On December 8 the New York Athletic Club will announce the winner of the most prestigious individual award in all of sports. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is the best football player in America and should win the Heisman Trophy over Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
Manziel would make history by becoming the first freshman ever to win the Heisman. He is a once in a generation type of player who Aggie fans need to enjoy while he is in college.
The Heisman "race" this season should not be a close one. Manziel has repeatedly shown that he is the best football player in the country.
This is a look at why Manziel deserves the Heisman more than Te'o.
Manti Te'o is a Heisman candidate because of the college he attends and the fact that he overcame adversity off the field. The trophy is supposed to go to the "outstanding college football player" during a specific year.
It is not supposed to go to a player who has a feel-good story and plays for a media darling. If Te'o was the starting middle linebacker at Stanford or Wisconsin, he would not be a Heisman candidate.
He is receiving Heisman hype because he plays for Notre Dame. There are linebackers out there like Georgia's Jarvis Jones who are having better seasons than Te'o, but they are not considered Heisman candidates.
You should not get the award just because of the name or color of your jersey.
Johnny Manziel has had one of the best seasons for a quarterback in the history of college football. He has broken different records seemingly every week of the season.
He became the first freshman to ever pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season. He did that while sitting out almost eight entire quarters because of blowouts.
He broke Archie Manning's conference record for total offense. That record had stood since 1969. Manziel broke it twice in his first season of college football.
When you put up 4,600 total yards in a season against the elite defenses that are in the SEC, you are having a truly special season.
Manziel leads the Southeastern Conference in total rushing yards, rushing yards per carry and rushing touchdowns. Manziel rushed for 1,181 yards on 6.4 yards per carry with 19 touchdowns. He did this as a quarterback.
He also passed for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns. He ranks third in the conference for passing yardage. Manziel accounted for 43 touchdowns on the season which leads the SEC.
Te'o has good statistics for a starting middle linebacker but nothing special. Te'o finished the season with 103 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. The only statistic that jumps out at you for Te'o are his seven interceptions.
For comparison, Michigan State middle linebacker Max Bullough finished the year with 102 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and two sacks. He also had an interception. Bullough is not considered a Heisman candidate.
LSU middle linebacker Kevin Minter registered 111 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, with three sacks and an interception on the season. He is not considered a Heisman candidate either.
It could be argued that Minter and Bullough both had better seasons than Te'o. If they are better than Te'o on the field, then how can Te'o be a candidate for an award for the best football player in the country?
Manziel has put up record-breaking numbers, while Te'o has put up numbers that do not set him apart from other middle linebackers.
Johnny Manziel had his "Heisman moment" in the victory over Alabama. Manziel took his teammates on the road and beat the No. 1 team in the nation in its house.
Past Heisman winners have often been defined by one play. Desmond Howard is remembered for his punt return for a touchdown against Ohio State. Doug Flutie is remembered for his "Hail Mary" pass against Miami.
Manziel had a play like that with his scramble and ensuing touchdown pass against Alabama. Manti Te'o does not have a Heisman moment like that.
Manziel has put up these incredible numbers while facing one of the toughest schedules in the country. He has gone through the gauntlet that is an SEC schedule and also played against bowl teams in SMU and Louisiana Tech.
Te'o has only faced one team currently ranked in the top 10 in Stanford. He has put up average numbers for a middle linebacker while facing mediocre competition.
If Notre Dame played the Aggies' schedule, the Irish would have three or four losses and Te'o would not be a candidate for Heisman at all.