Heisman Trophy 2012: Week 14's Best and Worst Showings in Heisman Hunt

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2012

Heisman Trophy 2012: Week 14's Best and Worst Showings in Heisman Hunt

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    The final week of 2012 regular-season college football is behind us, and it’s time to adjust the Heisman Trophy favorites after a wild Week 14 that featured some of the best players in the country on a national stage.

    With so many teams playing—and just as many without games—we were forced to add a new category.

    Instead of the normal ''best'' and ''worst'' sections, we now have a “Heisman Favorites'' category for the players who are still serious contenders despite no game in Week 14.

    After a weekend full of conference championships and regular season finales, this is where all the top stars in college football stand in their pursuit of the Heisman Trophy after 14 weeks of unadulterated action.

Best: Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

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    Week 14 Stats vs. Texas: 8-of-14 for 184 yards and one touchdown; 23 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns.

    2012 Stats: 180-of-272 for 2,490 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions; 194 carries for 890 yards and 22 touchdowns.

    Heisman Candidacy

    While the lack of success through the air on Saturday against Texas will hurt Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein’s chances to win the Heisman Trophy, another 100+-yard game on the ground and three more touchdowns prove once again how valuable he is to the team.

    While Johnny Manziel and Manti Te’o will likely get more votes, Klein is the most valuable player to the success of his team.

    Kansas State’s defense is awful at times. If it weren't for Klein’s ability to rush the ball when the passing lanes aren’t open, the Wildcats would be a mediocre team in the Big 12.

    Instead, they will be playing in a huge bowl game.

Worst: AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

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    Week 14 Stats vs. Georgia: 13-of-21 for 162 yards and one touchdown.

    2012 Stats: 191-of-286 for 2,669 yards, 26 touchdowns and three interceptions.

    Heisman Candidacy

    After a wild game against the Georgia Bulldogs, the Alabama Crimson Tide pulled out a close victory, but it wasn’t because of the play of quarterback AJ McCarron.

    Alabama started the game trying to keep the offense balanced, but the tough Georgia pass rush forced the Crimson Tide back into their run-first mindset. All McCarron had to do for most of the day was turn around and hand off.

    When McCarron did have to launch the ball, the passes were off target and poorly thrown. Besides a huge touchdown pass set up by a great play-action call, McCarron was more of a game manager instead of a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Best: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin

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    Week 14 Stats vs. Nebraska: 21 carries for 202 yards and three touchdowns.

    2012 Stats: 332 carries for 1,730 yards and 21 touchdowns.

    Heisman Candidacy

    While there is little doubt that Wisconsin running back Montee Ball will not win the Heisman, he has returned to the elite level that almost won him the award in 2011 and has at least rejoined the Heisman conversations.

    With the Badgers’ backs against the wall against a tougher Nebraska team in the Big Ten Championship game, Ball ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the team’s 70-31 rout of the Cornhuskers.

    The offensive explosion may have come too late, but the fact that Ball helped the Badgers—and their five losses—snag a berth in the Rose Bowl will go a long way in helping him steal at least a few Heisman votes.

Worst: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

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    Week 13 Stats vs. Michigan: 14-of-18 for 189 yards and one touchdown; 20 carries for 57 yards.

    2012 Stats: 148-of-254 for 2,039 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions; 227 carries for 1,271 yards and 13 touchdowns.

    Heisman Candidacy

    There is no doubt that Brazton Miller has the potential to be a dual-threat star in college football, but it was clear that the Ohio State defense did much of the heavy lifting against stiffer competition this season.

    Add in that Kansas State's Collin Klein—one of the country’s top dual-threat stars—shined on the national stage Saturday against Texas while Miller was idle will have many voters leaning toward the veteran.

    There’s always next year for the Buckeyes’ QB.

Favorite: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

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    Week 13 Stats vs. Missouri: 32-of-44 for 372 yards and three touchdowns; 12 carries for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

    2012 Stats: 273-of-400 for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns; 184 carries for 1,181 yards and 19 touchdowns.

    Heisman Candidacy

    While Texas A&M didn’t have a game this week, the hype around star freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel is still through the roof. People  love Johnny Football.

    The numbers the dual-threat star put up on the ground and through the air are incredible enough, but that he did it all as a freshman in the toughest conference in football—the SEC—makes Manziel a slam-dunk winner of the award.

    There will be voters with the old-school mentality that freshman should not win the Heisman Trophy, but this isn’t the 1950s anymore. If Johnny Football was the best player in college football, he deserves the award.

Favorite: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

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    Week 13 Stats vs. USC: Five tackles, three solo tackles and one interception.

    2012 Stats: 101 tackles, 46 solo tackles, two sacks and seven interceptions.

    Heisman Candidacy

    The player who will give Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel his biggest competition for the 2012 Heisman Trophy is senior Notre Dame Fighting Irish captain and linebacker Manti Te'o.

    While Te'o’s numbers are impressive—defensive statistics are unofficial—there are defenders in the NCAA with more tackles and sacks. But the numbers only make up half of his story.

    Te'o is the clear leader of the Fighting Irish and deserves immense credit for keeping his team's eyes on the prize during a 12-0 season that has it playing for a BCS national title.

    This Heisman race will be one of the closest in years.

    Check back for more on the NCAA football as it comes and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s College Football page.