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Posted 11/4/99

Ah, the annual autumnal pursuit o…

By Travis Kliewer

The 1999 Heisman Trophey: Does Anyone Want This Thing?

Ah, the annual autumnal pursuit of the Drab Little Statue. Past winners include …

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Desktop Quarterback


Ah, the annual autumnal pursuit o…

By Travis Kliewer

The 1999 Heisman Trophey: Does Anyone Want This Thing?

Ah, the annual autumnal pursuit of the Drab Little Statue. Past winners include storied greats such as Archie Manning, Barry Sanders, Tony Dorsett, Jim Plunkett, and Gino Torretta. Okay, not all of them are storied greats, but every year, a handful of players strive to put themselves on the top of all voters’ lists with a combination of big-game wins, charisma, and impressive stats. Which, not coincidentally, also send TV execs scrambling to find ways to get the frontrunners’ teams bouncing off their satellites and into your home, and, naturally, the advertising dollars that follow into their coffers. And this year, the finalists are sprinting to the finish…well, running anyway…actually, it’s more of a saunter…um, gentlemen, the Downtown Athletic Club is that way…

Tommy Hilfiger must be proud, because never before in Heisman history has a fashion designer been so critical to the outcome. Peter Warrick was my early favorite, slightly ahead of Drew Brees, but now the race is a true toss-up, with each contender taking turns at faltering, statistically or otherwise, to keep it close. So in a wide-open race, let’s make it wider; here is my list of all contenders, in its entirety and unabridged.

10. Peter Warrick, WR Florida State (Sr.).

No doubt, still the college game’s most outstanding player, but stats and morality stock took a hit from the two-game suspension. So Pete, how much do you think your signing bonus will be worth next year? $15 million? 25? I don’t think my calculator can even figure how much clothing that will buy.

9. Hillary Clinton (Dem.).

The stats are impressive: Most image changes, most sports teams she’s claimed to be a fan of, record number of FBI files held and record number of locks changed on husband.

Besides, she’s running for something else she shouldn’t be.

8. Ron Dayne, RB Wisconsin (Sr.).

Needs only 161 yards in each of remaining games against Northwestern, Purdue, and Iowa to break Ricky Williams’ career rushing record. And to say voters love broken records is like saying human beings have a passing fondness for oxygen. Am I the only one that’s beginning to see that record in the same light as the MLB home run mark?

7. Keith Jackson, ABC (Sr. citizen).

Jackson claimed himself eligible for the award, citing the circular logic: “The Big Ten and Pac Ten are so superior that they need a superior announcer. Because that’s me, and because I’m the announcer for the most superior conferences, which, by the way consist entirely of big uglies that would win the Super Bowl, I ought to be a-rumblin’ and a-stumblin’ all the way to the DAC.”

6. Phil Jackson, LA Lakers (Zen).

Everyone seems to have already awarded him this year’s NBA Championship, so why not just hand over another award that he hasn’t done anything to earn yet? Maybe I question how well college football would get along with the triangle offense, but then again, the same could be said of Shaquille O’Neal’s ego.

5. Drew Brees, QB Purdue (Jr.).

Third in the nation in total offense production, but 25th in efficiency rating. Brees can see a field full of multiple targets like a seasoned NFL quarterback and has faced a slightly tougher schedule of teams than Joe Hamilton. But if you don’t get the nod, Drew, don’t worry; next year, it’s all but yours. Just avoid the mall between now and then.

4. Bill Gates, Microsoft (

Let’s face it, he’s going to buy it someday anyhow and bundle it with Internet Explorer.

3. Chad Pennington, QB Marshall (Sr.).

Behind Brees in yards, but with more TDs and fewer INTs and second only to Joe Hamilton in efficiency. The one invariable in the universe: when gravity, the speed of light, and relativity all fail, relax and know that the Heisman will always go to the player from the higher-ranked, higher-profile team over the better player from the lesser-known team.

2. Artie Gigantino, Fox Sports Net (Sophomoric).

College football analyst Gigantino earned his nomination with tidbits of profundity such as “The team with the most points usually wins,” and “Winning is good and losing is bad.” In a statement, Gigantino said that he agrees with everything anyone has ever said, offered multiple painfully obvious observations, then fractured the ulna in his right arm patting himself on the back.

1. Joe Hamilton, QB Georgia Tech (Sr.).

The nation’s best passer with an efficiency rating of 185, Hamilton is also averaging over four yards per rush, and can make big plays by design or out of nothing. Not cast in the typical NFL mold, but along side Peter Warrick, this hyperathlete gets my vote for the most outstanding college football player.

So when all else in sports fails us, even when Philadelphia fans cheer Michael Irivin’s injury or whenever Michael Irvin takes the field, we can always take heart in the fact that there will always be the Suzuki Drab Little Statue. I think it was Benjamin Franklin said that there are only four guarantees in life: death, taxes, the Heisman, and advertising revenue.

Or maybe that was Disney Corp.