Heisman Predictions 2012: Why It's Suddenly Down to Manti Te'o and Collin Klein

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Heisman Predictions 2012: Why It's Suddenly Down to Manti Te'o and Collin Klein
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Collin Klein and Manti Te'o have pulled away in what has been a volatile race for the Heisman. Both have been dominating this season, and both directly impacted victories for their teams this week.

Geno Smith was the front-runner. However, his past two games have shown that while he is a supremely talented quarterback and a great pro prospect, he isn't the Heisman Trophy winner this season.

 

The Case for Collin Klein

Most quarterbacks are pure passers. And that's great for them. However, Collin Klein is a unique dual threat who is reminiscent of Tim Tebow when he led the Florida Gators to the national title. His 1,397 yards passing, 551 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns make him the absolute front-runner.

He's the most potent offensive threat in the college ranks and has been the key factor that has turned the Kansas State offense into a well-oiled machine, one that makes few mistakes, scores a ton of points and has Kansas State 7-0 and in the Top Five in every poll.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Te'o winning a Heisman would be the ideal tribute to his late girlfriend.

 

The Case for Manti Te'o

Manti Te'o is the best defensive player in the country. He's intercepted four passes and recovered a fumble. That, combined with his dominating performances as the leader of the tremendous Notre Dame defense, has the Irish off to a 7-0 start.

Te'o's story is also something that will help him in the Heisman race. When a player's girlfriend and grandmother pass away in the same week, people expect that player to either not play or play terribly. Te'o did the opposite. He has not only played, but he has been the best middle linebacker in college football and the best defensive player on an undefeated team. 

Te'o's only problem is that he is a defensive player, and defensive players rarely win the most coveted award in the college ranks. In fact, the last defender to win was Charles Woodson, a cornerback from Michigan, and he won 15 years ago. (h/t Heisman.com)

In the end, every team still has another four or five games to play, so another candidate could still emerge. However, from the looks of it, the Heisman winner will likely be one of these two dominating talents.

 

Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, the NFL and the NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.

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