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Heisman Watch: Give it to the old man
By Mike Diegnan

Two of the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy returned to school this season in order to help their teams win championships. Chris Weinke came back to Florida State because he wanted to help the Seminoles repeat as national champions. Drew Brees stayed at Purdue one more season to help the Boilermakers win the Big Ten and head to the Rose Bowl. Both have accomplished their goals.

Chris Weinke
Chris Weinke's performance in the Florida game was enough to sway this voter.
The third front-runner, Josh Heupel, wasn't much of a contender before this season.

Brees is unlikely to win the Heisman after throwing three interceptions in the Boilermakers' 30-10 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 11. But Weinke should be standing at the podium on Dec. 9 as the next Heisman winner. Although Heupel has two more opportunities to show his mettle, an ill Weinke showed what he means to the best team in the nation on primetime TV Saturday. Weinke is, indeed, the best player in the country -- just like he was last January in the Sugar Bowl when he outplayed one Michael Vick.

1. Chris Weinke, Florida State QB
Florida: 23-44-353, 3 TD, 2 int.
Season: 266-431-4166, 33 TD, 11 int.; rush: 25-(-85), 1 TD
This week: Regular season over
Comment: Let's just hope he doesn't have Al Gore's lawyers if he loses because of age discrimination.

2. Josh Heupel, Oklahoma QB
Texas Tech: 24-38-248, 1 TD, 2 int.; rush: 1-5
Season: 237-353-3018, 17 TD, 9 int.; rush: 52-118, 6 TD
This week: at Oklahoma State
Comment: Still has two more games to impress the voters.

Drew Brees, Purdue QB
Indiana: 20-29-216, 1 TD, 1 int.; rush: 10-85, 1 TD; rec: 1-1
Season: 286-473-3393, 24 TD, 12 int.; rush: 91-528, 5 TD; rec: 2-6, 1 TD
This week: Regular season over
Comment: Brees books his ticket for Pasadena.

Damien Anderson, Northwestern RB
Illinois: 39-179, 4 TD
Season: 293-1914, 20 TD; rec: 15-130
This week: Regular season over
Comment: Who would have thought that Damien would be a Heisman candidate before the season?

Marques Tuiasosopo, Washington QB
at Washington State: 11-20-190, 2 TD; rush: 3-6
Season: 170-323-2146, 13 TD, 11 int.; rush: 127-406
This week: Regular season over
Comment: What a Rose Bowl duel between Tui and Drew.

Santana Moss, Miami WR
at Syracuse: 3-20
Season: 40-684, 3 TD; rush: 5-144, 2 TD; PR: 28-493, 3 TD
This week: Boston College
Comment: 'Canes could get shafted in the BCS.

LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU RB
UTEP: 33-305, 3 TD; rec: 1-6
Season: 343-1984, 18 TD; rec: 8-40
This week: at SMU
Comment: If only he played UTEP every week. Needs 202 yards to set third-highest rushing total in NCAA history.

Anthony Thomas, Mich. RB
at Ohio State: 29-60; rec: 2-89, 1 TD
Season: 287-1551, 16 TD; rec: 13-239, 1 TD
This week: Regular season over
Comment: The A-Train unraveled the Buckeyes with his 70-yard TD catch.

Michael Vick, Virginia Tech QB
Last week: Off
Season: 71-138-1032, 7 TD, 6 int.; rush: 99-589, 8 TD
This week: Virginia
Comment: Vick says he will be back next season. He'll again be the favorite to win.

Mike Diegnan is the editor of

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 Chris Weinke finds Marvin Minnis all alone for a 51-yard TD strike.
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 Chris Weinke finds a wide-open Marvin Minnis 34 yards down field for a Seminoles TD.
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