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The final ballot

UT's Young was worthy, but USC's Bush was amazing

Posted: Tuesday December 6, 2005 1:01PM; Updated: Tuesday December 6, 2005 1:59PM
Reggie Bush gave UCLA's D fits on Saturday.
Reggie Bush gave UCLA's D fits on Saturday.
John W. McDonough/SI
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This isn't exactly news, but Reggie Bush is the most outstanding college football player of 2005. He is today and he was back in August, before a ball had been placed on a tee. The question from the outset was never about Bush's ability, but whether he would get enough touches to showcase it. In my opinion, he did.

Thanks to all who read the Watch and sent comments, including those unprintable ones from all of you DeAngelo Williams backers.

Here's how the Watchman filled out his ballot:

1. Reggie Bush, RB, USC, Jr.

Last week: 24 rushes, 260 yards, 2 touchdowns; 1 punt return, 1 yard; 1 kickoff return, 12 yards, in a 66-19 victory over No. 11 UCLA

Season: 187 rushes, 1,658 yards, 15 touchdowns; 31 receptions, 383 yards, 2 touchdowns; 18 punt returns, 179 yards, 1 touchdown; 23 kickoff returns, 391 yards

The lowdown: With his speed and ankle-breaking moves, Bush amazed like few running backs in recent history. He vaulted to the top of the Watch after his performance against Notre Dame and only dropped out of the top spot for a couple or weeks when his production wasn't keeping up with his ability. Then, he turned the Fresno State game into a one-man show, gashed the rumor that is UCLA's defense two weeks later, and, well, you have your winner.

2. Vince Young, QB, Texas, Jr.

Last week: 14-of-17 passing, 193 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception; 8 rushes, 57 yards, 1 touchdown in a 70-3 victory over Colorado.

Season: 182-of-285 passing, 2,769 yards, 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; 136 rushes, 850 yards, 9 touchdowns.

The lowdown: The Watchman had doubts about Young's passing ability entering the season, but it was his much-improved arm, and not his legs, that had Kathryn's Man on the verge of claiming this voter's ballot ... until Bush went wild against Fresno. The guess here is that on Jan. 4, in the Rose Bowl, Young will run more than he has in recent weeks and make the national championship game one that will live up to its hype.

3. Matt Leinart, QB, USC, Sr.

Last week: 21-of-40 passing, 233 yards, 3 touchdowns; 1 reception, 11 yards in a 66-19 victory over No. 11 UCLA.

Season: 254-of-391 passing, 3,450 yards, 27 touchdowns, 7 interceptions; 45 rushes, 34 yards, 6 touchdowns.

The lowdown: Leinart had arguably a better season this year than he did in 2004, when he won the Heisman. But he was outplayed in the Trojans' biggest games this season by Bush and, at times, LenDale White. The Watchman considered all year moving Notre Dame's Brady Quinn ahead of the L.A. lefty, but Leinart simply made more plays to help his team beat better opponents than Quinn did. And Leinart gets bonus points for the ballroom dancing ability, too.