(UHND.com) – Like it or not, Brady Quinn’s Heisman hopes will be on the line next weekend, and it will most likely have little to do with what Quinn does when the Irish and Cadets kick it off in Notre Dame Stadium. Rather, Quinn’s Heisman chances will come down to how Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith plays against the Wolverines meaning Notre Dame fans may be forced to do the unthinkable – root for Michigan.
Sure, if Quinn were to lay an egg, or the Irish somehow get upset by Army, Quinn would take himself out of the race, but a win by Smith and the Buckeyes and the Downtown Athletic Club and start etching Smith’s name on this year’s award.
Should Smith navigate the Buckeyes through an undefeated season with wins over Texas and Michigan, there is really no chance for Quinn to walk away with the hardware even if he throws five touchdowns a game over the final three contests of the season.
Which begs the question – do Notre Dame fans root for a, gasp, Michigan win over Ohio State?
A year ago such a scenario would have almost been a no-brainer for Irish fans. Last year Michigan went into their game against Ohio State with three losses in the midst of one of their more disappointing seasons in years. This year, however, the Wolverines should enter their showdown with the Buckeyes undefeated and 2nd in the NCS standings. A win would guarantee Michigan a spot in the title game.
This creates quite the moral dilemma for a Notre Dame fan who watched the Wolverines beat the Irish soundly on September 16th in Notre Dame Stadium – the same Michigan program that owns a winning record over the Irish and still tops Notre Dame in the all time wins and winning percentage category.
Most Irish fans will find it hard to root for the hated Wolverines next weekend, but in order for Quinn to have a real shot at the Heisman, Michigan must walk out of Columbus with a win.
A lot of history will be at stake these final weeks. Would Notre Dame fans rather see Michigan add another title if it meant Quinn would win the Heisman and give the Irish eight Heisman winners to retake the lead from USC after Reggie Bush gave the Trojans their 7th winner last year?
Still, some Notre Dame fans will find it hard to root for a team they have grown up cheering for their every loss. For some it will be like a Yankee fan cheering for the Red Sox, an Eagle fan cheering for the Cowboys.
Now let’s say you decide to root for Michigan and the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes and take over the top spot in the BCS and await their challenger for the title.
You feel sick that you just cheered along Michigan as they clinched a title shot, but you justify it because Quinn now has a shot at the Heisman. Keyword being “shot.”
An Ohio State loss by no means hands the trophy the Quinn. A Buckeye would loss would put Quinn in a position where he could either win or loss the award the following week when the Irish travel to Los Angeles to take on USC, but Quinn will still need a huge performance to sway a lot of Heisman voters who are still sitting on the fence.
And again, therein lies the dilemma facing Irish fans. Even if Ohio State looses to Michigan, there is no guarantee that Quinn wins the award. Worse yet, a Michigan win could put Mike Hart very much into the thick of the Heisman race.
Now let that settle in for a little. Imagine a scenario where you cheer for Michigan, they win, and Mike Hart has a huge game. Then a week later Brady Quinn and the Irish stroll into the Coliseum and Quinn leads the Irish to a big with, but Hart’s performance the week earlier made up some voters mind already.
It’s a decision every Notre Dame fan must make on their own. Will you sell your soul to the devil if it means Brady Quinn ends up with the Heisman this year? I’m not quite sure if I will – ask me again next week.