Heisman Watch 2012: Predicting What the Final Standings Will Look Like
A pair of quarterbacks will finish in the top two of the Heisman voting in 2012.
Despite Manti Te'o leading Notre Dame to an undefeated season with stellar defensive performances, the Heisman race will come down to Kansas State senior quarterback Collin Klein and Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel.
So the biggest question is will the Heisman voters award a freshman the most prestigious prize in college football?
Klein has a big game against Texas this weekend, and if he leads his team to an impressive victory against the Longhorns, he might get enough votes to steal the Heisman away from the freshman. But will it happen?
5. Braxton Miller
Is Braxton Miller really worthy of the Heisman? Let's go through the checklist, shall we?
Stats? Check. Miller has 2,039 passing yards, 1,271 rushing yards and 28 total touchdowns with only five interceptions.
Significant win? Check. Ohio State just beat Michigan, 26-21, in a rivalry game to ensure that the Buckeyes went 12-0.
Most outstanding player in college football? Close, but no cigar. Miller puts up nice stats and is fun to watch, but he doesn't take games over like the rest of the men on this list.
Leading the Buckeyes to an undefeated season with impressive stats will guide Miller to New York as a finalist, but he won't come close to winning the Heisman.
4. Marqise Lee
Wide receiver Marqise Lee came within inches of making a serious run at the Heisman.
Before Notre Dame pulled off an incredible goal-line stand, it was Lee who got the USC Trojans there. With Max Wittek airing it out, Lee came down with a great catch and was tackled just short of the goal line.
Had he scored on that play, Notre Dame's lead would have been just a one-possession lead, and if USC had been able to get the ball back and score again to upset Notre Dame, this slideshow could have been completely different.
As you know, that didn't happen. Instead, Lee finished the game with five catches for 75 yards but, more importantly, failed to gain a significant win all season long.
Lee might be the most explosive player in the country with 1,680 yards and 14 touchdown receptions, but the Trojans' five losses will hurt him in the end.
3. Manti Te'o
Give Manti Te'o credit.
While some may criticize him for having mediocre numbers on defense, he continued to grab interceptions and lead the Irish to an undefeated season.
He put all of the doubters, including myself, to rest, and because of that, I have mad respect for Te'o as a football player.
Te'o is tied for second in the nation with seven interceptions, which leads all linebackers. Add that to his 103 total tackles this season, and he makes quite the case for the Heisman.
But then again, he's a defensive player, and it's extremely difficult for them to win this award. Voters favor quarterbacks, and in 2012, that will be no different. Plus, he doesn't have cool nicknames like the top two players on this list.
2. Collin Klein
Optimus Klein will get his against Texas.
Klein has had too good of a season to let his three interceptions and loss to Baylor run him out of this Heisman race.
With a big matchup against Texas on the marquee and a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl bid at risk, Klein could get another significant win here that will earn him first-place votes.
However, he won't win the Heisman simply because he's not the most outstanding player in college football.
His 34 total touchdowns is impressive to say the least, but Klein failed to run the table and lead Kansas State to the national championship game. That opened the door for Manziel, and Johnny Football capitalized.
1. Johnny Manziel
Manziel will become the first freshman to ever win a Heisman Trophy.
Book it. This kid has it all. He has the significant wins, he has the stats (4,600 yards of 'em), and he's the most exciting/outstanding player in all of college football.
Entering the game against Missouri, the Heisman was Manziel's to lose. Johnny Football was the front-runner after Klein failed to beat Baylor two weeks ago.
Where Klein failed, Manziel succeeded. Going against an unranked opponent, Johnny Football delivered a fantastic performance and ended his Heisman campaign with a bang.
Manziel finished the night with 372 passing yards, 67 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. Give him the hardware. Sooner rather than later, we'll be calling Johnny Football, Johnny Heis-Manziel.