EA Heisman Challenge: Adding a Second Heisman Winner to BYU

Unknown date; Los Angeles, CA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen on the bench at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

It's no secret, this year's version of EA Sports NCAA Football allows you to choose any Heisman Trophy winner and put him on any team you'd like. EA has made every effort to get fans upset about this with its rather cool ad campaign, where we can see EA trolling fanbases everywhere by putting players like Desmond Howard in Ohio State and Notre Dame jerseys:

With a chance to put any Heisman winner on a BYU roster, my wheels were turning. Robert Griffin III on last year's squad? That would change things. Reggie Bush? I don't care that he technically isn't a Heisman winner, he was the best player I ever saw play in person. (Actually, that he no longer has the trophy doesn't change the fact that he was a Heisman winner. He won the award, it was just taken away later.)

Who would I ultimately add? My brain was biased toward running backs, since BYU already has such a history of quarterbacks winning the Heisman or finishing in the top 5. But instead of simply picking a really good player like Bush, I matched up the Heisman-winner's season with where he would fit best in BYU's history. The answer?

Marcus Allen, 1981.

In a year BYU went 11-2 and finished #13, Marcus Allen tore off 2,342 rushing yards and 23 TD at USC. Imagine the college Jim McMahon, the record-setting QB, combined with the opportunity he had in the NFL to play with a running back like Walter Payton. That would be 1981 BYU with Marcus Allen.

Combining Allen's abilities with McMahon's proficiency (3,555 yards, 30 TD, 64.3% completion) would have the Cougars easily going undefeated -- or at least be 12-0 with a shot at an even-better bowl game (BYU defeated #20 Washington State in the Holiday Bowl that year).

The addition of Allen would likely erase two of the more bizarre, frustrating losses by a good BYU team. The Cougars had risen to #8 after a 5-0 start, only to be upset 45-41 at home by a UNLV team that would finish the year 6-6. Two weeks later, BYU fell to Wyoming on the road 33-20.

Not only would it erase those losses, but it would have put BYU in a position to dark-horse the national championship like it would eventually do three seasons later. The Cougars began 1981 ranked #16 after a 12-1 performance in 1980. The only undefeated team of 1981 was Clemson, who began the year unranked after a 6-5 record the year before.

While most voters likely would have given the edge to Clemson anyway, the addition of Marcus Allen would have made 1981 the second-best season in BYU history. (Statistically speaking, it would probably be first with a stronger schedule, but void of a national championship claim.) Perhaps the ability to start a running back tradition could have morphed BYU into some kind of monster. Who knows.

But at the least, Marcus Allen in a BYU uniform in 1981 would have been awesome. (And if he was there in 1981, we assume he was there in 1980 as well -- the possibilities are endless.)

||This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13.


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