Why Loss to LSU Could Cost Johnny Manziel the Heisman
Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel is considered by many to be the favorite to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy. The one chink in Manziel's armor is the regular season loss to the Louisiana State Tigers which may prove fatal to his Heisman hopes.
The Heisman Trophy is given annually to the nation's "outstanding college football player." If Manziel wins it, he will make history as the first freshman ever to win the trophy.
Manziel has had an outstanding freshman season in which he broke multiple school and conference records. He led the Aggies to a surprising 10-2 season.
There are multiple reasons why some of the voters will not choose Manziel, and the LSU loss offers those voters ammunition. This is a look at why the LSU loss may prevent Manzeil from winning the Heisman Trophy.
Bias Against Freshmen
In 2007 Florida quarterback Tim Tebow became the first sophomore ever to win the trophy. That began a run of three straight sophomores to win it. People are reluctant to change, and many people are not going to vote for Manziel simply because he is a freshman.
The loss against LSU gives those voters an excuse not to vote for Manziel. They can vote for Manti Te'o because he plays on an undefeated Notre Dame squad.
They will ignore the fact that Te'o has better numbers as a junior and was not even a Heisman finalist. The will choose to overlook the fact that Te'o is not in the top 40 in the nation in any statistical category except interceptions and vote for him anyway.
There are voters who will vote for Te'o over Manziel simply because Te'o is a senior while Manziel is a freshman. Some will argue that Manziel will have three more shots at the award. This ignores the obvious threat of a career-ending injury and the spirit of the award which is to go to the nation's best player in that particular year.
Stats Versus LSU Were Poor
The majority of the media only watches a couple of football games per weekend. Since they cannot watch all of the candidates, they simply check the box score and judge the quality of play from the statistics.
Manziel had his worst game of the season statistically against the Tigers. Against LSU he completed 29 of 56 passes for 276 yards with three interceptions and no touchdowns.
Manziel only rushed for 27 yards on 17 carries and did not score a touchdown.
The voters who only look at the statistics will see the three interceptions and assume he had a terrible game, and that is all they need to know. They did not see the play where Manziel hit a wide open Mike Evans on the numbers, only to have the ball pop up in the air and into the waiting hands on Kevin Minter.
A lot of voters will see the stats, and that is all the investigation they will do.
Loss Leaves Ags in Middle of SEC Pack
The Aggies finished the 2012 regular season with a 10-2 overall record and a 6-2 record in the SEC. That is a quality season by anyone's measure. Unfortunately, since the Aggies lost to LSU, they finished in third place in the SEC West behind Alabama and LSU.
Since Georgia and Florida both finished with 11-1 records, it can be argued that the Aggies are only the fifth-best team in the SEC.
The Heisman is supposed to go to the best football player in the nation, but it typically goes to the best player on the best team in the nation. Since A&M is not the best team record-wise in the SEC, this will preclude Manziel from some voters ballots.
The Players Do Not Have Vote
Sportswriters vote on the Heisman, not the players. The people who would have the most accurate take on who the best football player in the country is, his opponents, have no say in the matter.
Even in a loss, Manziel managed to impress the opposition. This has no effect on many of the voters who did not bother to watch the game, but only looked at the box score.
When you are good enough for rival players to hype you up for the Heisman, you are a pretty great football player. This is all lost on the voters, however.
LSU Loss Means Aggies Are Not Undefeated
The loss to LSU means that the Aggies are not undefeated, while Notre Dame is. To some voters that is all that matters.
They will vote or Manti Te'o because he is arguably the best player on an undefeated team. It does not matter that Tim Tebow and Robert Griffin III won the trophy while leading 9-3 teams.
The fact that there is a candidate who plays on an undefeated Notre Dame team is all that matters. It can be argued that if A&M had a better placekicker, the Aggies would have beaten LSU. Unfortunately, the Aggies have an inconsistent freshman at kicker, and they lost to LSU.
Notre Dame has not lost a game, and that matters to some of the voters.