Marcus Mariota led Oregon to 13 wins and the Pac-12 title during his Heisman Trophy season in 2014. His successor, Vernon Adams Jr., could not replicate the success, though he's hardly the first Heisman successor to fail to defend a conference title.
Mariota accounted for 57 total touchdowns and more than 5,200 total yards in setting the school record for most wins. Five weeks after Mariota and the Ducks lost to Ohio State in the national championship, Adams — a graduate transfer from Eastern Washington — picked Oregon.
While Adams had a nice, efficient season, throwing for 26 touchdowns (six interceptions) and averaging more than 10 yards per attempt, Oregon started 3-3 and finished with fewer than 10 wins for the first time since 2007. Granted, a defense that couldn't stop Kansas deserves most of the blame for the slow start and subpar campaign. Still, the Adams-led team didn't repeat as Pac-12 champions.
Since 1990, 10 Heisman-winning quarterbacks didn't return to school. Eight of those quarterbacks had won a conference title during their Heisman season. Only three of their successors defended the conference title:
|Year||Winner||Conf. Title||Replacement||Conf. Title|
|1992||Gino Torretta||Yes||Frank Costa||No|
|1993||Charlie Ward||Yes||Danny Kanell||Yes|
|1996||Danny Wuerffel||Yes||Doug Johnson||No|
|2000||Chris Weinke||Yes||Chris Rix||No|
|2001||Eric Crouch||No||Jammal Lord||No|
|2002||Carson Palmer||Yes||Matt Leinart||Yes|
|2006||Troy Smith||Yes||Todd Boeckman||Yes|
|2010||Cam Newton||Yes||Barrett Trotter||No|
|2011||Robert Griffin III||No||Nick Florence||No|
|2014||Marcus Mariota||Yes||Vernon Adams||No|