Heisman Trophy, anyone?
With just one week left before the 900-plus Heisman voters cast their ballots, the race for the Heisman Trophy is as wide open as the chase for the national championship.
A quarterback quartet of top contenders was reduced to a trio, with Nebraska's Eric Crouch dropping from short list following the Cornhuskers' 62-36 loss to Colorado on Friday.
Crouch ran for 162 yards and two TDs, and passed for 198 yards with two interceptions, but the shocking defeat was probably enough to end his Heisman hopes.
Still in pursuit of college football's top individual prize are Miami's Ken Dorsey, Florida's Rex Grossman and Oregon's Joey Harrington.
All three have a game remaining before Heisman ballots are due at New York's Downtown Athletic Club. Florida could play in the SEC title game on Dec. 8, but the Heisman votes will already be counted and the award presented later that night.
Dorsey appears to have the inside track since he plays for the only undefeated among the contenders. Plus, the Hurricanes (10-0) are ranked No. 1.
In Saturday night's 65-7 rout of No. 19 Washington, Dorsey reaffirmed his status as the front-runner by hitting 14 of 21 for 189 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
His one blemish? Four interceptions against Boston College, a game Miami still won, 18-7. For the season, he's 163-of-274 for 2,417 yards, 22 TDs and 9 interceptions.
Miami is at Virginia Tech on Saturday, needing a win to clinch a spot in the BCS' national title game.
Grossman and Harrington did not play over the weekend, but each has a national stage to give voters a final look. It also helps that their teams are still in the national title picture.
Grossman's second-ranked Gators (9-1) play host to No. 5 Tennessee (9-1) for the SEC East title and a spot in the league's title game, while Harrington's Ducks (9-1) are home to Oregon State (5-5) in a heated rivalry dubbed the Civil War.
Grossman's drawbacks? A 23-20 loss to Auburn in which he threw four interceptions, plus no sophomore has ever won the Heisman. Other than that, he leads the nation in pass efficiency, hitting 226-of-344 for 3,534 yards, 32 TDs and 11 interceptions.
Harrington's shortcomings? A 49-42 loss to Stanford in which his second interception set up the winning TD in the final few minutes, plus a lack of national TV time. He's completed 175 of 300 passes for 2,311 yards, 23 TDs and 5 interceptions.
If the vote was taken today, here's my ballot:
1. Ken Dorsey, QB, Miami.
2. Joey Harrington, QB, Oregon.
3. Rex Grossman, QB, Florida.
1. Florida: Thanks to losses by Nebraska and Oklahoma, the Gators (9-1) can reach the title game by beating No. 5 Tennessee on Saturday, then winning the SEC title game on Dec. 8.
2. (tie) Oregon (9-1), Tennessee (9-1) and Texas (10-1): All of a sudden, these guys are back in the title chase, too. All three have to win out, of course, and then it's up to the BCS computer.
3. (tie) Colorado (9-2) and Illinois (10-1): After their 62-36 rout of Nebraska, the Buffaloes will clinch a BCS game (Fiesta Bowl) with a win over Texas in the Big 12 title game on Saturday. The Illini beat Northwestern 34-28 on Thursday, and then won the Big Ten title outright -- and a BCS bowl spot -- when Ohio State beat Michigan 26-20 on Saturday.
1. Oklahoma (10-2): A day after Nebraska lost, the Sooners blew a chance to defend their national title by losing at home to Oklahoma State 16-13.
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