They Won’t Win Heisman, but They Get This Vote

Here’s my problem with the Heisman Trophy: A majority of voters don’t see any games outside their regions except on television, know little more about Jake Plummer’s craft than their own plumber’s and are impressed by receiving publicity gimmicks in the mail such as ties for Ty Detmer.

If I were a Heisman voter, I’d be one of them.

Since I’m not, I can second-guess their uninformed choice of Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel. Presumably, his name will be the one announced Saturday.

The best three players in college football:


1. Randy Moss, wide receiver, Marshall University.

During a media session at Joe Robbie Stadium with Notre Dame and Florida State a few days before last season’s Orange Bowl, Coach Bobby Bowden told reporters that Moss was the best player on the field for either team.

Unfortunately for the Seminoles, Moss couldn’t play. He was on probation for his freshman season because he beat up a fellow high school student the year before in his hometown of Charleston, W.Va. Before this season, Florida State cut him loose after he went to jail for violating his probation by smoking marijuana.

OK. So you wouldn’t want him dating your daughter. Moss, however, is the best college receiver since Jerry Rice.


2. Orlando Pace, offensive tackle, Ohio State.

Not only has he become the first repeat winner of the Lombardi Award, he popularized the statistical category for offensive linemen called pancakes (as in, he flattened that linebacker like a . . .). Eddie George says he owes half of his Heisman from last season to Pace. Coach John Cooper says Pace is “big, he runs a 4.9 40, bench-presses 500 pounds and hunts bears with a switch.”

3. Troy Davis, tailback, Iowa State.

Anyone who rushes for more than 2,000 yards in two consecutive seasons behind that offensive line should be appearing regularly at the Magic Castle.


I understand the big bucks for pitchers John Smoltz, Roger Clemens and even Alex Fernandez, but $20 million for four years for Jaime Navarro? Who’s his agent, Jerry Maguire? (Actually, it’s Dennis Gilbert.) . . .

When fans surrounded unsigned center Brian Williams to ask for his autograph Tuesday night at the Sports Arena, do you think Clipper Vice President Andy Roeser was tempted to sneak in a contract? . . .

For only the third time, Track & Field News has a high school athlete on its cover for January, senior quarter-miler Obea Moore of Pasadena Muir. The others were Michael Carter in 1979 and Sammy Walker in ’68. . . .


Long Beach State will be led into tonight’s East Regional semifinal of the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament by sophomore Misty May. An outside hitter at Newport Harbor High, she has become one of the nation’s best setters in a short time. No wonder. Long Beach’s assistant coach is Debbie Green, the setter for the U.S. silver medalists in the 1984 Olympics. . . .

“ ‘Cuse is in the house, oh my god, oh my god!” Think Pepperdine’s Waves will get their fill of that unique chant Friday night when they visit Syracuse’s house, the Carrier Dome? . . .

The star wide receiver for Santa Ana Mater Dei, which meets Loyola for the Southern Section Division I championship Saturday night at the Coliseum, is Rod Perry Jr., son of the former Ram. . . .

Rumors that have Rick Neuheisel moving to Detroit are fueled by the frequent calls between the Lion front office and Boulder, Colo. It turns out he’s merely checking in with one of his best friends, former UCLA teammate and now Lion Vice President Larry Lee. That’s Lee’s story, and he’s sticking to it. . . .

Costa Rica’s soccer players must be terrified about their World Cup qualifying rematch with the United States on Saturday in Palo Alto, where they no doubt will be showered with cafe latte and biscotti.


Wayne Lukas’ Boston Harbor has established himself as the early Kentucky Derby favorite and earned the rest of the year off by winning an impressive $1.94 million in his 2-year-old campaign.

Now a couple of Lukas’ late bloomers, Mellifont and Leestown, will try to establish their Triple Crown credentials in Sunday’s $250,000 Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park. Mellifont, Lukas says, reminds him of Thunder Gulch, who finished second in the 1994 Futurity to Afternoon Deelites en route to his Kentucky Derby victory.



While dozing during a Cleveland Cavalier game, I was dreaming: The Angels got Fred McGriff, Jaromir Jagr played more than two games here each year, a corporate angel saved Al Franken’s indoor track meet, Nick Van Exel and Toby Bailey played the way they did the season before last, and I had a Ty tie.