The Daily Illini

Bush still the one to pick

By Jon Gluskin

Before the Rose Bowl there was no issue. The first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft would be USC’s tailback Reggie Bush. Without question or hesitation.

Now after Texas shocked America and took down the Trojans and their 34-game win streak, Bush might not be No. 1 come April. Instead, the Houston Texans might select Longhorn sensation Vince Young.

There should still be no debate.

Yes, Texas won. Yes, Young was the best player on the field that day.

That doesn’t mean Bush shouldn’t be the first pick.

Unfotunately for Bush, the brutal side of the world of sports is a short attention span. Sports enthusiasts often tend to forget the past and only focus on the present.

In the weeks prior to the Rose Bowl, we were bombarded with Reggie. Every newspaper, magazine and TV show praised the Heisman Trophy winner for his remarkable season. Sports fans and the media wondered in awe just how great Bush could be.

And now because of essentially one play in the Rose Bowl, people are questioning Bush.

How is this possible? It doesn’t make sense.

You probably already know the decisive play – Bush’s second-quarter lateral.

It was a momentum changer, there’s no doubt about that. Bush messed up and he knew it.

So what?

People make mistakes. They’re part of sports just as they’re part of life.

For a month Bush had to deal with the hype. He had to listen and watch people rave about how incredible he was.

And so he was a playmaker trying to make a play, trying to please all of the believers who expected a Superman-type performance.

As poor of a decision as it was, it wasn’t even that far off from being completed.

Just think, had teammate Brad Walker been thinking Bush might pitch the ball and find a way to catch, he has an easy touchdown and USC is on the verge of a blowout.

We would still be talking about how incredible a play it was and how creative Bush is.

It would just be another jaw-dropping play to add to the Reggie Bush highlight reel.

Obviously, it didn’t turn out like that for Bush and the Trojans. Young played the game of his life, and single-handedly sparked the upset in one of the greatest games in college football history.

So now there are Bush doubters.

They forget his 513 all-purpose yards against Fresno State.

They forget his 8.7 yards per carry average for the season.

They forget his 21 total touchdowns.

They forget how he pushed Leinart into the endzone to beat Notre Dame.

They forget the move he put on the Fresno State defense where he basically stopped while running full speed, only to cut up field for a touchdown.

They even forget his touchdown during the Rose Bowl when he ran to the right at full speed, turned the corner at a 90 degree angle and sprinted towards the endzone, doing a somersault dive to break the pylon – I challenge you to find another person on this planet who could have done that.

Bush was set up to fail in the Rose Bowl. There’s no way he could have matched people’s expectations. The hype was just too great to be beat.

Vince Young will make a great NFL player. He has both the running and passing abilities to be a superstar quarterback.

But the Texans must opt for Bush. He’s already being said to be a mix of Gale Sayers, Barry Sanders and LaDainian Tomlinson to name a few.

I might just be buying too much into the hype, but by the time Bush’s pro career is over, he won’t be compared to these other running backs.

He will be Reggie Bush.

Future running backs will be compared to him.

Jon Gluskin is a senior in communications. He can be reached at [email protected]

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