Collin Klein's terrible performance against Baylor shook the college football landscape to its core on Saturday night in Waco, Texas. Kansas State's loss to the Bears, coupled with Stanford's upset of Oregon, completely changed the national title race.
All of a sudden, Notre Dame will likely be sitting pretty atop the BCS standings with various one-loss teams on its heels.
The Wildcats' loss also completely altered the Heisman Trophy race. There is now no reasonable justification that would support Klein receiving the trophy. Oregon's Kenjon Barner had a bad game against Stanford, which put a severe dent in his chances. If Matt Barkley cannot play for USC next weekend, USC receiver Marqise Lee's Heisman dream will likely come crashing down as well.
If you add up all the evidence, the final Heisman verdict points to one name: Johnny Manziel.
Yes, you heard me correctly. The Texas A&M freshman known as "Johnny Football" is now the man to beat.
The thought of a freshman winning the Heisman Trophy is completely insane. The thought of a freshman quarterback winning the Heisman Trophy is even more insane.
Johnny Manziel's play, however, has been beyond insane.
Let's start with his stats. He has thrown for 3,047 passing yards and tossed 21 touchdowns. He has rushed for 1,214 yards and 19 touchdowns. He has also only thrown seven interceptions. More importantly, he has put up these numbers while playing in the strongest conference in college football.
One could argue that his play in big games makes him undeserving of the trophy. I don't buy this theory. While his performance against LSU was terrible, his performance against Florida (23-30, 173 YDS) was not as bad as everyone seems to think. It was, after all, his first start at the collegiate level. He didn't throw any interceptions and almost beat a team that will now be in the top five.
Then there was the Alabama game.
Against the Crimson Tide, he accounted for 345 yards and two touchdowns. He made throws and scrambles that, before that point, only seemed possible in a video game. Most importantly, he led the Aggies to a victory. He led the team into Bryant Denny Stadium and beat the defending national champion.
His performance this season has already made him a legend in the world of college football. Not since some guy named Tebow entered the fray years ago has an underclassman taken the country by storm as swiftly as Manziel. The man's nickname is "Johnny Football," for crying out loud! He is the new face of the sport.
What separates Manziel from the rest of the field, however, is his importance to the Aggies. Without Manziel, they would be lucky to be at .500 right now. He adds so many dimensions to head coach Kevin Sumlin's offense. This, in turn, has given opposing defensive coordinators nightmares. There is not one team in America that looks forward to playing Manziel. If there is a team that says otherwise, it is a flat-out lie. Manziel has taken a team thought by many to be an SEC doormat to the BCS top 10 and the agenda of the entire country.
It is for all of these reasons that Johnny Manziel should be raising the Heisman in a few short weeks. His opponents have solid résumés, but they do not compare to Manziel's stats and his intangibles. The scariest part is that he is only going to get better as his career continues. Even though he hasn't reached his ceiling, however, he is still the best player in college football. Let's hope that the voters feel the same way.
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