The Doc Five: Best Heisman encore seasons -- No. 3 Billy Sims

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.



Oklahoma running back Billy Sims was relatively unknown prior to his Heisman season in 1978.

Up until that point, Sims had been battling injuries and had rushed for just 552 yards during his first three seasons with the program. But, in 1978, his first full healthy season, he became the most dominant running back in college football.

Sims rushed for 1,896 yards and 22 touchdowns. He averaged an astounding 7.4 yards per carry and 145.9 yards per game. He was responsible for an average of 10.9 points per game during the regular season. His total yards was the best in Oklahoma history until Adrian Peterson broke the record in 2004.

The numbers were good enough for him to edge out Penn State quarterback Chuck Fusina for the Heisman Trophy even though Fusina had 12 more first place votes.

And Sims could have repeated.

Instead of leaving early for the NFL, Sims wanted to show his junior season wasn’t a fluke and he rushed for 1.670 yards and 23 touchdowns in 1979. His glory moment came against an unbeaten Nebraska team that boasted the nation’s best rushing defense. He ran for 247 yards to lead the Sooners to a 17-14 win.

He became the first Big 8 running back to rush for three consecutive 200-yard games and his four 200-yard games that year are still an Oklahoma record.

But it wasn’t enough to top USC running back Charles White, who was a force averaging 201 yards per game in the final 10 games of his senior season. Sims finished a distant second in Heisman voting, but was the only Heisman winner to finish second in his encore season.

The loss of his second Heisman didn’t keep Sims down for long. He was the No. 1 overall pick of the NFL draft and went on to have a very good, albeit short, NFL career. He was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!

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