The week of the Heisman Trophy announcement, quarterback Charlie Ward stopped in the office of Florida State athletic director Bob Goin.

"Junior," Goin told Ward, "Dec. 11 (the day the winner was announced) is going to be the greatest day in your life and one of the great days in Florida State athletic history."Ward answered: "No, Commissioner (Ward's nickname for Goin), the greatest day for me and Florida State is going to be Jan. 2. The Heisman Trophy is a great individual honor, one I will cherish 15 or 20 years from now, but winning the national championship is more important to me."

But if precedent means anything on New Year's Day, Ward and the Seminoles are in for big-time disappointment. That particular piece of hardware Ward picked up in New York has not been very lucky come bowl week recently:

- Since 1957, Heisman winners are 11-19 in bowl games.

- Since 1980, 10 have been losers (average loss by 19 points), two have been winners and one was on probation (Andre Ware of Houston).

- Since 1956, the bowl record of quarterbacks who won the Heisman Trophy is 4-5.

- Since 1965, Heisman Trophy winners playing for No. 1 are 1-7. Tony Dorsett of Pittsburgh was the successful one as his team defeated Georgia 27-3 in the Sugar Bowl.

"I'm aware of the record Heisman Trophy winners have had in bowl games," Ward said, "but people act like they're the only ones who lose or play poorly. People forget that anytime you go on the field, you're no better than 50-50 to win, and the same is true for you playing well or poorly. Whether you're the Heisman Trophy winner or not has nothing to do with it. It's just that people keep statistics on Heisman Trophy winners."

And statistics are kept on Heisman Trophy winners because they are special players and special people, anointed as the best college football player in the country, and since the announcement of the winner became a television event in 1981, it has only magnified the importance of the award.

"When you win the Heisman Trophy," said 1992 winner Gino Torretta of Miami, "you're at the pinnacle of the sport for that level. All eyes are on you. You become a household name."

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Ward, who set 19 school records and seven Atlantic Coast Conference records, has discovered how the fame of being the Heisman Trophy winner can change a person's life. The Friday before he left for New York to be announced as the winner, he needed to return a textbook to a campus bookstore. He asked his mother, Willard, to drive the 30 miles from his home in Thomasville, Ga., to do it because Ward knew if he did it, he would be besieged in the bookstore.

"My life has changed in many ways," Ward said, "and it will be impossible for a long time for me to live a normal life. I've enjoyed some of the things associated with winning the Heisman, but there have been a lot of demands on my time. I've been interested in preparing for Nebraska. I'm pleased to be the Heisman Trophy winner, but I'm more interested in having the ring."

There are a variety of theories why Heisman Trophy winners haven't been successful in bowl games. Dorsett doesn't think Ward will be affected by any of them.

"I know I was on mission and so was my team," said Dorsett, who had dinner with Florida State quarterback coach Mark Richt in New York. "As many times as Florida State has been denied in recent years, I can't imagine Charlie and his team approaching the Orange Bowl any other way. The Heisman Trophy has nothing to do with winning or losing the national championship. If Florida State's team is good enough, it will win. If it isn't, it won't."

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