting.

A first-place finish gets 10 points, a second-place gets 9, a third-place 8, and so on down to 1 point for 10th place.

My hope was to paint a clearer picture of each school's impact on Heisman history, beyond just listing the schools with the most winners.

Consider this a top 25 'Heisman power ranking' of schools, based on total points accumulated.

All-time Heisman Points

1. Notre Dame, 277
2. (tie) Oklahoma, Ohio State, 191
4. USC, 166
5. Michigan, 147
6. Texas, 105
7. Army, 102
8. Penn State, 99
9. UCLA, 98
10 (tie). Nebraska, Miami, 93
12. Pitt, 88
13. Stanford, 94
14. Alabama, 85
15. (tie) Florida, Georgia, 81
17. BYU, 76
18 (tie). Purdue, Michigan State, 74
20. (tie). Florida State, Minnesota, 73
22. Tennessee, 69
23. Auburn, 66
24. Navy, 63
25. Iowa, 58

Now, for some more breakdowns of the data:

Top 10 Heisman Teams By Decade:

1930s

1. Yale, 26
2. TCU, 20
3. Pittsburgh, 17
4. Tennessee, 12
5. Iowa, Chicago, Notre Dame, 10
8. Army, Nebraska, Colorado, Michigan, 9

Yale captured two Heismans in the abbreviated 1930s. Not all the seasons had 10 finalists, so scoring is less complete than in other decades.

1940s

1. Notre Dame, 84
2. Army, 72
3. (tie) Minnesota, Michigan, SMU, Georgia, 26
7. Penn, 21
8. North Carolina, 18
9. Ohio State, 17
10. Navy, 16

A dominant decade for Notre Dame. Its 84 points in the 1940s is the highest of any team in any decade. Army's 72 points is the second highest.

1950s

1. Oklahoma, 51
2. Notre Dame, 48
3. Ohio State, 30
4. Michigan State, 28
5. UCLA, 25
6. Kentucky, 23
7 (tie) Iowa, Maryland, 21
9. Army, 20
10 (tie). SMU, Minnesota, Wisconsin, 19

No suprise the Sooners are on top given their success in this era. You can also see Ohio State starting to emerge and some surprising strength from Michigan State.

1960s

1. Notre Dame, 41
2. Purdue, 38
3 (tie) USC, Syracuse, 29
5. UCLA, 27
6. Ohio State, 26
7. Minnesota, 24
8. Michigan State, 22
9 (tie). Texas, Illinois, 21

Notre Dame on top again, but Purdue a strong second thanks to three runner-up finishes in four years. USC first makes it mark, but the Midwest schools still hold sway.

1970s

1. Oklahoma, 65
2. Ohio State, 57
3. USC, 48
4. Notre Dame, 42
5. Penn State, 30
6. Nebraska, 28
7. Michigan, 27
8. Texas, 25
9. Pittsburgh, 21
10 (tie) BYU, Oklahoma St., 16

This list pretty much contains most of the traditional powers of the 1970s, save Alabama. The BYU quarterback lineage starts to bear some fruit here.

1980s

1. BYU, 41
2. Georgia, 33
3. Pittsburgh, 32
4. Miami, 30
5. Nebraska, 27
6. Ohio State, 26
7. Michigan St., 22
8. Notre Dame, 21
9. Michigan, 20
10. USC, 19

BYU placed quarterbacks in the top five of the vote six time in this decade, the first (and only decade) in which no one school was able to produce two winners. Miami makes its first appearance in the top 10.

1990s

1. Florida State, 47
2 (tie). Michigan, Tennessee, 26
4. Florida, 24
5. Penn State, 23
6. Miami, 22
7. Ohio State, 20
8. Alabama, 19
9 (tie) BYU, Colorado, 18

Florida State's Heisman score mirrors its team's success in this decade. Florida starts to move up, too, as three SEC teams make the top 10.

2000s

1. USC, 56
2. Oklahoma, 51
3. Florida, 33
4. Texas, 31
5. Miami, 28
6. Arkansas, 18
7. Nebraska, 17
8 (tie) Texas Tech, Notre Dame, West Virginia, 16

USC notches its first decade win thanks to three winners (though one is later vacated). Oklahoma not far behind, one of four Big 12 teams (at the time) to place.

2010s

1. Stanford, 19
2.(tie) Auburn, Baylor, Boise State, 10
5. (tie) Wisconsin, Oregon, 9
7. Alabama, 8
8. (tie) Oklahoma State, LSU, 6
10. (tie) Michigan, USC, 5

The new decade has some non-traditional powers getting off to a hot start, perhaps a reflection of the shifting Heisman landscape and the proliferation of information via social media.

Top Heisman Teams by Major Conference

SEC

1. Alabama, 85
2. (tie) Florida, Georgia, 81
4. Tennessee, 69
5. Auburn, 66
6. Ole Miss, 44
7. Missouri, 43
8. LSU, 35
9. Kentucky, 32
10. Arkansas, 26
11. Texas A&M, 22
12. South Carolina, 14
13. Mississippi St, 1

It's worth noting that Texas A&M and Missouri accumulated the bulk of their points in the Big-8, Big-12 and SWC. Also noteworthy that Alabama leads in total points, but has just one Heisman winner.

Big Ten

1. Ohio State, 191
2. Michigan, 147
3. Penn State, 99
4. Nebraska,93
5. (tie) Michigan State, Purdue 74
7. Minnesota, 73
8. Iowa, 58
9. Wisconsin, 51
10. Illinois, 46
11. Northwestern, 26
12. Indiana, 25

Adding Nebraska to the mix bolstered an already-powerful Heisman conference.

Pac-12

1. USC, 166
2. UCLA, 98
3. Stanford, 94
4. (tie) California, Colorado 41
6. Oregon, 31
7. Washington St., 24
8. Washington, 19
9. ASU, 13
10. Oregon St., 12
11. Utah, 8

The vast bulk of the conference's Heisman points have come after 1961.

Big 12

1. Oklahoma, 191
2. Texas, 105
3. Oklahoma St. 47
4. TCU, 44
5. West Virginia, 35
6. Texas Tech, 29
7. Iowa St., 22
8. Kansas St., 16
9. Baylor, 14
10. Kansas, 8

Losing Texas A&M, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska while adding TCU and West Virginia radically changes the complexion of this conference in the Heisman race.

ACC

1. Miami, 93
2. Florida State, 73
3. Georgia Tech, 39
4. Boston College, 28
5. Maryland, 27
6. Virginia, 22
7. North Carolina, 18
8. Va. Tech, 16
9. NC State, 14
10. Duke, 10
11. Clemson, 9
12. Wake Forest, 1

The conference has not had a top-five Heisman finish since 2000.

Big East

1. Pittsburgh, 88
2. Syracuse, 52
4. Rutgers, 9
5. Cincinnati, 2
6. Louisville, 1

Things will only get worse with the loss of Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC.

Military Academies

1. Army, 102
2. Navy, 63
3. Air Force, 12

Top Heisman Conferences by total points

Big Ten -- 957
SEC -- 599
Pac-12 -- 547
Big 12 -- 511
Notre Dame/Military Academies -- 454
ACC -- 350
Big East -- 152

The Big Ten claims bragging rights among conferences, thanks in large part to its 16 winners.

 
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