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Chuckie Keeton's Heisman campaign on the line at USC

Published September 19, 2013 2:42 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Going into USC, the Chuckie Keeton buzz is growing.

Perhaps one of the biggest Keeton proponents this week has been coach Lane Kiffin, who compared Utah State's star quarterback to Russell Wilson for the LA press.

Keeton is also the subject of a recent post on HeismanPundit by Chris Huston, who writes a win this week is necessary if the Aggies passer hopes to continue his campaign:

This Saturday, Keeton has a chance to really make a name for himself as his Aggies roll into the Coliseum to take on USC.

Now, USC is not a good team and it is coached by one of the worst coaches in college football history, but the Trojans do have a good defense and if Keeton plays well against them and leads his team to an upset, I think he'll clearly establish himself as the No. 1 non-BCS-conference Heisman candidate.

...

Now, does that mean I think he'll have a chance to actually win the Heisman?

No, but I do think he could make it to New York as a finalist if he was able to finish off the rest of the season with flourish and beat teams like BYU and Boise State along the way.

This would be no small feat and nothing to scoff at, Aggies fans. It would go a long way toward establishing Utah State's credibility as an up-and-coming program and give Keeton a good set-up season should he decide to return for his senior year.

But it all starts with beating USC. That has to happen if he is going to be in this conversation.

Reflecting back on my story last week, I wanted to share some extra material with you from some other national college football analysts basically saying the same thing. Keeton, if he can hope to be invited to New York, has to have a big day, and Utah State needs to win at USC.

Rod Gilmore, ESPN analyst and Heisman voter

"It would have to be the big-time win. If they had knocked off Auburn instead of coming close a few years ago, that would've helped. But coming close didn't get him in the Heisman discussion. If he could knock off a team like that, he could get in the discussion."

With the addedum though: "He has some mammoth games, but beating USC alone is not enough. If BYU hadn't lost to Virginia, that might've been big, but now they're a little flawed."

Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated

"The best can come from anywhere. You look at a guy like Kellen Moore a couple years ago, and You need to prove yourself at some point, like Kellen Moore did in a couple big games. For Chuckie Keeton, USC and Boise State are those opportunities."

Kevin McGuire, College Football Talk and Crystal Ball Run

"Any time you're playing a program like USC, people will be watching. When you get a chance to go up in a venue like the Coliseum and put together a standout performance, that can be one of those signature wins."

There you have it: The concensus seems to be if "Chuckie for Heisman" is to have legs next week, the Aggies need the W on Saturday.

- Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon