For just the sixth time in 82 years, no running backs received an invite to Saturday's Heisman Trophy presentation (8 p.m. ET on ESPN/WatchESPN). Texas' D'Onta Foreman and San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey, however, each made a strong Heisman push.
Foreman and Pumphrey are the nation's only running backs to surpass the 2,000-yard mark this season. Only four other players in FBS history have rushed for over 2,000 yards through conference championship games without finishing in the top five of Heisman voting. The only other season in which multiple 2,000-yard rushers missed the Heisman ceremony was 2007.
Cal's J.J. Arrington (2004), Rutgers' Ray Rice (2007) and UConn's Donald Brown (2008) also rushed for 2,000 yards and didn't receive a Heisman invite, but all four of them didn't reach 2,000 yards until after the Heisman ceremony in their bowl game.
The most recent 2,000-yard rusher to miss the ceremony, Indiana's Tevin Coleman in 2014, didn't have a strong Heisman case due to a lack of team success against a mediocre schedule. The Hoosiers went just 4-8 that season against the 54th-hardest schedule in the FBS (calculated from the perspective of an average FBS team). The only other Power 5 player to miss the cut, Texas Tech's Byron Hanspard in 1996, played on a good -- but not great -- 7-5 Red Raiders squad.
This year's snubs have made a significantly stronger case for the Heisman. Pumphrey led San Diego State to a 10-3 record and Mountain West championship, but he did so against the 10th-easiest schedule in the FBS this season. Foreman, on the other hand, played on a 5-7 Texas team that missed a bowl game. But Foreman put up historic numbers against the 19th-hardest schedule in the FBS this season.
Furthermore, Foreman led the nation with 2,028 rushing yards. That total ranks second in Texas history for a single season and is less than 100 yards short of Ricky Williams' total from his 1998 Heisman Trophy-winning season. Pumphrey's 2,018 yards this season move him into second place in all-time career rushing yards. With 108 yards against Houston in the Las Vegas Bowl, Pumphrey can pass Wisconsin's Ron Dayne to become the all-time leading rusher in college football.
-- John Wilmhoff