Barry Sanders

Oklahoma State Athletics

Oklahoma State wearing Barry Sanders era uniforms vs. Texas

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Throwback uniforms have been all the rage lately, and Oklahoma State is getting in on the fun this weekend. With their big game coming up against the Texas Longhorns, the Cowboys will be suiting up in a look inspired by the 1988 Heisman Trophy season of legendary running back Barry Sanders.

Oklahoma State is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1988 Oklahoma State team that went 10-2 and featured Sanders on his run to the Heisman Trophy. Sanders, who won the only Heisman Trophy in Oklahoma State history, rushed for 2,850 yards and 44 touchdowns. He and members of the “War Pigs” offensive line are grand marshalls for Oklahoma State’s homecoming parade this coming weekend.

The uniform, as expected, is perfect and should absolutely be given more opportunities to be worn by Oklahoma State. The uniforms will also include a patch commemorating the anniversary of Sanders’ Heisman Trophy season.

At 1-3 in the Big 12, Oklahoma State needs to go on a big winning streak and hope for some help if the Cowboys are going to play for the Big 12 championship. The Longhorns are sitting on top of the Big 12 standings with a conference record of 4-0.

Cam Newton is first Heisman Trophy winner to win NFL MVP since Barry Sanders

AP Photo/Butch Dill
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On the eve of the Super Bowl, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was named the Most Valuable Player of the National Football League. He is the first Heisman Trophy winner to win the NFL’s MVP award since Detroit Lions running back and former Oklahoma State star Barry Sanders was named the best player in the NFL in 1997. Sanders shared the MVP honors that season with Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, which means Newton is the first Heisman Trophy winner to be the outright winner of the NFL’s MVP award since 1985, when Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen won the award (Allen was a Heisman Trophy running back for USC in 1981.

Newton becomes the first quarterback to win the top honor at the college and NFL level and joins a short list by becoming the sixth player to receive both awards. Newton was a Heisman Trophy quarterback for Auburn during the 2010 season, in which he fueled a BCS Championship Run. Newton now can become the first player in football history to win the Heisman Trophy, a college national championship, NFL MVP and a Super Bowl. To do that, Newton will have to lead the Panthers past the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning, who is perhaps one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time but was passed over for a Heisman Trophy by Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997 (Manning finished second in the voting that season).

It is somewhat amazing to think that grand slam of football has never been achieved once since the NFL MVP award was first awarded by the Associated Press in 1957, but it also goes to show that sometimes the best players in college and the NFL do not always achieve the top-level of championship success.

Players to win Heisman Trophy and NFL MVP

  • RB Paul Hornung
  • RB O.J. Simpson
  • RB Earl Campbell
  • RB Marcus Allen
  • RB Barry Sanders
  • QB Cam Newton

Derrick Henry joins an even more exclusive fraternity with Heisman Trophy win

Kelly Kline/Heisman Trust via AP
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When Alabama running back Derrick Henry was named the winner of the 2015 Heisman Trophy Saturday night in New York City, the Crimson Tide star joined the exclusive fraternity of Heisman Trophy winners. This is often referred to as the most exclusive fraternity in sports, as only one player per year is inducted into the club every season since 1935. But Henry joined an even more exclusive club in college football history with his Heisman Trophy win by becoming the 22nd player to win each of the three major individual awards in college football; the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year.

USC’s O.J. Simpson was the first player to win all three major awards in the same season, doing so in 1968. Simpson actually prevented UCLA’s Gary Beban from being the first triple crown award winner in college football when he was named the inaugural Walter Camp Award winner in 1967. Beban won the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award that season. Stanford’s Jim Plunkett became the second player to sweep the three individual honors in 1970, and Penn State’s John Cappelletti swept the awards in 1973.

Henry is the fourth player from the SEC to win all three major awards, joining Georgia’s Herschel Walker, Florida’s Danny Wuerffel and Auburn’s Cam Newton. Henry is also the first running back to pull off the feat since Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne took all three honors in 1999. Ricky Williams of Texas did it the previous season in 1998 as well. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won all three individual awards last season as well. Alabama’s A.J. McCarron prevented Florida State’s Jameis Winston from winning all three awards by being named the Maxwell Award winner in 2013. Alabama’s last Heisman Trophy winner before Henry, Mark Ingram in 2009, actually prevented Texas quarterback Colt McCoy from pulling off the triple award feat. McCoy won the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year awards in that 2009 season.

Players to win Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year in Same Season

  • O.J. Simpson, USC (1968)
  • Jim Plunkett, Stanford (1970)
  • John Cappelletti, Penn State (1973)
  • Archie Griffin, Ohio State (1975)
  • Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh (1976)
  • Charles White, USC (1979)
  • Marcus Allen, USC (1981)
  • Herschel Walker, Georgia (1982)
  • Mike Rozier, Nebraska (1983)
  • Doug Flutie, Boston College (1984)
  • Vinny Testaverde, Miami (1986)
  • Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State (1988)
  • Desmond Howard, Michigan (1991)
  • Gino Torretta, Miami (1992)
  • Charlie Ward, Florida State (1993)
  • Eddie Georgia, Ohio State (1995)
  • Danny Wuerffel, Florida (1996)
  • Ricky Williams, Texas (1998)
  • Ron Dayne, Wisconsin (1999)
  • Cam Newton, Auburn (2010)
  • Marcus Mariota, Oregon (2014)
  • Derrick Henry, Alabama (2015)

No. 21 Stanford’s offense proving Cardinal are still a Pac-12 threat

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Anyone who watched No. 21 Stanford (3-1, 2-0 Pac-12) in the season opener at Northwestern may have thought the Cardinal were in for a long season with no offense to show for it. How quickly Stanford has turned things around now with two straight wins in Pac-12 play with 83 points scored. On Friday night the Cardinal put 42 on the board against Oregon State (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) to pull away from the Beavers in the Pac-12 North battle. All of a sudden Stanford once again looks like a real threat in the Pac-12, and looks equipped to take on Oregon later on this season, along with upcoming games against Arizona and UCLA.

Christian McCaffrey pounded the ball on the ground for Stanford with 206 rushing yards. Barry Sanders added 97 yards and scored two touchdowns, and quarterback Kevin Hogan was effective with his arm, completing nine of 14 pass attempts for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Friday night showed Stanford get back to the earlier roots of their rise as a program under Jim Harbaugh, with the running game setting the tone the way Toby Gerhart used to do before the Cardinal started riding high with Andrew Luck. That si the recipe for success at Stanford, especially since Hogan can tend to be a bit up and down at times. If Stanford is going to run the football as well as they did against Oregon State, then they will wear down opposing defenses and run the clock well in conference play. Stanford held the football for 34:35 in the win, and going 7-for-12 on third down conversions was a big reason why.

“We ran the ball very physically,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said after the game. “We’ve got a very physical offensive line that’s jelling together and we’ve got some dynamic runners who can make plays.”

Stanford gets their next two games at home in Palo Alto, and they will be pretty big matchups. Stanford will get what could or should be a ranked Arizona team coming in necxt week. The Wildcats are hosting UCLA tonight, so a loss could potentially drop No. 16 Arizona out of the top 25. Regardless of tonight’s result, Arizona should be a good challenge for the Cardinal. Stanford then gets 12 days to prepare for a Thursday night game at home against UCLA. UCLA enters tonight’s game at Arizona ranked ninth in the nation in the AP poll, and the Bruins face Arizona State next week.

This is a key stretch for Stanford if the Cardinal are to make a serious run in the Pac-12. All eyes may want to shift ahead to November 14 when Oregon visits Stanford, but the Cardinal have some huge opportunities to get through before that highly anticipated Pac-12 North matchup.

Nebraska, Big Ten top FWAA’s 75th Anniversary All-America Team

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This topic might cause some differences of opinion.

To honor its founding back in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Thursday announced its 75th Anniversary All-America Team.  A total of 41 schools and 75 players are represented on the first, second and third teams, with 56 of the 75 already inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Nebraska, with six, placed the most players on the three teams, followed by Ohio State and Pittsburgh with five each.  Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas were next with five apiece, while Georgia, Michigan and USC netted three each.  The only other schools with more than one player were Florida, Miami (Fla.), Notre Dame and UCLA, all with two.

Based on where the schools currently reside, the Big Ten leads all conferences with 19 players.  That does include Nebraska’s six, even as all six of those came from the Cornhuskers’ time in the Big Eight/12.  The ACC was next with 15, although it should be mentioned that Pittsburgh’s five players all played prior to the Panthers’ move into that conference.  The SEC, Big 12 were next with 13, 10 and seven, respectively.  The most for a Group of Five league was Conference USA’s three.

One of the biggest points of contention that I’ve seen on Twitter when it comes to this team has been the running back position, specifically with the inclusion of Archie Griffin on the first team.  While the former Ohio State star is the only two-time winner of the Heisman Trophy, and whom I’m in no way dismissing as he was a tremendous talent, I, personally, would take Pittsburgh’s Tony Dorsett (second team), Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders (second team) or Auburn’s Bo Jackson (third team) over Griffin any day of the week and twice on Saturday.  In fact, there’s no way I could whittle my first-team running back down to just two out of these four: Jackson, Dorsett, Sanders and Georgia’s Herschel Walker (first-team along with Griffin).

Another point of contention?  The quarterback position, of course.

From first to third team it went Roger Staubach (Navy), Tim Tebow (Florida) and Tommie Frazier (Nebraska).  How Frazier is behind anyone, let alone those two — again, no disrespect to either — is the great unknown.  Not only that, but one could also question how the likes of, among others, Tennessee’s Peyton Manning, Stanford’s John Elway, Florida State’s Charlie Ward, Ole Miss’ Archie Manning, Stanford’s Andrew Luck, BYU’s Steve Young and, despite playing just one season, Auburn’s Cam Newton couldn’t find inclusion.

A couple of other things: Ohio State’s Chris Spielman would be a lock as a second-teamer on my team, although I do think the FWAA absolutely nailed all four spots in the secondary.

One final quibble on my part: Florida State’s Sebastian Janikowski should’ve found a spot on one of the three teams.  Case closed, end of discussion.

FWAA 75th Anniversary Team

Finally, if you were wondering how the teams were compiled, the FWAA explained it in its release:

A nomination ballot with selected players from all FWAA All-America teams was sent to the entire membership this spring. The popular vote was then taken into consideration by a Blue Ribbon Committee of FWAA past presidents, current board members and officers. That committee put the finishing touches on selecting the 75-man team. In order for a player to be considered for the FWAA’s 75th team, he had to be on a previous FWAA All-America team.