Heisman Trophy 2012: Week 12's Best and Worst Showings in Heisman Hunt

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2012

Heisman Trophy 2012: Week 12's Best and Worst Showings in Heisman Hunt

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    With the chase for the 2012 Heisman Trophy starting to heat up, the recent turnover in the college football landscape will have a serious impact on the race for the sport’s equivalent of the MVP award.

    College football powerhouses and legendary programs fell Saturday, and in the process, some of the biggest names in the Heisman race have seen their chances at taking home the trophy dashed.

    The end of the season is more important to the voters than anything else—despite the fact that they should be judging for the entire year—and the star who shines brightest to close the schedule usually wins the award.

    Several players have already separated themselves as Heisman candidates over the last several weeks, and this is how each fared Saturday and where they stand in the race for the sport’s most coveted individual prize.

Best: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

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    Week 12 Stats vs. Wake Forest: six total tackles, three solo

    2012 Season Stats: 96 total tackles, 43 solo, two sacks and six interceptions


    Heisman Candidacy

    With a shutout win over Wake Forest, Notre Dame and its No. 1 defense (allowing just 10.1 points per game) have proven that they are the cream of the 2012 crop.

    Their 11-0 season has been led by linebacker Manti Te'o. While many voters aren’t too enthusiastic about a defensive player taking home the award, the Notre Dame star is forcing many to reconsider their stance.

    Te'o has been the defensive leader of the team, but it’s his ability to rally the entire squad that proves he truly is the captain. If I had a vote right now, Te'o would easily win the award.

Worst: Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

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    Week 12 Stats vs. Baylor: 27-of-50 for 286 yards, four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) and three interceptions

    2012 Season Stats: 172-of-258 for 2,306 yards, 34 touchdowns (14 passing, 20 rushing) and six interceptions


    Heisman Candidacy

    While the team’s loss on Saturday isn’t on the shoulders of star quarterback Collin Klein, the fact that the Kansas State Wildcats senior couldn’t lead his team back from a large deficit will weigh on the voters’ minds.

    Add in Klein’s three interceptions, and his Heisman hopes have been all but shattered.

    With just one game remaining to make up for Saturday's poor performance, Klein’s chances of sufficiently impressing the Heisman voters against a porous Texas defense are low.

    He had an amazing year, but his team’s loss and his poor performance in it may have killed his Heisman chances.

Best: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

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    Week 12 Stats vs. Sam Houston State: 14-of-20 for 267 yards, five touchdowns (three passing, two rushing), 100 yards rushing and one interception

    2012 Season Stats: 241-of-356 for 3,047 yards, 38 touchdowns (21 passing, 17 rushing), 1,114 rushing yards and seven interceptions


    Heisman Candidacy

    While a game against Sam Houston State won’t do much to move a star like Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel up the Heisman rankings, his solid performance and the team's win just added to the consistency and huge totals he's compiled this season.

    At the end of the day, the freshman quarterback is the best offensive option for the Heisman Trophy.

    As if Johnny Football had anything left to prove after beating No. 1 Alabama, Manziel has one more opportunity to impress the Heisman voters in A&M's regular-season finale against Missouri.

    If the young star has a huge day, Manziel could win the award.

Worst: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon Ducks

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    Week 12 Stats vs. Stanford: 21 carries for 66 yards and no touchdowns; one catch for 13 yards

    2012 Season Stats: 220 carries for 1,426 yards and 19 touchdowns; 19 receptions for 232 yards and one touchdown


    Heisman Candidacy

    With the Oregon Ducks suffering their first loss Saturday to Pac-12 rival Stanford, Kenjon Barner’s Heisman candidacy has come into question after yet another mediocre game.

    Oregon has undoubtedly leaned on the senior all season, but the lack of elite production from the back over the last two weeks has altered the popular perception of the star.

    Even if Barner has a monster game against Oregon State in Week 13, it will be too little, too late for the Heisman voters. There are clearly better options.

Best: Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson

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    Week 12 Stats vs. North Carolina State: 30-of-44 for 426 yards, eight touchdowns (five passing, three rushing), 103 yards rushing and two interceptions

    2012 Season Stats: 240-of-353 for 3,367 yards, 41 touchdowns (33 passing, eight rushing), 466 yards rushing and 11 interceptions


    Heisman Candidacy

    While North Carolina State isn’t an elite team, Clemson dual-threat quarterback Tajh Boyd proved why he deserved to be in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy in Week 12.

    With only one loss and the stats to make a serious case, Boyd has become the dark horse to steal the show and possibly walk away with the Heisman.

    The true test will come in Week 13 against South Carolina.

    If Boyd can lead his team to a huge upset victory over the SEC powerhouse Gamecocks and put up monster statistics, the Clemson QB could sneak in the back door and seriously contend for the most prestigious award in college football.

Worst: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

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    Week 12 Stats vs. Wisconsin: 10-of-18 for 97 yards and no touchdowns; 23 carries for 48 yards and no touchdowns

    2012 Season Stats: 134-of-236 for 1,850 yards, 27 touchdowns (14 passing, 13 rushing), 1,214 yards rushing, six interceptions


    Heisman Candidacy

    The Ohio State Buckeyes continue to win in spite of Braxton Miller, not because of him.

    There is so much potential for Miller under head coach Urban Meyer, but 2012 isn’t the year for him to be considered a real candidate for the Heisman. Maybe with another year learning the new schemes, the young star will be ready to contend for the award in 2013.

    As for this season, too much inconsistency from Miller has hurt the team at times and killed his chances at Heisman glory.

    If it weren't for the Buckeyes' elite defensive unit, the team’s record wouldn’t look so pristine.


    Check back for more on the NCAA Football and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s College Football page to get your fill of the sport.