Johnny Manziel Wins the Heisman Trophy, No Matter What…
The Heisman Trophy vote will come down to Johnny Manziel and Manti Te’o. Collin Klein has been invited to attend and that’s a nice privilege for a college football player who has had a very good college career, but it’s a two man race and Klein is simply spending these last 24 hours caddying for Manziel and Te’o in NYC. I’m not going to list the stats of the players and juxtapose them against each other to make my argument, you can get that almost anywhere. I’m simply going to explain, without question, who the best college football player in America has been and why he should win the Heisman.
This is pretty simple. Ask yourself the following question. Do you think that Nick Saban is staying up late sitting in his office watching film game planning for the BCS National Championship Game wondering how the heck the will stop Manti Te’o from wrecking the game? Te’o has 103 tackles and seven interceptions, but what’s all the hoopla about? If you a watch Notre Dame game you can go an entire quarter without hearing the announcers call Manti’s name. He has 103 tackles because he’s the middle linebacker. Wouldn’t a good starting middle linebacker lead most teams in tackles? As for his seven interceptions, to his credit he caught the balls that were thrown in his belly, but he has that many because other teams keep throwing his way. Teams obviously see things on film that make them think they can throw over the middle. A Darrelle Revis or Dion Sanders type player who can shut down their area of responsibility in the passing game would never put up huge INT totals. If you are that good they simply don’t throw the ball your way... It’s not even clear that Te’o can stay on the field in third and long situations at the next level, that still remains to be seen.
Perhaps many of you aren’t old enough to remember Hugh Green or Leroy Selmon. Pull up their college stats and look at some YouTube video of them. Those were the two best defensive college players I can ever recall and neither of them won the Heisman. They completely wrecked games. You couldn’t run their way, you had to run the other way, and if you did, they chased you down. And they didn’t intercept the ball, they tackled you for a loss before you ever had a chance to throw it! In 1974 Selmon had 18 sacks. In 1980 Green had 17 sacks. Manti Te’o has one sack! One! Ok I lied, one and a half, happy?
The Irish are in fact undefeated and their defense has performed well, but regardless of what the numbers say, they have been far from dominant. From my November 19th piece on why Notre Dame is Not the Best Team in the Country.
It’s not like Notre Dame has steam rolled their competition. In fact, they’ve had a number of close games, home games, that could have gone either way. By my tally, one bounce of the ball and there were four games that very easily could have been losses. They squeaked by Purdue at home 20-17 and it took overtime at home to beat Stanford 20-13 (cough, cough.) The Irish barely got past BYU at home 17-14 and it took three overtimes at home to get past Pitt 29-26. As I said Sunday, if you or I were kicking for Pitt, the Panthers would have walked out of Notre Dame Stadium with a win.”
There appears to be an unwritten rule that says a freshman should not win the Heisman. Why is that? There are no rules prohibiting a freshman from winning. The kid was simply the most compelling difference maker (on either side of the ball) in the country this season. Should Hershel Walker have won as a freshman? Sure he should have, but we should learn from that mistake, not make it again.
My argument for Manziel is a lot shorter than my argument against Te’o. His stats speak for themselves and it is undisputed that they are the most impressive of any possible Heisman candidate. But it doesn't end there, let’s go back to Alabama and Nick Saban. Do you think Saban stayed up at night before the A&M game trying to figure out how to shut down Manziel? Of course he did, and Johnny Football beat him anyway. Without Manziel, would Texas A&M have beaten Alabama? No! Without Te’o would Notre Dame have won those four squeakers I mentioned above? No you say? We’ll then what the heck does that say about a Notre Dame team that is playing for the national championship if they would have lost to Purdue, Stanford, BYU and Pitt all at home? You can't have it both ways...
The bottom line here is that if you vote for Manti Te’o, you are a blind Notre Dame fan. But if you’re a college football fan looking at this objectively, Johnny Manziel wins it walking away.. Teo won the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp player of the year, Notre Dame fans and Te'o supporters should be happy with those...
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