Heisman Hero

Cam Newton runs away with Heisman Trophy in landslide vote.

Cam Newton runs away with Heisman Trophy in landslide vote.

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton won this year's Heisman Trophy in a landslide vote, receiving 729 of 886 possible first-place votes and 2,263 total points to beat Stanford runner-up Andrew Luck (1,079 points), Oregon's LaMichael James (916) and Boise State's Kellen Moore (635).

Newton joins Pat Sullivan (1971) and Bo Jackson (1985) as the third Heisman Trophy winner in Auburn history following a roller coaster ride season on The Plains. Newton led the Tigers to a 13–0 record, SEC title and spot in the BCS National Championship Game.

The one-man offense completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 2,589 yards, 28 TDs and six INTs, while also rushing for 1,409 yards and 20 TDs amid constant media scrutiny concerning pay-for-play allegations.

In the end, however, Newton was clearly the finest player in the country and was acknowledged as such by Heisman voters.

"Thank you to the Auburn family," said Newton, during an emotional acceptance speech on Saturday night. "Thank you for all the support that you have given me during these trying times. I also want to give a special thanks to my teammates. Without those guys I wouldn't be here right now getting the recognition."

The 6'6", 250-pound junior transferred to Auburn after leading Blinn College to the NJCAA National Championship in 2009 and spending two seasons with the Florida Gators from 2007-08.

If Newton leads Auburn to a victory over Oregon on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz., in the BCS title game, he will have won three straight national championships — as a redshirt at Florida in 2008, the star at Blinn College last year and the Heisman-winning leader at Auburn this season.

Gator Raid

After Urban Meyer retired for the second straight offseason — this time for real — Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley had to fill one of the most coveted coaching posts in the country.

Foley didn't wait long to tap the heir to the Mack Brown throne, Texas coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp. The Longhorns defensive coordinator is a fiery 39-year-old who should breathe life back into a Gator team that went 7–5 this season.

"We wanted a candidate who was high energy and had been on the big stage," Foley said in an official statement. "We wanted a candidate who was respected by his players and his peers, and we wanted someone who had a passion for the University of Florida. Coach Muschamp is all of those things and more."

Muschamp grew up in Gainesville before playing safety at Georgia and serving as defensive coordinator at LSU (2001-04), Auburn (2006-07) and Texas (2008-10).

Golden Opportunity

Down the road in Coral Gables, the University of Miami also made a splash by hiring a young, energetic head coach in 41-year-old Al Golden, who took lowly Temple from a 1–11 team in his first season in 2006 to an 8–4 squad set to play in its second straight bowl game this season.

"Al Golden did not just win games at Temple University, but he built a football program and he did it the right way," Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw told The Associated Press. "He engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in Division I history."

Golden will have much more to work with at Miami. Although the once-proud program is coming off a disappointing 7–5 season — and ending a mediocre 28–22 run under four seasons with outgoing coach Randy Shannon — there is plenty of talent on the Hurricanes current roster as well as in the backyard of The U.

At Miami, Golden will not have to go far to recruit the best players in the nation. And if he can maximize that type of five-star talent like he did with the one-stars at Temple, the Canes will be back in the national title hunt sooner than expected.

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Auburn's Cam Newton ran away with this year's Heisman Trophy in a landslide vote.

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