FRIDAY FODDER: Cam Newton too risky of a Heisman pick | NevadaAppeal.com

FRIDAY FODDER: Cam Newton too risky of a Heisman pick

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Cam Newton would not get my Heisman vote if I had one. Yes, he’s innocent of any illegal recruiting activities until proven guilty. And, yes, he’s a great player. So why not vote him the Heisman Trophy? It’s simply not worth it. The Heisman Trophy, after what happened with Reggie Bush recently, needs to be protected. It’s luster needs to be restored. The Heisman folks don’t need another Reggie Bush headache and embarrassment.

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There are plenty of other worthy Heisman winners out there. He’ll never win it because the vast majority of Heisman voters are idiot, mindless robots who just vote for the guy they see most frequently on Sports Center but if I had a vote I’d give it to Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. The kid is a throwback. He’s Roger Staubach on a blue field. You won’t have to worry about any Heisman scandal with this kid. He plays the toughest position in sports almost flawlessly, rarely making a mistake. He would be a terrific representative of the Heisman, at a time when the old award needs it the most.

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Is Newton guilty of any NCAA wrongdoing? It sure looks like it. He goes from Florida to a Texas junior college to Auburn. That alone should send up red flags. And now it looks like Auburn won his services by putting in the highest bid. That’s OK if you are Cliff Lee, not so good if you are a college quarterback. You know what really leads me to believe Newton’s recruiting was tainted? Lane Kiffin, a guy who is most likely on the NCAA infractions committee’s friends and family plan, said he didn’t offer Newton a scholarship at Tennessee because he wasn’t a good fit for his program. Yeah, right. You don’t offer a 6-foot-6, 250-pound amazing athlete with once-a-generation skills a scholarship because he doesn’t fit your offense? Really? It’s more likely that Tennessee couldn’t afford him.

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The worst trade in history? Babe Ruth for cash? Steve Young and Brett Favre (in separate deals) for draft picks? Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi? Vlade Divac for Kobe Bryant? Bill Clinton for George W. Bush? Well, now you might have to add Nevada, Boise State and Fresno State for Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and Denver (and possibly Montana and Seattle) to your list of all-time trade disasters. That’s what it looks like the Western Athletic Conference, which will lose Boise, Fresno and the Pack after the 2011-12 season to the Mountain West Conference, is about to do. Couldn’t they even get a sixth-round pick and a dozen baseballs tossed into the deal?

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Don’t blame the WAC for making such a one-sided deal. When a John Elway doesn’t want to play for your organization, sometimes you just have to trade him for Mark Herrmann and a couple draft picks and cut your losses. Denver, Texas State and Texas-San Antonio (and Montana and Seattle, if they are involved) make sense for the conference. Denver is close to the WAC headquarters in Colorado. The Texas schools are close to Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State. Texas-San Antonio might also eventually bring the Alamo Bowl to the WAC. Montana fits in nicely with Idaho. And Seattle, well, has nice sea food. So give commissioner Karl Benson credit for getting his league quickly in order after Nevada and Fresno State loaded up the moving vans one night in August.

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Former Nevada Wolf Pack baseball players Lyle Overbay and Chad Qualls each might have picked the wrong year to become a free agent. Overbay is among a deep group of veteran first basemen (Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Adam LaRoche and Carlos Pena) looking for work. And he’s coming off a year when he hit just .243 with 67 RBI in 154 games. Qualls is coming off his worst big league season (7.32 earned run average). Another former Pack pitcher, Eddie Bonine, was recently released by the Detroit Tigers and is looking for a job. But don’t worry for any of them. All three of them are exactly what organizations are looking for in this economy – solid big leaguers with experience who won’t cost much.