Lets get one thing straight, I like Johnny Manziel. I think he’s an exciting player who put together one of the best seasons a first year player could ever put together.
But Manti Te’o was the most outstanding player in college football this season. Period.
Unfortunately, Heisman voters (many of whom I respect a great deal) were blinded by the numbers and lost sight of what the award is really about. Many media outlets described this season’s Heisman class as “weak” and lacking a clear-cut offensive presence. I sat back and watched it all unfold, thinking in my head about how we couldn’t possibly watch them vote for anybody at number one outside of Manti Te’o.
Then they read the name, and all credibility of the award might have been dashed.
You want a Heisman moment from your Heisman trophy winner? I’ll give you a few. Lets start with the 29-for-56 against LSU with 27 yards rushing and three interceptions. By all accounts, the best should provide his best against the best, right? You want another Heisman moment? Lets take the Florida game where he started the season with a performance of 23-for-30 with 173 passing yards and the only touchdown coming on the ground. Some of you say “that isn’t so bad”, until you realize he completed one pass in the fourth quarter (for four yards) and rushed for 13 yards in a 20-17 loss.
*I would also like to point out that I wouldn’t even consider him the “hands down” best freshman in his own conference. Can we get some love for Todd Gurley of the University of Georgia? All he did was rush for 1,260 yards and 16 touchdowns including 118 yards and a touchdown against Florida and 122 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama*
That “Heisman moment” enough for you?
Oh, yes, the Alabama game. You all love to beat the drum of that Alabama game and say that his “breakout” performance came then. Fair enough, his team did beat the number one team in the country, but does anyone want to point out that the defense had more of a hand in the game after the first half than Manziel did? Anyone want to look at the 9 points he led them to after the 20 in the first quarter?
No, we’ll just give him college football’s highest honor for lighting up Sam Houston State, South Carolina State and others.
Again, nothing against “Johnny Football”, but give me the best player, on the best team, leading the best defense, as the best defensive player as the most outstanding player in college. Give me the linebacker with seven interceptions and huge tackles for loss in the biggest games of the season and his team needing every last one of them for the opportunity to play for a national championship. More importantly, give me Te’o, whose team leaned on defense for much of the year and he led that unit.
But I guess until we place as much value on individual defensive performance as we do on offensive performance the Heisman will continue to be the “Most Outstanding Offensive Player” in college football.