Heisman Winners & the Sugar Bowl

The Sugar Bowl has had more than it’s fair share of great players in the history of the event.  So far there have been 17 Heisman Trophy winners take the field.  A lot of them gained even more notoriety for how they performed.

When looking at the list of Heisman odds for 2016 it’s no surprise that many of those names plan on teams that could possibly be Sugar Bowlers.

This year the Sugar Bowl doesn’t host a playoff game so the teams with the best chances of winning the national championship will be playing elsewhere.  But that doesn’t mean we won’t get great teams or great players.  Heisman contenders don’t always compete for the national title.

In fact, Heisman winners don’t always end up victorious in their bowl games.  So far there have been 22 Sugar Bowl games with the 17 individuals on their roster.  Their teams have gone just 8-14 in those 22 games!

Nine times the winner played in the Sugar Bowl the same year he won the trophy.  12 times the player got it in a later season, and once a player participated after winning in an earlier season.  Of course, there are three players who have played both before and after the season they won.

Florida’s Danny Wuerffel, who was the Florida QB as a sophomore in 1995 and played as a senior in 1997.

Georgia running back Herschel Walker made three straight appearances from 1981 to 83.  His first performance was very memorable.  It won the Bulldogs the national title, he separated his shoulder early in the game, and gained 150 yards against a defense that hadn’t allowed an opponent to crack the century mark all year.

The other two Heisman winners with multiple appearances are LSU’s Billy Cannon from way back in 1959 and 1960.  He did it all, threw a touchdown pass, kicked a PAT, and played defense.

Alabama work horse running back Derrick Henry played in both 2014 and 2015. The 2015 edition served as the first College Football Playoff Semifinals in history.  However, Henry was 0 for 2 in the Sugar Bowl.

Florida’s Steve Spurrier participated in three Sugar Bowls.  He was a player back in 1966 but also coached two Florida teams, including the 1997 national champions.

Tony Dorsett had an impressive performance as the Pitt running back in 1977.  He compiled 202 yards and a touchdown on the ground against the Georgia Bulldogs, that record lasted until 2006 when West Virginia’s Steve Slaton broke it by a yard.

The best performance of all-time?  It’s hard to argue with Tim Tebow.  He set the record with 482 passing yards on 31 of 35 passing.  The Gators just absolutely boo stomped No. 3 Cincinnati 51-24 in the game.

Bo Jackson is another Heisman legend who played in the game.  Bo ran for 130 yards in a win over Michigan back in 1984.

The very first Heisman winner to play in the game was TCU’s Davey O’Brien back in 1939.  He is more famous for the nation’s best quarterback award being named after him.

The least impressive Heisman performance in the Sugar Bowl?  That honor belongs to Penn State’s John Cappelletti.  Back in 1972 he was stuck in his hotel with the flu, missing the game entirely.