Heisman Watch 2012: Why BCS Standings Will Determine This Year's Winner

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2012

MANHATTAN, KS - OCTOBER 27:  Quarterback Collin Klein #7 of the Kansas State Wildcats passes during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Manhattan, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Let's be honest with ourselves—outside of a few campuses that will have a strong opinion to the contrary, there isn't a player in the country running away with the Heisman Trophy this year.

Heck, I'm not even sure there is a leading candidate at this point. And for that reason, how the BCS shakes out this season will be the major factor in who ends up winning the trophy.

If I were a voter and my ballot were due today, my selection would be Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein. I'm not sure there is a player more responsible for his team's success than Klein.

His numbers are pretty remarkable: 1,630 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions, and 634 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. But what happens if Kansas State loses a game down the stretch and falls out of the national championship picture?

Does that change Klein's Heisman candidacy?

It should—he's not far enough above the other candidates to survive a loss. 

Look at Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, for instance. He and the Fighting Irish defense have sparked the Golden Domers to an undefeated start to the season, and all he's done in the process is record 78 tackles, one sack and five interceptions.

If he leads Notre Dame to an undefeated record and continues to be the team's most important player—and hands down the best defensive player in the country—doesn't he deserve consideration?

And if the Irish are the only undefeated team remaining going into the bowl season, Te'o could just win it.

And speaking of undefeated, what about Alabama's AJ McCarron?

Some people may claim that McCarron is nothing more than a game manager, that Alabama could win with pretty much anyone calling the shots given college football's best defense, one of its best offensive lines and a slew of playmakers all over the field.

But if McCarron is nothing more than a game manager to you, consider just how efficient he has been in that role. He's now thrown for 1,684 yards, 18 touchdowns and no interceptions. He has a completion percentage of 68.9, and he's averaging 9.5 yards per attempt.

So don't give me all of that game manager garbage. And don't tell me that if McCarron continues to play with such remarkable efficiency and Alabama emerges as the only undefeated team heading into the bowls that he doesn't deserve the award.

Then again, what about Kenjon Barner, the explosive running back from Oregon? He already has 1,132 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns this season, and more than a few of them have been highlight worthy.

If Oregon finishes the year undefeated and Barner finishes with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage and at least 20 touchdowns, doesn't he have to be a finalist?

There are other options, of course. Braxton Miller has been fantastic for Ohio State. Ditto for Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. And I'm sure you have a sleeper or two in mind for the award.

For now, though, the competition remains so tight that I believe the BCS standings will play a major role in the outcome of the voting. If only one of the current top four teams emerges from the regular season (and its conference title game) unscathed, it will likely have a Heisman winner on its hands.

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