Johnny Manziel Should Win 2012 Heisman over Manti Te'o and Collin Klein

Ryan DavenportContributor IDecember 8, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 24:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies runs for 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

When the Heisman Trophy is handed out on Saturday night, there's at least a reasonable chance that it won't be Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel who gets called to the stage to collect the award. 

And that's a shame, because the Aggies star is the most deserving candidate, with all due respect to both Manti Te'o and Collin Klein, who enjoyed stellar seasons for Notre Dame and Kansas State, respectively. 

It's just that Manziel was better, and it showed, as he carried what appeared to be an average Texas A&M team that entered the season outside of both the USA Today and AP Polls, all the way to a No. 9 ranking in the final BCS rankings of the regular season.

Simply put, the redshirt freshman quarterback, who only months ago was perhaps best known for being arrested (via ESPN) prior to ever taking a snap for the Aggies, has been the most valuable player to his team while taking the nation's toughest conference by storm. 

Not only has Manziel consistently put up gaudy numbers against quality opponents, but he's done so with both his feet and his arm, and the result is that Texas A&M earned some of its biggest wins in school history this season. 

Sure, some will point to his forgettable performance against No. 6 LSU, when Manziel tossed three picks en route to a 24-19 loss, but one has to look no further than the rest of his performances against top 25 teams to see the true value of Johnny Football to the Aggies. 

Against No. 23 Louisiana Tech, Manziel put on a show by accounting for six touchdowns and over 500 all-purpose yards, including a stunning three-touchdown, 181-yard rushing performance. 

Then there were his two rushing touchdowns in the Aggies' win over No. 15 Mississippi State and his six-touchdown game against SMU, but the crowning achievement of Manziel's season clearly came against Alabama. 

That's because with Texas A&M up against the nation's top team, which hadn't lost in more than a full calendar year, Manziel led the Aggies to a stunning 29-24 upset over the heavily-favored Crimson Tide. 

In that game, Manziel rushed for nearly 100 yards, threw for another 253 and most importantly threw two touchdown passes, including the game-clinching score with just over eight minutes to play. 

It's because of that win that the Aggies find themselves playing Oklahoma for the Cotton Bowl in January, and it's also a big reason why Manziel is favored by ESPN's panel of Heisman experts to take home college football's most coveted individual award. 

So far, the first-year starter has collected the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top quarterback and earned a unanimous selection as the SEC Offensive Player of The Year, but he deserves to add to his trophy case on Saturday, despite losing the Maxwell Award to Te'o. 

History is certainly on Manziel's side, as five of the last six Davey O'Brien winners have gone on to collect the Heisman. 

Regardless of whether Manziel comes away with the Heisman, he's done more than enough to be the most deserving candidate out of this year's pool of finalists, and what's scary is he should be even better next season.