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Award given to: outstanding player.
Previous winner: 2011 Robert Griffin III (Baylor).
ESPN Heisman Watch top five:
1) Collin Klein, Kansas State QB
2) Manti Te'o, Notre Dame LB
3) Kenjon Barner, Oregon RB
4) A.J. McCarron, Alabama QB
5) Braxton Miller, Ohio State QB
Out of these five players, there are two that have either lost a little credit for what they do or have failed to do what they needed to do to keep themselves high in the rankings: A.J. McCarron and Braxton Miller.
A good portion of McCarron's credit goes to the nation's best offensive line. Braxton Miller has let games get close that shouldn't have been close. Granted, some of that falls on his offensive line and his defense for letting the opponent score, but that's how it is.
Collin Klein, Manti Te'o and Kenjon Barner are on top of the gap between Barner and McCarron.
While preference shouldn't play a part in the Heisman voting, there are two things playing hugely in Te'o's favor:
1) Notre Dame hasn't had a Heisman winner since 1987 (Tim Brown).
2) A defensive player has only won the Heisman once, in 1997 (Charles Woodson).
Again, preference isn't supposed to play into the voting at all, but it certainly has. Mark Ingram earned every bit of his Heisman, but the "Alabama has never had a Heisman winner" media coverage absolutely gave his Heisman ceremony a bit of a "let's throw the old dogs a bone" feel to it. I sincerely hope that I was the only one that felt that way.
The good news for Te'o is that he has earned his Heisman candidacy, and people are at least subconsciously looking to give him one. For the second time in four years (2009, Ingram), the most deserving candidate is actually going to win the Heisman due to bias.
Without Te'o, Notre Dame has at least two losses right now. If that's not Heisman material, I don't know what is.
Advice to Te'o: Next time you get an interception, make sure you "do the Heisman" as you stiff-arm the first would-be tackler. Get that on camera, man. If he works the official pose into an actual game-time situation, he's got to woo some voters, right?
If defense wins championships, why don't more defensive players win the Heisman?
Predicted Heisman Memorial Trophy winner: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame Fighting Irish.