Heisman race, like presidential election, too close to call

December 05, 2000 8:39 AM


The presidential election has breathed new life into the catch phrase, "Too close to call." And although the race for the Heisman Trophy will be close, we’re making the call right now. The Heisman winner, who will be announced this Saturday at New York’s Downtown Athletic Club, will be Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke. He’ll edge out Oklahoma quarterback Josh Heupel, with Purdue quarterback Drew Brees finishing third. Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick, the pre-season favorite, lost all chance when he missed almost three games because of an injury. . .

As far as the Heisman is concerned, this season can well be termed the year of the quarterback. This is somewhat of a departure from tradition as 40 of the past 65 winners, five ends/wide receivers as winners and one defensive back (Charles Woodson of Michigan in 1997). The first winner, in 1935, was halfback Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago. Running back Archie Griffin of Ohio State is the only man to win the award twice: in 1974 and 1975. The school that’s produced the most Heisman winners is Notre Dame, 7. No freshman or sophomore has ever won the award.

You can watch Saturday’s announcement of the winner on ESPN at 5 p.m. PT.

College Notebook

It was with a mixture of amusement and frustration that I watched the Bowl Championship Series selection show on ABC-TV. John Swofford, the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference and boss of the BCS, tried to defend the failed system. What he neglected to say was that the BCS was never set up to provide a legitimate national champion. It was set up by a bunch of Southerners to protect the good ol’ boys who run the Southern bowls. So I guess in that sense the BCS is working very well. . .

If Florida State beats Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and Miami (Fla.) beats Florida in the Sugar Bowl --- and both the Seminoles and Hurricanes are favored -- there will be split national champions. The BCS will proclaim FSU as national champion. The writers in the Associated Press poll will go with Miami. . .

There have been split national titles in the past. In 1997 the AP writers (and everyone else) gave the nod to Michigan. The coaches’ poll, in a tribute to retiring Tom Osborne, gave an undeserved title to Nebraska. In 1990, the writers named Colorado as national champion. The coaches selected Georgia Tech….

TV Critique

The biggest loser on college football telecasts in the English language. Redundancy runs rampant. Time and again you’ll hear announcers say, "They won their last five games in a row," or, "He completed his last six passes in a row."

Every announcer who uses the term "young freshman" should be given 40 lashes with a wet noodle. Is there such a player as an old freshman? Or a veteran freshman?

And where in the world did the networks unearth the young women who roam the sidelines with microphones in hand, masquerading as football experts? They are never informative, always intrusive and frequently obnoxious. There should be an open season on them.

Redskin Notes

When Daniel Snyder was throwing around tons of money in trying to buy the Super Bowl for his Washington Redskins, he forgot to buy a placekicker. So far, the team has had four different kickers, all unsatisfactory. As a result, the team could fail to make the playoffs. But the Redskins could be helped by a favorable schedule. Their remaining games are at Dallas, at Pittsburgh and at home against Arizona. They’ll be favored to win them all, but the Steelers could be a bump on the road. This past Sunday, they upset the Oakland Raiders just when it seemed the Raiders were on the verge of establishing themselves as a genuine quality team. Be it noted that nobody around the NFL has any sympathy for Snyder. Au contraire.