This isn't about the Heisman Trophy. Whether or not Reggie Bush wins the famed bronzed statuette is as insignificant as a linebacker trying to cover Bush in the open field. No, for a moment let's take a step back and simply savor the marvelous vision of Bush running circles around opposing teams,without tarnishing it with talk about a trophy whose past recipients include Gino Torretta, Andre Ware and Eric Crouch.
Look at the faces of the helpless defenders who try to tackle Bush, and watch them fall over themselves like villains trying to take on Bruce Lee in a Kung Fu movie. Look at the people in the crowd hold their breaths with anticipation every time Bush touches the ball. Look at his teammates as they whoop and holler and hit each other like fans at a slam dunk contest every time he reverses field and makes players miss.
Ask any player on the USC football team who their most valuable player is and they will all -- even Matt Leinart, the team's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback -- say Bush. Despite being unbeatable for the past two years, the Trojans know that they would probably have a handful of losses if it hadn't been for the man they call The President. Says USC coach Pete Carroll, "I told him you're the most valuable guy on the field for what you're creating by your presence."
To every father who has sat down with his child and tried to describe the greatness of Gale Sayers or the elusiveness of Barry Sanders, breathe easy. The next generation has arrived. In Bush, who averages more than 200 all-purpose yards per game and scores a touchdown nearly every 10 times he touches the ball, college football fans are treated to the most exciting player in the sport every Saturday.
Bush is my Sportsman of the Year not because I think the best college football player will actually win the award. He's my choice because he's everything you could ask for in a true sportsman: from his chiseled physique, to his modest personality, to his uncanny ability to make the impossible somehow possible whenever he takes the field.
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Sports Illustrated will announce the 2005 Sportsman of the Year winner on Friday, Dec. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. Check back every weekday until then to read more Sportsman picks from SI writers.