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Peterson, Leinart, Bush also Orange Bowl-bound

NEW YORK -- Jason White has a chance to join Archie Griffin
as a two-time Heisman Trophy winner.

White, the Oklahoma quarterback who won last year's Heisman, was
chosen Wednesday as one of five finalists for college football's
most prestigious individual title.

Joining White for Saturday's award ceremony in New York will be
his Oklahoma teammate Adrian Peterson, Southern California
teammates Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, and Utah quarterback Alex Smith.

It's the first time teammates from two schools were selected as
finalists for the award.

Among Heisman contenders who did not make the top 5 were Texas
running back Cedric Benson, Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell and
California teammates
Aaron Rodgers and J.J. Arrington.

Benson missed the cut, despite rushing for 1,764 yards this season. His best
season capped a career that has seen him climb as high as No. 6 in
NCAA record book.

Peterson's season -- or specifically one game -- may have been the
most damaging to Benson's chances of joining Earl Campbell and
Ricky Williams as Texas Heisman winners.

Peterson ran for 225 yards in Oklahoma's 12-0 win over Texas on
Oct. 9, while Benson rushed for 92.

Griffin, Ohio State's great running back, won the Heisman in
1974 and 1975 and is the only two-time winner.

White was the favorite for last year's Heisman and beat out
Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Mississippi
quarterback Eli Manning. This time, the race appears too close to
call. White and Leinart, USC's quarterback, have put up similar
numbers while leading their teams to 12-0 records and a matchup in
the Orange Bowl for the national championship.

White comes to town after passing for 2,961 yards and 33
touchdown, and in a much better mood than last year. A week before
the '03 Heisman ceremony, the Sooners were upset by Kansas State
35-7 in the Big 12 title game and White had his worst game of the
season.

This season, White threw three touchdown passes in Oklahoma's
42-3 rout of Colorado in the league title game.

The presence of Peterson, a freshman, helped White produce
another fine season but may hinder the quarterback's chances of
matching Griffin's two Heismans. Peterson ran for 1,843 yards and
15 touchdowns, and produced his best games against the Sooners'
toughest opponents.

No freshman has ever won the Heisman.

White, a sixth-year senior, has a Heisman vote and said he
planned to pick Peterson No. 1 on his ballot.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops can't decide between the two either.

"These guys are tremendous. You see it every week. They
complement each other with great running and passing _ and it's
made a major difference this year, the fact that we're strong in
both," Stoops said.

"But a lot of these guys have helped them. So I wouldn't be the
one to choose. It wouldn't be fair."

USC has a similar situation with Leinart and Bush. They
complement each other, but also could draw attention away from each
other when it comes to the voting.

Leinart has thrown for 2,990 yards and 28 touchdowns, with only
six interceptions. He is the Trojans' steady leader.

The versatile Bush is their spectacular home-run hitting running
back.

Bush's 15 touchdowns have come running, receiving and on
returns. He has also thrown a TD pass.

"I think I might have shaken up the votes a little bit," he
said after running for 204 yards, including TD runs of 81 and 65
yards, in USC's 29-24 season-finale win at UCLA.

Led by Smith, Utah became the first team from a mid-major
conference to reach the BCS this season. The versatile junior has
passed for 2,624 yards and 28 TDs and run for 563 yards and 10
touchdowns.

The Utes will play Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.