04 December 2012

Who will win the Heisman Trophy tonight?

History will be made this Saturday at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York. Either we will have the first defense-only Heisman Trophy recipient in Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, we will have the first freshman recipient in Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel or we will have the first Mandolin-playing Heisman winner in Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein (I actually can't confirm that. If anyone can and comment below, they will receive a legitimate blog shoutout). So who will win?

First, let's break down the candidates.

Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Why he will win
Klein really had a brilliant season and for KSU to be in the position to win the Big XII and receive a bid to the Fiesta Bowl, he had to considering the fact that it is Kansas State. Plus, he also greatly improved his passing this year, improving his completion percentage by almost 10 points, throwing for 500 more years and   having a passer rating 30 points higher.

Why he won't win
When the spotlight was greatest on Klein, he dropped the ball. With the Wildcats the top ranked team in the BCS rankings going into Waco against one of the worst defenses in college football, Klein had his worst game of the season by far, throwing three interceptions and struggling to run the ball as KSU lost by 28. If the Wildcats win that game, not only would they be playing for a championship, but Klein would, in all likelihood, be the Heisman winner.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Why he will win
Manziel's numbers are incredibly impressive, especially as you consider that he plays in the SEC. 3,419 passing yards, 24 touchdowns to eight picks, 68.3 completion percentage, 155.9 passer rating, 1,181 rushing yards and nineteen rushing touchdowns. Manziel also played a huge role in A&M being taken seriously in its first year in the SEC, as opposed to the other new member who everyone realized was a joke. Manziel averaged almost 300 yards of total offense against the elite defenses of Alabama, Florida and LSU and speaking of Alabama, his brilliance in a huge road upset of the Crimson Tide when they were ranked number one and widely thought to run the table was his shining moment. Doing all that as a freshman is the cherry on top.

Why he won't win
The Heisman voters have never before voted in a Heisman as the stigma that they have three more years of eligibility remaining,  although Manziel could turn pro after next season. The fact that Manziel had his worst games against teams like Florida and LSU and has some of his best against feeble competition could also hurt his candidacy. And the fact that he got arrested once may play a factor, although that would be a disgraceful reason to prevent him from winning the Heisman.

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Why he will win
Te'o is the leader of the lone undefeated team in the country and the best player on an elite defense. Te'o has been brilliant this season and is tied for second in the country with seven interceptions, an unusually high number for a linebacker. He has also had two true Heisman moments this season; having his best game of the season against Michigan within a day of the death of his mother and his girlfriend, and having cemented the biggest win of the season against Oklahoma with a huge late interception.

Why he won't win
Te'o is limited because of the position he plays. As mentioned in the open, no defense-only player has ever won the Heisman and linebackers are limited in that they often do not put up high-popping numbers like linemen do with sacks and defensive backs do with interceptions (although Te'o's interception total is damn impressive). An argument that has been made is that is really is hard to quantify the impact of a defensive player as opposed to an offensive player. Another argument that has been made is that is Te'o truly the best defensive player in the country, as opposed to someone like Jarvis Jones of Georgia?

So who will win?
I really think that ultimately, the Heisman winner will be Johnny Manziel. You cannot deny the impact that the man they refer to as "Johnny Football" had on the Aggies this season as they embarked on a new journey in the SEC. And ultimately the obstacles that Te'o has to climb over will prove to be too much for him to win.

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