The knock on Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen as a Heisman candidate has been that he has racked up strong numbers (308.8 passing yards per game, 12 total TDs) against weak competition. Clausen (below) can quiet that criticism when his Irish face No. 6 USC, one of several games this week that will have significant implications on the race for the stiff-armed statuette (Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike at No. 21 South Florida on Thursday, Texas QB Colt McCoy and wideout Jordan Shipley versus No. 20 Oklahoma, Alabama running back Mark Ingram versus No. 22 South Carolina and Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams at No. 19 Georgia Tech). In his most recent matchup with a ranked team, last Nov. 29, Clausen threw for 41 yards and two interceptions in a 38--3 loss. The opponent that day? USC.
AL TIELEMANS (CLAUSEN)