The top five Heisman Trophy candidates for 1990 don't even play college football. They've all gone pro, opting for the big bucks of the pros over the shot at the college game's most prestigious award.
Andre Ware, last year's Heisman winner out of Houston, was drafted by the Detroit Lions, having passed up his senior year and a chance to become only the second two-time winner.
"I hate to see someone win it twice, but all other things being equal, I think he would have won it again," said Dick Mans-perger, the Dallas Cowboys' director of college scouting.
Major Harris (West Virginia) plays for British Columbia of the Canadian Football League, Emmitt Smith (Florida) was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, Rodney Hampton (Georgia) is a New York Giant, and Jeff George (Illinois) is an Indianapolis Colt.
With so many candidates gone, this year's race is even more wide-open than usual.
If Ware's victory proved anything, it was that you don't have to be on television every week or play for Notre Dame to win the Heisman. Ware's Houston Cougars were on NCAA probation last season and were barred from television, but Ware's numbers -- 4,699 yards passing and 46 touchdowns -- were so staggering, he won anyway.
Here is a look at 10 promising Heisman contenders:
Darian Hagan, Colorado. He took over at quarterback last year after Sal Aunese was diagnosed as having cancer, and led the newly inspired Buffaloes to an undefeated regular season, a Big Eight championship, and a national championship showdown with Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl.
He became only the sixth player in NCAA history to both run and pass for 1,000 yards, and he is the highest returning vote getter, finshing fifth in the Heisman race last year.
Eric Bieniemy, Colorado. Mansperger thinks Bienemy is the best player at Colorado. "He'll be as good as anyone," he said. "Especially in that offense."
Bieniemy's 1989 was cut short in midseason by a broken leg, but the speedy tailback is back and, with Colorado's run-oriented offense, will get plenty of opportunities to carry the ball. The fact that Colorado became a high-profile team last year won't hurt either.
Craig Erickson, Miami. The latest product of Quarterback U. (past Miami quarterbacks include Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde and Steve Walsh), Erickson led the Hurricanes to the national championship last year.
His numbers weren't staggering -- 147 for 273 with 2,003 yards and 16 touchdowns -- but he missed four games with a broken knuckle.
Ty Detmer, Brigham Young: As a sophomore, the quarterback picked up three first place votes and finished ninth in the Heisman voting. His 4,560 yards was slightly overshadowed by Ware's total, but in any other year would have been considered godly. He led the nation with a 175.6 passing efficiency rating.
Detmer is being called the best quarterback ever to come out of BYU, which has produced Steve Young, Marc Wilson, Robbie Bosco and Jim McMahon.
Emmanuel Hazard, Houston. Hazard was Ware's favorite target last year, and many thought Hazard's numbers were even more impressive: an NCAA-record 142 catches for 1,689 yards and 22 touchdowns, another record. He also had 19 catches in a game twice.
Houston intends to use the run-and-shoot again, which means Hazard could have similar numbers if Ware's heir apparent, David Klinger, finds him. If not, another Cougar, versatile running back Chuck Weatherspoon (1,146 yards rushing, 58 catches for 735 yards, and 510 yards on kick returns last year) might make a run at the Heisman.
Ricky Ervins, Southern California. If Miami is Quarterback U., then USC is Tailback U., having produced Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Charles White and Marcus Allen, all Heisman winners.
Ervins led the Pac-10 in rushing in 1989, gaining 1,395 yards with 10 touchdowns.
Raghib Ismail, Notre Dame. "The Rocket," has benefited from Notre Dame's exposure. He burst out of the pack last season with a big game on national TV against Michigan, showing skills similar to those of 1987 Notre Dame star and Heisman winner Tim Brown.
His versatility shined brightly in the Orange Bowl win over Colorado. Having played flanker most of the year, Coach Lou Holtz switched Ismail to tailback, and he gained 116 yards and was named the game's MVP.
For the season, Ismail scored twice on kickoff returns, once on a punt return and three times rushing. Amazingly, he didn't score as a receiver, but his 22.2 yards per catch led the nation.
Shawn Moore, Virgina. The quarterback was the ACC player of the year in 1989 and one of only two players to pass for more than 2,000 yards and rush more than 500.
The Cavaliers have won 15 of his last 17 starts. His 27 total touchdowns (18 passing, nine rushing) last season are an ACC record.
But for Moore to win, the Cavaliers must have a season equal to or better than 1989's 10-3 record, the best in school history.
Blaise Bryant, Iowa State. Ware proved you don't have to be on TV to win the Heisman, which is good news for Bryant, the nation's leading returning rusher (1,516 yards). He also scored 19 touchdowns.
The Cyclones finished 6-5 last season, and there is no indication they will improve upon -- or even match -- that this season.
Chris Zorich, Notre Dame. He's a real sleeper, since no exclusively defensive player has ever won the Heisman. Zorich anchors the Notre Dame defense from his nose guard position, and has the reputation as a hard tackler, although his 6-foot-1, 266-pound body is small by major college standards.
Zorich, however, will benefit from Notre Dame's constant national exposure and the Fighting Irish tradition: Seven Heisman winners have come from Notre Dame, more than any other school.