Colt no longer a Heisman dark horse

AUSTIN, TX At least so says the weekly poll of a handful of Heisman voters by the Rocky Mountain News.

Lets' get this straight: The guy who three seasons ago was supposed to be a step down from Vince Young could end up winning the trophy the mighty VY couldn't?


In 2005, Young had arguably the greatest season by a college player since Barry Sanders in 1988, passing for 3,036 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushing for 1,050 yards and 12 scores as Texas went 13-0 and won the national championship.

Young beat Ohio State and Oklahoma during the regular season and Texas, ranked No. 2 all year, won its first Big 12 conference title under coach Mack Brown. It still wasn't enough for Young to win the trophy. He finished second in the vote behind Southern California tailback Reggie Bush.

It wasn't until Young put on a stunning performance with 567 yards rushing and passing in the Rose Bowl to beat USC 41-38 that many voters finally realized they might have made the wrong choice. Bush was good that night, Young was better.

It makes one wonder if the 2005 Heisman vote could work for or against McCoy by season's end.

On the one hand, could some voters feel guilty about not choosing Young and therefore default to the next good Texas quarterback?

Or might some have a hard time voting for McCoy simply because no matter what he does, it would be hard to measure up to the brilliance of Young, who at the time was still deemed not good enough to win?

McCoy and Young are friends and have stayed in touch since Young left for the NFL in the 2006 draft. And while he shrugs it off, McCoy is drawing comparisons to his predecessor, from his results on the field to his leadership in the lockerroom.

In 2005, Young challenged his teammates to show up for summer quarterback-receiver workouts. "Want to beat Ohio State? Be there!" was Young's message.

McCoy used to get mad when teammates didn't show up for those workouts, now he's the one who will go find them and drag them there.

"This summer, I heard `I went to get them,"' coach Mack Brown said.

Like Young that season, McCoy is Texas' leading rusher after six games, with 347 yards and four touchdowns. He also has passed for 1,557 yards and 17 TDs. With a completion rate of 79 percent, he's No. 4 in the nation in passing efficiency.

And most important, he keeps winning and the Longhorns (6-0, 2-0 Big 12) are ranked No. 1.

Two other QBs considered among the Heisman favorites both lost last weekend. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford had five touchdown passes against Texas but took the loss in a 45-35 Longhorns win.

Missouri's Chase Daniel, a Heisman finalist last season, was looking good until he threw three interceptions in a home loss to Oklahoma State. He can regain some of his mojo and knock some of the shine off McCoy if No. 11 Missouri can upset top-ranked Texas on Saturday night.

Brown says he doesn't worry about McCoy chasing the Heisman. His QB is too grounded in team goals of winning the Big 12 and chasing a national title instead, Brown said. In many years, the Heisman race comes down not to who's the best player in the country, but who is the best player on the best team.

Brown has told his QB that the most important thing to remember in the Heisman race is winning. Win all the games and the rest will fall into place.

That in itself is a huge challenge. Four of Texas' next six opponents are ranked in the top 16. Lose any of those games and McCoy could find himself out of contention. Win them all and it would be hard to argue against him.

Winning all the games didn't work for Young. Will it work for McCoy?

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