Almost everybody in the Western Hemisphere thinks Southern Cal tailback Marcus Allen will be awarded the Heisman Trophy tonight in New York.
Jim McMahon, the Brigham Young quarterback and a Heisman candidate himself, isn't planning to be within 3,000 miles of the official ceremony, he's so sure Allen will win. "I'm flying to Phoenix," McMahon said.
Ohio State's Art Schlichter, another Heisman candidate, offered this congratulatory message to Allen: "Marcus deserves it, and he will get it."
There was perhaps only one person among 2,500 at the Pigskin Club's 44th annual awards dinner at the Capital Hilton last night who wasn't absolutely, positively certain Allen would win the 1981 Heisman Trophy. Marcus Allen.
"Everybody is sure except me," Allen said about 10 minutes before he and McMahon received the John L. Young trophies as NCAA offensive players of the year. "I'm optimistic, though," Allen said, accepting congratulations from a well-wisher and enjoying every moment of the evening.
"This is my first black-tie banquet, and hopefully, there'll be a lot more in the next few weeks," continued Allen, the first man ever to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a college season.
When jokingly asked what flight he was taking to New York for the ceremony tonight, Allen smiled and said, "I don't know anything about it. I haven't heard a thing.
"I know those guys -- Art and Jim -- have already registered their votes for me. But their votes don't count, unfortunately," Allen said, again breaking into laughter. "I'm really enjoying this, though."
The one person who found it hard to enjoy the evening was McMahon, holder of more than 80 NCAA passing and offense records. McMahon had to set the record straight early.
It wasn't McMahon's fault he came to this snazzy black-tie dinner wearing a tan leather blazer, a plaid button-down shirt, blue knit necktie, light blue slacks and tan tassled loafers. (And don't forget the rose-colored shades).
"Nobody told me this was black-tie," McMahon said. "I'm not even dressed right. I thought it was just shirt and tie. Oh, boy."
Also honored were: Bob Milloy of Springbrook High School, coach of the year; Danny Ford of Clemson, college coach of the year; Kenneth Sims of Texas, lineman of the year; Schlichter, outstanding leadership; Bobby Frazier of Bethune-Cookman, Mid-Eastern Athletic coach of the year; Booker Reese of Bethune-Cookman, MEAC player of the year; Willard Bailey of Virginia Union, CIAA coach of the year; James Hamilton of Elizabeth City State, CIAA player of the year; and Perry Tuttle of Clemson, who received the Pigskin Club Special Award. The Pigskin Club also presented achievement plaques to its all-Metropolitan high school football team and a special high school award to De Matha's Roger Alexander.