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There is nothing more overrated in sports than the Heisman Trophy--an award whose definition seems to change annually. Matt Leinart is not the best quarterback in the country. Not even close. Instead he is a very good QB, who makes few mistakes, but is complimented by the best weapons in college football. It's easy to throw for 400 yards when when Reggie Bush will catch a 5-yard screen and turn it upfield for over 50 yards, or if the Irish secondary is criss-crossed and dizzied by Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarret running all over the place so that one always seemed to be wide open.
Not to take anything away from Leinart. He's been the perfect USC QB this year. But he's no Carson Palmer.
Still, Leinart's status is a great sign for the USC program, which now could join schools like Florida State (Chris Weinke), Miami (Gino Toretta), Florida (Danny Wuerffel), or Oklahoma (Jason White), as teams so well-respected that they can win default Heismans.
No one else has really risen above the crowd. Adrian Peterson might deserve it, but voters dislike freshmen. Cedric Benson has great numbers, but played lousy against Oklahoma. Reggie Bush may be a playmaker, but he has fewer rush yards than his own teammate LenDale White. Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Arrington both lost the big game to USC. Alex Smith might deserve it too, but the voters definitely will penalize a Mountain West Conference QB. And does anyone really want to see a default Heisman winner hoist the trophy twice, like Jason White?
So LAist endorses one of its own, Matt Leinart, to win USC's second Heisman Trophy in three years.