Publish date:

Phil Taylor's Sidelines


Should a freshman win the Heisman Trophy? Good question. Here's a better one: Why isn't California tailback J.J. Arrington (right) getting more consideration for the award? It's time for voters to stop trying to decide whether they should cast their ballot for rookie sensation Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma and start taking a closer look at Arrington, who has had a superior season to Peterson's in almost every category except publicity. Like Peterson, Arrington hasn't been held below 100 yards in a game this season, and the senior's 7.0 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns outshine Peterson's 5.7 and nine. With 188 yards in the Golden Bears' 28-27 win over Oregon on Saturday, Arrington closed to within 166 yards of the school's single-season rushing record of 1,460. Chuck Muncie, who set that mark in 1975, has compared the 5'11", 210-pound Arrington to San Diego Chargers tailback LaDainian Tomlinson. Muncie finished second in the Heisman balloting in his record-breaking season, which is higher than Arrington will finish unless voters recognize that Peterson isn't the only back having a sensational year.


Ohio State freshman Ted Ginn Jr. (left) is listed as a defensive back on the Buckeyes' roster, but that tag doesn't begin to capture him--which Michigan State also found difficult to do. Ginn, USA Today's 2003 high school defensive player of the year, had a game that his multitalented idols, Charles Woodson and Deion Sanders, would have been proud of. He scored touchdowns on a 17-yard end-around, a 60-yard punt return and a 58-yard reception in Ohio State's 32-19 win over the Spartans. Ginn undoubtedly would love to have completed his superfecta by scoring on an interception return, but he's proving to be so valuable to the Buckeyes' struggling offense that he gets little playing time at corner, at least for the moment. A former high school sprinter who narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympic trials, Ginn raced to the end zone untouched on all three touchdowns. "I don't think he'll ever be caught from behind," says junior linebacker A.J. Hawk. If Ginn is not the fastest player in the nation, he is surely the most efficient: He has touched the ball 24 times this season and scored six touchdowns.


You think the Boston Red Sox had a long dry spell? The Sox at least won a few division titles and pennants during their 86-year wait between World Series championships. Iowa State is 0 for the last 92 years; the Cyclones haven't finished first in their conference or division since 1912. But a 34-27 win over Nebraska puts Iowa State in position to change that. With victories in their final two games, against Kansas State and Missouri, the Cyclones will win the Big 12 North. "When we played Texas A&M [a 34-3 loss on Oct. 9], people were leaving early," said redshirt freshman wideout Todd Blythe. "At the end of this game the stands were empty again, but it's because everybody came down on the field to celebrate."