bill-swift - November 22, 2012
The BCS title race has found itself turned upside down on more than one occasion the last few weeks. With current No. 1 Notre Dame playing a tough USC team this weekend (even without quarterback Matt Barkley) there is every reason to believe that the upheaval is not done yet.
When the top teams are getting shuffled around each week the top players in the land end up going through the same thing. At one time we've seen Matt Barkley in the driver's seat. Geno Smith appeared to be a sure thing. The West Virginia meltdown opened the door for Colin Klein.
After the whipping that Baylor put on Kansas State and the pitiful game that Klein had against the worst defense in the nation, the door has opened once again. The question now is two-fold: who will walk through and who deserves it?
While there is still time for one of a number of different players to shine the race appears to be down to two players. No matter which of the two players ends up winning the Heisman a first in the history of the award will occur. Either we will have the first freshman win or the first purely defensive player win.
The general perception now is that the Heisman is Johnny Manziel's to lose. After starting the season as a relative unknown, the redshirt freshman from Texas A&M has continually impressed fans and voters week in and week out. There is nothing he can't do (with the exception of kick an extra point).
Statistically he has everything that voters want in a Heisman winner. No freshman has ever rushed for 1000 and passed for 3000 in the same season; no freshman has ever accounted for over 4000 yards in total offense before either. What makes his accomplishments even more impressive is that they have come against some of the top teams in the nation--including the top team in the nation!
Manziel is dynamic, exciting, and a lot of fun to watch. For a freshman to perform at the level he is, well--let's just say the Aggies are going to be tough to beat over the next couple seasons. His slow start could be the only thing that kill his chances, but with the way he has played over the last few weeks it is hard to imagine anyone being concerned about his play against Florida (which was simply good, not great).
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is next in line should Manziel falter in Texas A&M's final game against Missouri.His body of work will be enough to warrant him getting an invite to New York for the ceremony, but after not playing a big role in the last three wins for the Fighting Irish it will be pretty hard for him to make up the slack.
The rest of the field is really too far behind. After failing to pick apart Baylor's incredibly bad defense Colin Klein is out. Kenjon Barner has had a couple impressive games, but his body of work is not Heisman worthy (the Ducks have too many weapons). Braxton Miller has played well, but also struggled at times. He's a good candidate, but not worth the Heisman (but next year...). Marquise Lee has had a solid campaign, but hasn't grasped the attention of the nation quite like Johnny Manziel has (it doesn't hurt that Tim Tebow likes his swag).
If you haven't seen the man in action check out this play against Alabama:
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