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Irish Eyes Not Smiling
by Nine Sportsbook - 09/19/2006

Brady Quinn can kiss that Heisman Trophy goodbye.

The Notre Dame quarterback, should he remain healthy-and that could be a question mark considering how the Irish offensive line has protected him this season-has at least nine games remaining in his collegiate career, so he will have opportunities to strut his stuff against quality competition- Michigan State, UCLA and Southern Cal-and he will do so before a national-television audience.

However, that display against Michigan last Saturday was so awful, so revealing-not just of Quinn, but of how mediocre Notre Dame can be, especially on defense-that the Irish quarterback no longer is a legit contender for college football's highest individual honor.

Let's face it. The senior didn't exactly light the world afire in the 2006 opener, struggling mightily to direct the Irish by ACC middling Georgia Tech. He also had some erratic issues in the Week 2 blowout of Penn State.

The Wolverines' 47-21 waffling of Notre Dame, coupled with Quinn's four turnovers, should prove to be the death knell to the quarterback adding the game's best-known hardware to his school's trophy case.

Quick-hitting trivia question-Who are the seven Heisman Trophy winners from Notre Dame? Hint-None of them were named Rocket Ismail, or even Raghib Ismail.

Quick-hitting trivia question answer-Angelo Bertelli, John Lujack, John Lattner, Leon Hart, John Huarte, Tim Brown and Paul Hornung.

The final name there should give Quinn some hope in this year's race. Hornung played on a losing team and still won.

The difference now is that the Irish are not the sole national program anymore. People across the country know just as much, if not more, about Southern Cal, Miami and Ohio State, which has its own Heisman contender, Troy Smith, in the mix this season...and he, unlike Quinn, has played well.

Plus, it might be hard for ND backers to rationalize Quinn's candidacy after he steps on the field this week against a better player at the same position -- Michigan State's Drew Stanton.

Kudos to...
-- Clemson, which won at Florida State for the first time in 17 years.
-- Syracuse, which snapped an 11-game losing streak, with a 31-21 victory at Illinois.
-- Texas Christian, which beat Texas Tech, 12-3, to gain a measure of revenge against the Red Raiders for a 70-35 loss at Lubbock, Texas, two years ago.
-- Florida coach Urban Meyer, who had the gumption to win in his first trip to Tennessee while relying on freshman quarterback Tim Tebow for crucial runs.

Did you notice...
-- Clemson prevailed in the final minute at Tallahassee thanks to a fumble call being overturned by replay...a week after the Tigers lost courtesy of replay changing an interception into a last-minute catch for Boston College?
-- No. 3 Auburn got beat up by sixth-ranked Louisiana State but still won, 7-3, at Jordan-Hare Stadium?

Keep an eye on...
-- Stanton, Smith and West Virginia tailback Steve Slaton are obvious Heisman contenders, but the most valuable player in the game right now might be South Florida redshirt freshman Matt Grothe. In his first three games at the helm, Grothe has thrown for 647 yards and six TDs and run for 213 yards and a score.

As a result, the Bulls are 3-0, but then again, they've only faced McNeese State, Florida International and Central Florida.