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Thursday, November 5, 1998
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 53

On the Front 'Ro'

Cougar Football

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Photo courtesy of the University of Texas

Ricky Williams has fought his way to the hearts of Heisman voters as the sentimental favorite for the trophy.

Year of the Quarterback revisited; Williams takes top billing

Top 25 Notebook

Sharif Talukder

The Year of the QBs

In 1998, the quarterback crop will remind us of 1983, when Dan Marino, John Elway and Jim Kelly were drafted in the first round. Below is a summary of the top QBs this year.

Kentucky's Tim Couch reminds pro scouts of John Elway. He will leave after this year because the Cleveland franchise has promised him that he will be its first pick next year.

Dante Culpepper, from Central Florida, is a bigger, stronger version of Steve McNair. He will come into the NFL more prepared the McNair and will enjoy success early. Culpepper could break the NCAA single season completion percentage. 

Brock Huard of Washington is better than his brother and will leave after his junior year. He could be drafted by his brother's team, Miami, which is desperate to find an heir for Dan Marino. 

Donovan McNabb is the most gifted QB this year. He has a good arm which makes him a consistent passer, and he has great running instincts. He would go higher in the draft, but it might take him longer to understand a pro-style offense. 

These four are potential first round draft picks. There are other quarterbacks who will be drafted in the first day.

Cade McNown is a rich man's Danny Wuerffel or a poor man's Mark Brunell, depending on how you look at it. He is a proven winner and leader but lacks a strong arm, size and mobility, which will cause him to drop in the draft, like Brunell. 

Michael Bishop has a strong arm as he can throw the ball 94 yards. He is also very athletic. He reminds people of Steve McNair, but he's not as effective. Bishop has a pro arm but his poor accuracy will cause problems for him on draft day. 

Others to watch for: Akili Smith from Oregon; Shawn King from Tulane; Scott Covington from Miami; Joe Germaine from Ohio State; Aaron Brooks from Virginia.

Summary of BCS's top 4

UCLA (1) -- squeaked by Stanford but dropped to no. 3. Possibly Fiesta Bowl bound.

Ohio State (2) -- beat Northwestern 38-7. New no. 1.
Tennessee (3) -- beat South Carolina 49-14. Now no. 2.
Kansas State (4) -- beat Kansas 54-6. Too far behind to be no. 1. Heisman watch

The Heisman trophy was decided last weekend. With UT's stunner over Nebraska, everybody now wants to give it to Ricky Williams from UT.

Williams ran for 150 yards and has 24 TD's for the year. Williams faces Oklahoma State this weekend, but the big game will be against Texas A&M the day after Thanksgiving. 

Tim Couch has really helped his chances and now will win the Southeast. He has a total of 27 TDs. He plays against Mississippi State, and a victory over them will really bridge the gap.

Cade McNown is almost out of the Heisman chase unless he can impress the most of the voters who believe that stats are very important. If he loses one game, he will be out of it. He could go undefeated but lose anyway because Ricky Williams is the sentimental favorite. 

Joe Germaine has thrown for 300 yards in the last four games and is becoming the Brian Griese of this year. He is the leader of this team, but he won't win the Heisman because Ohio State has too much talent. Any decent quarterback could lead this team to an undefeated season.

This weekend

The big game this weekend is Virginia at Florida State.

Florida State is ranked number six, and a win will put them to number five. The Seminole's Chris Weinke has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and could be pre-season All-American next year. A feared running game and a good defense has propelled this team to one of the best. They are better than both Tennessee and Kansas State, but because of one loss they are ranked below them. 

Virginia has lost one game and will share the ACC title with a victory over Florida State. Aaron Brooks and Co. is good but not good enough to beat the mighty Seminoles.

Penn State at Michigan. This game will determine second place in the Big 10 and maybe a BCS Bowl bid. Penn State's season has been a pleasant surprise. They lost a lot players last year, but Coach Joe Paterno has assembled another great defense. 

Their offense is coming into their own. Michigan has S. Marcus Ray back in the starting lineup after a four game suspension. Michigan's QB Tom Brady is having a good year, and the defense is playing better now. This is will be a good battle, but look for Michigan to pull the upset. 

TV listings:

Tonight: East Carolina at Cincinnati on ESPN at 7 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. -- Purdue at Northwestern on KNWS; Penn State at Michigan on ABC; Air Force at Army on Fox Sports Net; Minnesota at Wisconsin at ESPN; Maryland at North Carolina on ESPN2.
11:30 -- Big 12 Game of the Week on CBS.
2:30 p.m. -- Oklahoma State at Texas on ABC.
3 -- Alabama at LSU on CBS.
5 -- Mississippi State at Kentucky on ESPN2.
5:30 -- PAC-10 Game of the Week on Fox Sports Net.
6 -- Oklahoma at Texas A&M on fX.
6:30 -- Syracuse at West Virginia on ESPN.
8 -- Wyoming at Colorado State on ESPN2. 

Reach Talukder at

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