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Week Three Maxwell Pundit Ballot

By now, all of you are familiar with the weekly Maxwell Pundit balloting, so I will jump right in with this week's five most outstanding college football players, hoping all the while that additional explanations will not be required:

1. Steve Slaton (West Virginia): If you were watching Thursday evening's contest in Morgantown, you were amazed by the Mountaineer tailback's numbers: 21 carries for 195 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and 9.3 yards per carry. You were amazed because you'd have sworn he carried the ball 40 times for 500 yards and half a dozen touchdowns. This guy is good.

I'm not posting any more dadgum pictures from the Sugar Bowl, so, in lieu of another photograph of Steve Slaton knifing through the Georgia defense, I am substituting a shot of Kristin Davis. So there.

2. Prescott Burgess (Michigan): What with the Wolverines winning in South Bend, you knew a Maize and Blue linebacker would have to make the cut, didn't you? Burgess registered five tackles (including one for a loss), was credited with a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup, and hauled in two interceptions, which he returned for 66 yards and a touchdown on Notre Dame's first possession. That set the pace for the rout and helped to keep the Fighting Irish in check while Michigan romped.

3. Troy Smith (Ohio State): It was a lackluster outing from the Buckeyes as a team, as Ohio State held only a 13-7 lead at the halfway point of the third quarter, but it's hard to quarrel with the O.S.U. quarterback's 203-yard, two-touchdown, 21-for-30 performance. When his previous Saturdays' worth of work are factored into the mix, I can't keep Smith off of my ballot any longer.

4. Drew Tate (Iowa): The Cyclones had built up a 14-3 lead in the second quarter when the Hawkeyes' signal-caller went to work. In the end, Iowa beat its in-state rival 27-17 after Tate threw 38 passes, connecting on 26 of them for 274 yards and a trio of touchdowns. He also added 31 rushing yards for an average of 6.2 yards per carry.

The most popular Midwestern Drew since Carey.

5. Eddie Royal (Virginia Tech): The Hokies' return man advanced half a dozen punts for 138 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown run to put V.P.I. ahead by two scores. I don't care if you're playing Duke, that's a good day.

Honorable mention also goes to U.S.C.'s John David Booty and to Clemson's Will Proctor, one of whom is the subject of a Destiny's Child song and the other of whom is alleged to be a witch.

Go 'Dawgs!