AUSTIN, Texas -- Upon further review, the predicted demise of Cedric Benson's Heisman Trophy campaign appears to have been premature.
All but written out of the Heisman picture after Texas lost 12-0 to Oklahoma back on Oct. 9, the senior tailback has piled up too many yards and touchdowns to ignore.
"For a team with one loss or no losses, there's not a more valuable player on offense than him in the country," Texas coach Mack Brown said.
Benson said he's earned a trip New York as one of the finalists.
"I'm just waiting on an invitation," he said.
The Heisman ballot instructs voters to name the most outstanding player of the year. Sometimes it's hard to ignore a great career, such as Benson has had.
"Who else has been as consistent over four years?" Brown said. "He passes Heisman Trophy winners every week with what he does. And if you want to talk about a particular season, well he's done real well."
College football analyst and Heisman voter Kirk Herbstreit says he will vote strictly on what a player has done this season, but acknowledges others might not.
He ranks Benson among his top candidates because he has excelled in a one-dimensional offense. Defenses know their primary job is to shut down Benson. The Longhorns rank just 106th in the nation in passing.
"They're still a run-first offense," Herbstreit said. "He's still facing eight, sometimes nine-man fronts. That's why I really appreciate what he's accomplished, maybe more than some of the others."
Benson's 1,438 yards are a career-high and his average of two touchdowns per game leads the nation in scoring. He ranks fourth with 159.8 yards per game for the sixth-ranked Longhorns (8-1).
But he's also just one of several players having standout years. The Heisman race is so cluttered this season that some outstanding players inevitably will be left out of the awards ceremony.