By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

While everyone is paying attention to a certain spectacular high-school athlete, there's a small ceremony this weekend at the Yale Club in Manhattan for a couple of college football players. Why is the Heisman Trophy ceremony hot this year? In a word: suspense.

Everyone's got a favorite among the five finalists, but there's no clear-cut choice. Each has a different hook: Miami QB Ken Dorsey, Mr. Lifetime Achievement? His teammate, RB Willis McGahee, just a sophomore? Will they split the votes from their region, opening the door for USC QB Carson Palmer, who started this season as a punchline, or Penn State RB Larry Johnson, who started the season as an afterthought but earned more than 2,000 yards? The guy who really deserves it, Iowa QB Brad Banks, is out-of-sight-out-of-mind from not playing in a month.

It's not about NFL potential -- the guy with the most, Marshall QB Byron Leftwich, didn't even make the finalist cut. Regardless, uncertainty makes for a compelling story -- and brings the Trophy a cachet it hasn't had in years. For more on what's hot and what's not for the Heisman -- and the rest of the sports world  check out the list below:

What's Hot, What's Not this week
Category Hot Not
Rose, Part I Hall of Fame candidate Appealing bowl game
Rose, Part II Acknowledge it! Mere apologies
College football look-back
"The Junction Boys"

Gino Torretta's Heisman campaign
Must-have running back Ricky Williams Priest Holmes
Bad team getting better Grizzlies Heat
Exit strategy for college FB coach
Get fired (like Toledo)

Bandwagon-jump (like Franchione)
Best big man in college hoops Mario Austin Nick Collison
Chicago Bears problem
Too many wins to get Leftwich

Jim Miller's gone
Division I men's soccer powerhouse Maryland UCLA
College football game to watch Division III semis: John Carroll vs. Mt. Union Division 1-A playoff first round (oh, wait a sec ...)
Kyle Turley's big problem
"But he did it, too!"

Recognizing what he did was wrong in the first place
Advice for Marvin Lewis Hold out for an NFL job Go to East Lansing, Michigan
Criteria This season's accomplishments Lifetime achievement
Voting blocs West Coast for C. Palmer Southeast splits vote between Dorsey.McGahee
What about sophs?
McGahee deservers consideration

Watchutakinbout, Willis?
QB Brad Banks Ken Dorsey
Premature 2003 front-runner
Injury-free Maurice Clarett

Dorsey replacement Brock Berlin
Way-too-premature 2004 front-runner Brad Smith, Missouri Marcus Vick, Virginia Tech
And this year's winner will be ... Brad Banks (voters want to show how smart they are) Larry Johnson (team not that good)
Post-"Sopranos" escape "Oz" Non-prison shows
Gift Trivial Pursuit, 20th Anniv. Edition Striped anything
Weekend flick
"Drumline" (My girlfriend says "Maid in Manhattan". Not on my watch.)

"The Hot Chick" (My girlfriend agrees.)

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "What's Hot, What's Not" trend-spotting list appears Thursdays. Got inside scoop on an up-and-coming trend? Want to declare something passé? Send this glimpse of your hipness to hotnotlist@yahoo.com.




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THE HOT LIST