Center of Attention

Center of Attention

Published Dec. 11, 2010 12:21 p.m. ET

Associated Press
December 10, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cam Newton
and the other finalists for the Heisman Trophy strolled into the room
together, posed for a couple of photos with the big bronze statue, then
spread out to separate tables to speak with reporters.

Andrew Luck, LaMichael James and Kellen Moore looked a little lonely.

The Auburn quarterback certainly draws a crowd these days.

sat back in a leather desk chair, frequently flashed a big grin and
casually answered questions from about a dozen reporters for 14 minutes
Friday, the day before he's expected to win the Heisman.

said he was not disappointed in his father, even though the NCAA
believes Cecil Newton tried to get Mississippi State to pay him in
exchange for his son playing there. The star QB was disappointed that
his dad decided not to attend the Heisman ceremony on Saturday night.

"It hurts, but that's a decision that he made," Cam Newton said.

has stayed an overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman, even though he
played much of the season's final month with a scandal developing around

The week before the Southeastern Conference championship
the NCAA announced that Cecil Newton tried to pull off a play-for-pay
scheme with Mississippi State, but there was no evidence that his son or
Auburn knew about it. The NCAA decided Cam Newton would be allowed to
play, but his father's access to Auburn athletics would be limited. The
sports governing body has left open the possibility that Cam Newton's
status could change if new evidence came to light.

Cecil Newton, in a statement released Thursday by his attorney, said he would not attend the ceremony.

"He's doing it (for) the betterment of me. Whatever his decision is, I'm all for it. And I'll stick to that," Cam said.

Newton said his mother, Jackie, and two brothers will be at the
ceremony and he plans to speak with his father by phone soon after it is

"I said on numerous occasions how I feel about my father," Newton said. "I love him with all my heart."

the field, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound junior has been the most dominant
player in college football of 2010. He leads the Southeastern Conference
in rushing, leads the nation in passer rating and has accounted for 50
touchdowns while guiding the top-ranked Tigers (13-0) to a spot in the
BCS national title game. Auburn will play No. 2 Oregon and James in
Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10.

James has said he'd vote for Newton to win the award and Moore, the Boise State quarterback, said the same on Friday.

"I don't expect to win, no," he said. "Certainly Cam is deserving of this."

Huston, who polls a sampling of Heisman voters throughout the season
and post the results at, predicts a landslide
victory for Newton, though the scandal probably will keep him from
breaking any records.

O.J. Simpson of Southern California has
the record for largest margin of victory in the Heisman voting. He beat
Purdue's Leroy Keyes by 1,750 points in 1968.

Huston predicted a
result more like 1998, when Ricky Williams of Texas beat Kansas State
quarterback Michael Bishop by 1,563 points, the fifth-largest margin in
Heisman history.

If Luck, the Stanford quarterback, finishes
second, it'll mark the first time two different players from the same
team were runners-up in consecutive seasons since Keyes and Mike Phipps
did it for Purdue in '68 and '69. Former Cardinal running back Toby
Gerhart finished second to Alabama's Mark Ingram last year.

voters have said that as long as Newton was eligible to play, they
would treat him like any other candidate. However, a few voters have
said they would not vote for Newton because of the scandal. It was only
three months ago that Reggie Bush, the 2005 Heisman winner for USC, gave
back his trophy after the NCAA ruled he had broken rules by accepting
cash and gifts while he was in college.

Newton said that the way
he's been portrayed in the media since news broke six weeks ago of his
father's dealings with Mississippi State has bothered him at times.

know how I feel about Cam Newton," he said. "I think he's a good guy.
If some people break down the football barrier .. they'll find out a lot
more than they've been getting in the recent past.

"I thank God
for putting me in a lot of situations because a person can get stronger
by adversity. And for me to go through that, I feel like I'm a stronger
person. And God won't put no more on you than you can bear."

He said winning the award would "be a dream come true."

"Will I cry?" he said. "I don't know you'll have to see tomorrow."