The death of the 2000-yard rule.
For decades, there was a simple rule in the H----- Trophy race: If you ran for 2000 yards or more in a season, you won the Trophy.
But in 2002, Penn State's Larry Johnson became the first player to hit the milestone but miss out on the Trophy. In fact, he wound up third behind Carson Palmer and Brad Banks. But at least he was a finalist.
In 2007, however, Tulane RB Matt Forte isn't even getting mentioned as a Trophy finalist - except by a handful of local New Orleans writers lamenting his lack of status.
Writing in the Tulane Hullaballoo (the school paper), Chaitanya Nandipati writes:
Let's put his season in perspective. Forte's total of 2,127 rushing yards places him sixth all time on the single season list. Directly ahead of him on the same list are Hall-of-Famers Barry Sanders and Marcus Allen and future Hall-of-Famer LaDainian Tomlinson. Not bad company to be in.
The Heisman trophy is defined as the award given to the most outstanding collegiate football player in the United States. While it is unlikely that Forté will receive an invitation to New York or even finish in the top 10 in voting, his accomplishments have truly been Heisman-worthy. He was able to accomplish all of the feats despite the fact that teams keyed in on him for the majority of the season.
Update: And as KG mentions in the comments, there's another one this year too - Central Florida RB Kevin Smith. From the Miami Herald:
Smith is a junior at Central Florida, a proud son of Miami, and on Saturday, he shouldered his team to a Conference-USA championship. Central Florida beat Tulsa 44-25 and Smith rushed for 284 yards on 39 carries and four touchdowns. ...
The Heisman Trophy ceremony is Dec. 8, but chances are Smith won't be listed among the final candidates. That would be an unprecedented snub for someone with 2,448 rushing yards.
No matter. Smith already is a member of another elite list.
He ranks second behind Barry Sanders (Oklahoma State, 1988) on the NCAA season rushing list, and with a bowl game to play -- Central Florida accepted an invitation to the Liberty Bowl on Saturday -- Smith will tie the 19-year-old record with 180 yards.
Doesn't that mean the kid is even behind Kevin Smith of UCF in rushing for 2007? And Smith isn't going to NYC either so what is the point of this beef again?
In 1995 and 1996 Troy Davis of Iowa State rushed for over 2,000 yards. He's the only player to ever rush for 2,000 yards twice. In 1996 he finished second in the Heisman. He finished 5th in the voting in 1995. Others who rushed for over 2,000 yards and did not win were:
Byron Hanspard, Texas Tech 1996
LaDainian Tomlinsonm TCU 2000
Larry Johnson Penn State 2002
J.J. Arrington, California 2004
Keep in mind that, prior to 2002, post-season game stats did not count toward season or career statistics. Mix that in with the 12th game added by the NCAA, and suddenly the 2,000 yard mark doesn't have the same meaning that it once had.
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