Heisman preview

While the rest of the county gets ready to tune into the middle of Times Square to watch what should turn out to be a Reggie Bush coronation ceremony, I'm sitting downstairs at the Hard Rock Café, a picture of Steven Tyler screaming in my face. There are still over three hours until the actual presentation of the trophy, so right now this feels like getting into a concert while the equipment is still being unloaded from the bus.

SportsCenter is playing on each of the four television sets around the room, and the GameDay crew continues to chime in with their thoughts on the Heisman race. At the front of the room, a stage is lit up, a USC Trojan banner displayed stage right, a Texas Longhorn banner stage left. The middle of the stage is left for the podium and a small, covered table, which will soon support one of the most recognizable trophies in all of sports.

The sound guys are scurrying around, yelling to turn microphones on and then off and back on again, making it pretty much impossible to follow the Division II title game between North West Missouri State and Grand Valley State. But then, I suppose that's not really the main event here.

A buffet is slowly being set up along the back wall, so you'll have to excuse me if this is rushed, or if types of food end up somehow placed between or within words.

All three of the finalists will make their way over to this press conference after the awarding of the trophy, but most people are shuffling their Reggie Bush Q&A cards to the back of the pack, expecting him to be the last one out as the recipient of the award.

If you have followed this race closely or checked into www.stiffarmtrophy.com, you know that it would be tough to define this as a true "race." It has become more of a microcosm of the season for Reggie Bush. During seemingly every game this season, with two opponents hot on his heels picking up pursuit angles as he heads for the end zone, Bush would find that extra gear, hurdle, or stop-and-start move to outrace and outdistance his competition, putting each game, and the Heisman, out of reach.

Bush may not have led the nation in rushing, and he may not have scored the most touchdowns, but when you take a look at the 2005 regular season, that's about all he didn't do.

While turning in what could end up being the most memorable season in Trojan history, Bush dazzled fans, dove into endzones and dizzied opponents. He played with one shoe, one sleeve and one goal. He cut left, cut right and cut blocked. In one game he broke the school record for total yards and the world record for "Ooohs and Aaaahs."

The Heisman people will probably present a Reggie Bush highlight tape during his portion of the broadcast tonight and I'm telling you right now it won't show 10% of what he did this season.

Of course, I suppose it's not exactly a done deal yet, and as far as I know, Vince Young and Matt Leinart haven't made any plans to leave early, but it's tough to imagine either one of them making up enough points in the late stages of voting to take it away from Bush.

Speaking of Leinart, how much fun do you think he's having right now? All he gets is a trip to New York City as one of the nation's three best players and a chance to hang out with his friend and teammate. He must feel like a married guy at his buddy's bachelor party about now. He's done this all before and gone home with his trophy and now he gets to enjoy this all again, and, maybe, let in a sneaking suspicion about, "What if…?" Of course, when Leinart goes home he won't have to deal with questions all night from his trophy like, "Was Reggie's trophy shinier than me?"

While Leinart gets another free trip and a much deserved vacation, it should be Bush that comes home with the hardware this year. It's not just the flash or pizzazz of Bush that makes it so easy to root for him. It's his personality, his love for the game and his occasional feistiness. I found it funny that in a recent article on espn.com, many of Bush's teammates, former Trojans and college football analysts were asked their opinion of Reggie Bush and when it was Pete Carroll's turn to talk, all he mentioned was a day during Bush's freshman year when he tried to pick three separate fights with older players during drills.

Bush's intensity is unmatched by any player in the game and tonight his journey will come full circle, from picking fights, to picking up the Heisman Trophy. And the title of College Football's greatest player couldn't be given to a more deserving individual.


Stage gets ready for Heisman media presentation


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