USC's Marqise Lee has no equal in college football

Considering he has caught 663 yards worth of passes for five touchdowns in the last three games, Lee should be moving into Heisman greatness. Even a Trojans publicity machine that began the year promoting Barkley has smartly started sending out Lee videos, and the giant Coliseum scoreboard Saturday displayed a quote from Oregon Coach Chip Kelly that read, "He may be the best receiver I've had the opportunity to coach against."

But, well, Kelly's running back Kenjon Barner reportedly has a strong lead over Lee in the Heisman race. So does Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, and probably now even Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. All those guys play for unbeaten teams or a team that has beaten Alabama.

Lee lacks the overall record or the signature win to break into that group, and it would take victories over UCLA , Notre Dame and maybe even Oregon in the conference championship game — if USC can get there — to make that happen. So, realistically, the best college football player in the country will have to wait until next season to make a serious run for the trophy that certifies that title.

That's OK. Until then, he can work on figuring out what food turned his smiling face so sour.

"Chips?" he wondered with a giggle.

It wasn't so funny to Kiffin, who couldn't believe one of his most stressful weeks nearly ended with his best player looking like a cartoon character. When Lee approached his coach with his swelling problem before the game, the coach nearly had his own allergic reaction.

"I was really to the point of thinking there's some really bad karma going on this week," Kiffin said. "I thought, 'This really can't be happening now, with arguably the best player in college football.' "

Lee was given some medicine. The swelling went down immediately. He took the field, fumbled the ball, opened those eyes, and spent the next three hours doing what he has been doing all season.

Afterward, he grabbed the sword and directed the Trojans marching band, noteworthy in that it was the first time all day somebody kept up with him.


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