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Decisive day ahead

Showdown in South Bend will have major impact

Posted: Sunday October 9, 2005 7:14PM; Updated: Sunday October 9, 2005 10:41PM
Could Notre Dame's  Brady Quinn vault to No. 1 in the Heisman Watch with a signature game against USC?
Could Notre Dame's Brady Quinn vault to No. 1 in the Heisman Watch with a signature game against USC?
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

There is one man who controls a large portion of the 2005 Heisman race, serving as a sort of Karl Rove in a headset: USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. If he calls a pass play, quarterback Matt Leinart's chances improve. If Kiffin wants to run the ball, then your winner could be Reggie Bush or LenDale White. Right now any of the three could end up carrying the trophy, and on Saturday against Notre Dame, one should emerge as the one to beat. And he'll have Kiffin to thank.

1. Reggie Bush, RB, USC, Jr.

Last week: 14 rushes, 110 yards; 2 receptions, 16 yards in a 42-21 win against Arizona
Season: 71 rushes, 601 yards, 6 TDs; 13 receptions, 191 yards, 2 TDs; 7 punt returns, 40 yards; 8 kickoff returns, 140 yards

The lowdown: USC scored 42 points but not one from Bush? (Gasp.) To be fair, Bush suffered a minor right knee strain early in the game, giving fellow running back White a chance to crank up his Heisman hype. On a team with three guys who could make a case for the award, Bush gets the nod for now.

Up next: Saturday at No. 9 Notre Dame

2. Vince Young, QB, Texas, Jr.

Last week: 14-of-27 passing, 241 yards, 3 TDs; 17 rushes, 45 yards in a 45-12 victory against Oklahoma
Season: 68-of-109 passing, 1,021 yards, 10 TDs, 5 INTs; 65 rushes, 355 yards, 2 TDs

The lowdown: If the Heisman went to the Most Valuable Player, V.Y. (as he's known to his teammates) would have Bush, Leinart and others already beat. He's the biggest beneficiary of those who can't decide between the Trojans.

Up next: Saturday vs. No. 24 Colorado

3. Matt Leinart, QB, USC, Sr.

Last week: 26-of-40 passing, 360 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT in a 42-21 victory against Arizona
Season: 108-of-166 passing, 1,646 yards, 12 TDs, 3 INTs

The lowdown: One week after suffering a concussion in an un-Leinart like performance against Arizona State, the USC quarterback bounced back with an effortless 360-yard day against the Wildcats. Look for him to take control of the Heisman race Saturday facing an Irish defense ranked 114th against the pass.

Up next: Saturday at No. 9 Notre Dame

4. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame, Jr.

Last week: Idle
Season: 124-of-190 passing, 1,621 yards, 13 TDs, 3 INTs

The lowdown: Quinn didn't even play Saturday, but he moved up the list once the Watchman took a second look at his season. He has the numbers and only lacks a quality win. (Sorry, Michigan doesn't count.) Quinn has his opportunity for the signature victory Saturday.

Up next: Saturday vs. No. 1 USC

5. Brian Calhoun, RB, Wisconsin, Jr.

Last week: 23 rushes, 122 yards, 1 TD; 11 receptions, 128 yards in a 51-48 loss at Northwestern
Season: 176 rushes, 849 yards, 11 TDs; 26 receptions, 295 yards

The lowdown: He was outrushed by Northwestern's freshman sensation, Tyrell Sutton (who may find himself on the list shortly), but not outplayed. As he did against Michigan, Calhoun again showed he's a running-receiving threat but this time couldn't lead his team to a victory. Those who take home the trophy win that type of game.

Up next: Saturday at No. 22 Minnesota