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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Four frontrunners fight for Heisman trophy

There is no clear-cut favorite in this year’s Heisman race. But as the season hits the final stretch of the year, there are four main contenders.

The main criteria for grading those in Heisman contention are as follows: 1) the caliber of their team; 2) their consistency in big games; 3) their ability to make clutch plays; and 4) their stats.

With that, here go the Heisman rankings for Week 11.


1. Eric Crouch, Nebraska, quarterback. Last week: No. 1.

The facts: Throughout his collegiate career, Crouch was consistently dubbed as a player who couldn’t win the big game. Going into last Saturday’s game, the Huskers were 7-5 against ranked teams when Crouch was the starting quarterback. To further illustrate the point, he had only completed a mere 40 percent of his passes in those major matchups

Things have apparently changed for the Husker quarterback. This season, he is rushing the ball remarkably, scoring 14 touchdowns on the ground, and he has improved his passing. He has answered the call thus far, leading his team to the No. 1 ranking in the BCS poll, after last week’s impressive win against Oklahoma.

Defining moment of the season: Crouch did not put up stunning numbers, but he was up against one of the top three defenses in the country in Oklahoma and made clutch plays when it counted. Two of the biggest plays of the game came late in the fourth quarter. Deep in its own end zone, Nebraska had its back against the wall, but Crouch scrambled out of the pocket and ran for 19 yards. Five plays later, a reverse pass found Crouch open deep, and he took it in for 63 yards and the game-sealing score. That play itself may be what Heisman voters remember come December.

What he has to do to win it: A Rose Bowl berth. But it’s not that easy. The Huskers should walk right into the Big XII title game, but if Colorado upsets them, Crouch’s campaign will take a major blow. A loss to the likely opponents of either Oklahoma or Texas in the Big XII game will not knock him out of contention, however, but it will result in a much closer vote.

My odds on Crouch’s chances to win the Heisman: 1 out of 3

2. DeShaun Foster, UCLA, running back: Last Week: No. 2.

The facts: Foster’s performance in last week’s 38-28 loss to Stanford has moved him from a close to a distant second place. He only ran for 77 yards on 21 carries, and another poor performance like that one will definitely drop him from the leader board.

But it wasn’t completely Foster’s fault the Bruins lost last week to Stanford. Though Foster has been the center of the UCLA offense, its defense has been the reason for its success. Before Saturday’s game, UCLA had allowed no more than 17 points in a single game. The Cardinal scorched UCLA for 31 consecutive points.

Nonetheless, Foster’s team is not in dire straits after the loss. The Bruins are now tied for the Pac-10 lead and are still in the Top 10 in the BCS standings.

Defining moments of the season: What helps the Bruin running back’s Heisman campaign even more is that he has carried the ball extremely well in his other big matchups this season. Oregon State could not stop him, as he rumbled into the end zone for three touchdowns on a 147-yard day. But the next week against Washington, Foster put on a show. He shouldered the load against a tough defense, carrying the ball 31 times and racking up a school-record 301 yards on the ground. His performance against the Huskies catapulted him from the middle of the pack to the top of the list in the Heisman race.

What he has to do to win it: No more sub-100-yard rushing games, starting this week at Washington State. Big runs and a victory against the Cougars will erase the memories from the Stanford game. But the road doesn’t get any easier for Foster. He faces up against Oregon and cross-town rival USC, who always give UCLA a run for its money. The next three weeks will be the biggest test on his path to the Heisman.

My odds on Foster’s chances to win the Heisman: 1 out of 4

3. Ken Dorsey, Miami, quarterback. Last Week: No. 3.

The facts: Dorsey does not have the strongest arm in the land, nor does he have the running ability of an Eric Crouch. But what has kept the Hurricane quarterback among the leaders is that he plays a cool quarterback position, by keeping mistakes to a minimum. He is an accurate thrower, as he has been his entire collegiate career. This season he has a meager four interceptions, while throwing for 13 touchdowns. In his career, Dorsey has thrown only 11 picks.

With one more touchdown pass, he will have 49 in his career, breaking a school record — impressive with the list of great college quarterbacks coming out of Miami.

What hurts Dorsey’s chances for the Heisman is the fact he is only a junior, planning on staying for his senior season. Voters may think that next year, instead of this season, will be his time to win the Heisman.

Defining moments of the season: The first two weeks of the season. Granted, they were against Penn State and Rutgers, respectively, but Dorsey was absolutely magnificent in those games, throwing for a combined 659 yards and five touchdowns. The fact is Miami has really not been tested this season. The only time was against Florida State. The Seminoles, however, are a very young and injury-riddled team, and until the past two weeks, they had yet to put together a solid game.

What he has to do win it: Improve his quarterback rating to among the top three in the country and lead his team to decisive wins over Washington, Virginia Tech, Boston College and Syracuse. If Miami is the only team to stay undefeated — not including BYU — heading into the bowl games, then he has a legitimate shot.

My odds on Dorsey’s chances to win the Heisman: 1 out of 8

4. Rex Grossman, Florida, quarterback. Last Week: No. 5.

The facts: Grossman really has had an uphill battle in his Heisman campaign. In fact, the sophomore quarterback did not have a locked job until he started putting up gaudy numbers in the first few weeks. He was in a battle with Brock Berlin for the starting position during spring sessions and training camp.

Now, he is the highest rated quarterback in the country with 184.8 efficiency and is putting up numbers never seen before by a Gator quarterback. Thus far, he has thrown for over 300 yards in every game this season and has been completely dominant in six of Florida’s seven contests.

Grossman is a long shot for the title because he is only a sophomore and has one of the best offensive lines and receiving corps in the country. Still, his 24-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio is extremely impressive.

Defining moments of the season: Weeks 5 and 6. Grossman’s numbers speak for themselves: 71 percent completion rate with 393 yards and five touchdowns against Mississippi State; 68.8 percent completion rate with 464 yards passing and five touchdowns at LSU. Those two games against relatively tough opponents put him in the national spotlight.

What he has to do to win it: With Florida’s win over Georgia last week, he has brought them back in the national championship picture. Still, Florida’s tough schedule continues with South Carolina, Florida State and Tennessee. Heisman winners come through in the biggest of games.

My odds on Grossman’s chances to win the Heisman: 1 out of 12


David Carr, Fresno State, quarterback. Last Week: No. 4.

Carr has been extremely consistent this season, throwing in the area of 300 yards every game and never tossing more than one pick a game. Even in the Bulldogs’ two losses, he threw for a combined 745 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. Unfortunately, no Heisman winner has ever lost to Boise State and Hawaii in the same season.

Woody Dantzler, Clemson, quarterback. Last Week: NR

He is a one-man show, and without him, Clemson would be dead last in the ACC. Unfortunately, his porous showing against North Carolina all but killed his chances. Even if he does dominate Florida State’s defense this weekend, it will only put him at No. 5, which he will likely stay at for the rest of the season. He may get a few votes in the final balloting.


Julius Peppers, North Carolina, defensive end: My pick as the best defensive player in the country, Peppers has led a North Carolina club with many question marks to a Top 25 ranking and a shot at the ACC title. This season, he is a quarterback killer with 8.5 sacks and 17 tackles for a loss. If he takes care of George Godsey and GT this weekend, UNC has a favorable schedule the rest of the way. His team could very well win the ACC. But still, Peppers is a long shot at the Heisman.

William Greene, Boston College, running back: He is second in the nation in rushing with 1,164 yards has ran for over 100 in every game this season but one. He has carried his team to a reputable standing in the Big East. Still, BC is somewhere between mediocre and good. That hurts anyone’s Heisman campaign.

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