Johnny Manziel Will Overcome Freshman Bias To Win Heisman

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIINovember 27, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates a third quarter touchdown during their game against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on November 24, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Besides of the fact that Johnny Manziel has had a phenomenal season, he also represents the easiest departure from an unwritten rule in the Heisman voting.

Along with Manziel, the other two serious candidates for the reward would have to be Manti Te'o of Notre Dame and Braxton Miller of Ohio State. None of them are the prototypical Heisman winner.

Manziel would be the first freshman in history to capture the award. Te'o would be just the second primarily defensive player to win, and Miller would be the second player to win the award for a team that is bowl ineligible.

Handing Manziel the trophy makes sense, and his numbers are impossible to dispute. His 4,600 yards of total offense is tops in the nation, breaking Cam Newton's SEC record for total yards in a single season.

He's accounted for 43 total touchdowns, and he had his signature moment when he led Texas A&M to victory over then-No. 1 Alabama on the road.

Beyond what he's done on the field this season, college football has at least two more seasons to enjoy the popularity of Johnny Football. Winning the Heisman as a freshman would give the game a bona fide superstar.

He'll undoubtedly be the frontrunner to repeat in 2013, though that feat has only been accomplished once before. Manziel will bring in tons of attention as the nation watches to see if he can join Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman winners.

This scenario and story is just too good for Manziel not to win. Te'o and Miller are both the leaders of undefeated teams, but Te'o's contributions aren't sexy enough to sway the voters. As an inside linebacker, he simply doesn't get the opportunity to make the types of plays that will resonate with voters.

Charles Woodson won as a defensive player in 1997, but he also returned kicks, caught passes and carried the ball. Most of all, he scored 4 touchdowns that season. Te'o has seven interceptions, but he hasn't scored. He may very well be as effective as Woodson was, but his season wasn't as memorable.

Miller has made the amazing plays, but the Buckeyes have spent the entire year dominating in a hopeless season. When Andre Ware won the Heisman for a bowl ineligible Houston Cougars team in 1989, he really didn't have stiff competition.

Anthony Thompson of Indiana finished second to Ware. He had a great year rushing for 1,793 yards, but the Hoosiers were only 5-6 that season; Ware's Cougars were 9-2. His spectacular 44-touchdown season, combined with no serious competition from the stars of the nation's best teams, clinched the award.

Miller's situation is different, so Manziel's season trumps his part in the Buckeyes' undefeated season. We haven't seen the last of these two quarterbacks battling for college football's most prestigious award, though.

Manziel may be the favorite to win in 2013, but Miller will be close behind on most preseason prediction list.


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