Johnny Manziel Must Use Easy Final Two Games to Solidify Heisman Trophy Campaign
With Johnny Manziel's "Heisman moment" already out of the way following last week's scintillating victory over the then-No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide, just one thing remains to solidify his campaign: stat padding.
After a rigorous SEC schedule, the Texas A&M Aggies get a bit of a reprieve in their final two games. Starting Saturday against the Sam Houston State Bearkats and finishing against the Missouri Tigers, Manziel should have an opportunity to put up gaudy numbers in both contests.
Sam Houston State comes into Saturday's contest at 8-2, but is an FCS school. To expect the Bearkats to have enough talent to even come close to A&M would be unrealistic.
As for Missouri, the team's failures in SEC play are well-documented. The Tigers are just 2-5 in their first year in the conference and give up 353.3 yards per game, which ranks seventh in the SEC.
Needless to say, if Manziel can torch Alabama, he should be in line for huge games against Missouri and Sam Houston State. And if the next two weeks go as expected, he should vault to the top of all Heisman voters' ballots.
Obviously, there is a Collin Klein-sized gorilla in the room. If the Kansas State Wildcats finish undefeated, the senior quarterback will probably walk into the ceremony as a co-favorite—and deservedly so.
Klein is a wonderful young man who has had an absolutely brilliant season. However, he hasn't had quite as much impact as Manziel.
Coming into Saturday's slate of games, Klein has accounted for 2,748 total yards and 31 touchdowns while throwing just three interceptions. That's an average of 274.8 total yards and three touchdowns per game.
Manziel, on the other hand, has more yards than Klein in passing alone (2,780). All told, the superstar freshman has 3,794 total yards and 33 touchdowns against just six interceptions.
For those who don't have a calculator handy, that means Manziel has accounted for more than 100 yards per game more than Klein and scored more touchdowns.
With Missouri and Sam Houston State in line to get eviscerated by the young quarterback, those leads only stand to grow.
What's more, Manziel has faced a significantly more difficult schedule. Games against Alabama and LSU are the ones everyone will mark down in their memory, but Texas A&M has actually played the 25th-hardest schedule in the nation this season, according to Football Outsiders.
Kansas State's schedule? It ranks 47th using the same measurements.
Taking all that into account leaves just one factor in Klein's favor: Kansas State's undefeated record.
However, I'm very much of the mind that the Heisman is an individual award, not one that should be awarded to the best player on the best team. That's what the MVP of the national championship game is for.
When you consider Robert Griffin III won the Heisman last season with just nine wins, it seems like the voters are starting to agree with my stance.
Nevertheless, Manziel will have to excel over the last two weeks to keep his name in the headlines. Victories over Sam Houston State and Missouri won't be good enough. Instead, he's going to have to make a few spectacular plays and have stat lines that read straight out of a video game.
Considering what we've seen from Manziel so far, it seems safe to say that the freshman star has all the tools to make that happen.
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