QUIZZ FOR HEISMAN -- South by Southwest?

IF JACQUIZZ RODGERS is to win the Heisman in 2010, there exist some prerequisites and we're not necessarily talking about specific feats on the football field. If last year's Heisman race, which featured a Pac-10 runner up in the closest voting in Heisman history, is any indication, Quizz can start by...

... winning the South and Southwest.

Or, at least, have a better showing than did Gerhart in those two regions in 2009.

THE SOUTH held the largest difference between winner Mark Ingram and runner up -- and Pac-10 player -- Toby Gerhart.

Ingram took his largest regional total -- 254 -- from the South while Gerhart received 176 nods, a difference of 78 votes.

The Mid-Atlantic was next largest, with 35 votes separating the two but the Southwest may be a more critical region for Quizz if the '09 campaign is any indicator.

First, almost the same number (34 votes) as the Mid-Atlantic separated the two in the Southwest -- but perhaps more importantly, Ingram was third and Gerhart was fourth in the Southwest voting. And here, Gerhart picked up his lowest vote total of any region (180).

Ingram finished just 28 points ahead Gerhart in the final voting, 1,304 to 1,276. Change those South and Southwest numbers only slightly and it's a different ending. Meanwhile, the Northeast had Gerhart with 19 fewer votes than Ingram.

AND AS YOU MOVED farther West, the better the news got better and better for the Stanford running back.

In the Midwest, Gerhart fell just eight votes shy of Ingram. In the West, Gerhart clobbered the Alabama running back, winning his only region in the voting 319-153, a plus tally of 166 votes.

QUIZZ SHOULD HAVE an advantage Gerhart did not enjoy in the South, however -- Oregon State plays TCU on Sep. 4 in the season opener. On ESPN.

That's about as good as it gets in terms of early season exposure in the South for a Northwest Pac-10 team.

Jacquizz Rodgers also just happens to be from Texas, and high school football in the Lone Star State is a religion. That, too, will help.

A good showing in the opener by Quizz is more apt to make Heisman voters in the South look for him over the course of the season, even though it might mean navigating a bit to find him.

ALTHOUGH COLLEGE FOOTBALL has more games available than ever before, it doesn't necessarily mean a voter in Atlanta, Dallas or Gainesville is going to tune in at 6 or 7 p.m. local time (or later) on a Saturday night, and change his cable/satellite package so he can (maybe) pull in OSU on an FSN regional channel or Versus -- all in order to watch a Pac-10 matchup without regional ties to his area.

But if Quizz runs wild at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, plus the fact he's from Richmond, about 45 minutes outside of Houston, that'll combine to create an ongoing interest. And more Heisman voters will follow his progress over the course of the season.

Exposure, and getting the eyes of the Heisman voters from afar tuning in on Saturdays, that's what wins this race.

Run South by Southwest, Quizz.


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