Heisman hysteria: Unusual favorites create voting conundrums - The Behrend Beacon

Heisman hysteria: Unusual favorites create voting conundrums

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Author: Alec Italiano (managing editor)

It could be a first for a Heisman winner this year, at least if freshman Johnny Manziel, quarterback for Texas A&M, takes home the trophy.  He has thrown for 3,419 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions with a 68.3 percent completion rate.  He has rushed for 1,181 yards with 19 touchdowns.

He also shattered Cam Newton’s record for single-season total yardage in the SEC. Newton won the Heisman just two years ago on those accolades.

It would be the first time in history a freshman would take the coveted prize. The perceived runner-up is linebacker Manti Te’o from Notre Dame, who would be only the second defensive player to win (Charles Woodson from Michigan edged out Peyton Manning to win it in 1997, but he also returned punts and was the occasional wide receiver). Te’o has seven interceptions this season and secured his third straight 100-tackle season after getting five in the win against USC last weekend.

The other two quarterbacks in the conversation are Collin Klein (Kansas State) and Braxton Miller (Ohio State).  Both have impressive stats as Klein has 34 touchdowns (20 rushing) and 3,093 combined yards (787 rushing) and Miller has 27  touchdowns (13 rushing) and 3,310 combined yards (1,271 rushing).  On normal years, the conversation would be filled with passionate debates over these two men on who deserves the title most.  This year, however, “Johnny Football” (as the media has dubbed him) has taken the stage.

Wide receiver Marqise Lee from USC has also been thrown into the Heisman mix.  His season is highlighted by a 345 yard, two touchdown outing against Arizona (where USC actually lost, 39-36).  After that game he was a frontrunner for the award, but when his quarterback Matt Barkley was sidelined with a shoulder injury for the last game of the season (often an important one for Heisman candidates) he only caught five passes for 75 yards from redshirt freshman Max Wittek.

All things considered, it would almost seem that “Johnny Football” has this whole competition locked up.  He had an outstanding season that actually started with a 20-17 loss to Florida, but other than a loss to LSU at home, won every other game this season. His resume is highlighted by a 29-24 win at Alabama where he went 24-31, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and tacked on an extra 92 yards on the ground.

There is one major threat to Manziel’s Heisman chances, though.  As ESPN’s Brent Musburger said during the Notre Dame - USC telecast, “There are some voters who will not, under any circumstances, vote for a freshman.”  This is done usually because young players will have later years to prove themselves, but in this historic season for Manziel, the traditionalists may have to change their vote.

This year’s Heisman announcement will be Saturday Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. being televised live from The Best Buy Theater in Times Square.