From Heisman to Tobacco Road

Dec. 17

With a few minutes to kill here at PNC Arena in Raleigh before the Vols and NC State tipoff, I’ll belatedly reveal my Heisman Trophy ballot.
It’s boring this year. I’ve thrown out some wild-card votes in years past (Terrell Buckley, Bryant McKinnie). This year, however, it was strictly chalk: 1-Marcus Mariotta. 2-Melvin Gordon. 3-Amari Cooper. In a past era I was averse to voting for a quarterback who racked up a ton of passing yards. But the position has changed. I’ve got no problem voting for a quarterback who makes plays with both his arm and his legs. In fact, I like Mariotta so much I voted for him last year, too.

Meanwhile, on to hoops …

The Vols have their hands full tonight in their first true road game. But I’ll save that for the column. It occurs to me that other than the UCLA trophy case at Pauley Pavilion, nowhere is there a greater collection of NCAA basketball tournament hardware in close proximity than here in the Triangle.

North Carolina has five: 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009.
Duke has four: 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010.
N.C. State has two: 1974, 1983.

And they’re all within a few miles of each other.