In the past few years, there have been too many good candidates for the Heisman trophy. Who would”ve thought this year there would be too few?

Paul Wong
Ramble On<br><br>Jeff Phillips

In 1997, the award could”ve gone to Peyton Manning or Charles Woodson. In 1998 and 1999, Ron Dayne and Ricky Williams ran away with it. Last year, Chris Weinke and Josh Heupel were both solid.

But in the 2001 season, it has been more of race to determine who doesn”t belong, rather than who does. The award is won and lost in big games and this couldn”t have been more obvious than it was last weekend.

Thus, I propose that the Downtown Athletic Club wait a year and not give an award out this season. Or better yet, give two to the winner next year.

Or maybe it should be split like an NBA or MLB All-Star game MVP award. Give it to Brigham Young”s Luke Staley and Brandon Doman, especially if the Cougars somehow sneak into the BCS.

Preseason favorites like Northwestern”s Damien Anderson and Illinois” Kurt Kittner and defenders like Oklahoma”s Rocky Calmus and North Carolina”s Julius Peppers chances at Heisman bronze died weeks ago, leaving a handful of legitimate contenders going in to the weekend.

Nebraska”s Eric Crouch, Miami”s Ken Dorsey, UCLA”s DeShaun Foster, Florida”s Rex Grossman, Oregon”s Joey Harrington (excuse me, Joey Heisman) and Boston College”s William Green all had a chance to show what they are made of in big games.

Green and Foster were suspended in the week leading up to two of the biggest games of the season for their teams. But instead of working hard at practice everyday, Green decided to go back UA (that”s “unauthorized absence”) to his hometown Atlantic City and Foster decided he would rather not wait six months for a big NFL payday and drive around in an SUV now.

Their numbskullery probably cost their teams shots at big-time upsets against No. 1 Miami (Fla.) and No. 7 Oregon, respectively. Green has rejoined the team yesterday and disputed reports that he plans on turning pro after the season. As far as Foster, I wouldn”t be surprised if he didn”t play another down of college football.

Dorsey hasn”t put up the numbers expected of a top quarterback, but he has been yanked after two or three quarters every game, so that is understandable. But his atrocious four-interception, zero-touchdown performance against the Eagles the nation”s No. 6 pass defense didn”t impress anybody. Dorsey had just four picks going into the game.

Harrington has snuck back into the picture, but his team has almost no shot of making it to the championship game and the Pac-10 isn”t exactly known for its passing defense. On top of that, the combo of Maurice Morris and Onterrio Smith has made the Ducks a better team, but has taken away from Harrington.

Grossman is a product of Florida”s explosive offensive scheme, but is putting up better numbers than Danny Wuerffel in his Heisman year. Being the Gators” starting quarterback does say a lot for Grossman, who beat out the highly-touted Brock Berlin, but he is still a sophomore which doesn”t bode well for an award that is traditionally given to upperclassmen.

For now, Crouch is the frontrunner. His team is undefeated and he is having about as good a year as he did last year.

Proponents for Crouch argue that he has become a throwing quarterback, but I cringe every time I hear Brent Musberger say, “Crouch isn”t just a running quarterback folks, this kid can throw the football” as Crouch goes 5-for-13 for 105 yards and an interception.

What does this leave? A Heisman Island with no survivors. Even Texas” Chris Simms” name has been mentioned for the first time since he threw four picks against Oklahoma. Indiana”s Antwaan Randle El has gotten a little pub this week despite his team”s 3-6 record.

But Crouch will probably win it because he is a senior and hasn”t played too badly. He will probably go on to have a successful four years in the NFL as a third-string free safety.

Whatever the case, the winner will likely be the weakest since the Hurricanes” Gino Torretta won it over Marshall Faulk in 1992. I shudder at the thought of it.

If he could, Jeff Phillips would vote for Indiana”s Levron Williams. He can be reached at jpphilli@umich.edu.

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