Make USC quarterback Matt Leinart Sportsman of the Year if only to prove to every cross-eyed, fat and bullied kid that someday, revenge can be theirs. That was Leinart until he was 14.
Make Matt Leinart Sportsman of the Year if only to thank him for being the first college athlete since practically ever to turn his back on scads of NFL cash to come back and play football his senior year -- for his school, for his friends, for the fun of it. When's the last time you ever heard of a crappy truck, two-bedroom apartment and $1,050 stipend defeating a $50 million contract?
Make Matt Leinart Sportsman of the Year if only to congratulate him for a winning streak of mind-warping magnificence. Going into this week, he'd won 33 straight college football games and was closing in on three straight national titles. In this college football era of limited scholarships, this is the equivalent of Man Climbs K-2 in Roller Blades.
Make Matt Leinart Sportsman of the Year if only to make up for all the endless crap he's received for taking that stupid Ballroom Dancing class his girlfriend dragged him to.
Make Matt Leinart Sportsman of the Year if only for the sheer marbles it took to try -- let alone pull off -- two preposterously courageous plays at Notre Dame in the Trojans' epic three-point win over the Irish: 1) calling an audible on the do-or-die- fourth-and-9 with precious seconds left. Somehow, Leinart shoe-horned the pass to his half-blinded roommate for 61 yards and a first down. 2) going for the win -- not the spike and the tie -- with the entire season and the national title in the pot. And making it. Remember when Notre Dame's Ara Parseghian went for the tie against Michigan State with the title on the line? Not Leinart. Man has some coconuts.
Make Matt Leinart Sportsman of the Year if only for the urn he'd get as the trophy. If you've ever seen his apartment, you'd know: He can use the furniture.