Heisman Finalists 2012: Why Johnny Manziel Will Take Home Coveted Award

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Heisman Finalists 2012: Why Johnny Manziel Will Take Home Coveted Award
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Manti Te'o added some hardware to his trophy case Thursday night (h/t ESPN), but college football's most coveted award will go to everyone's favorite new folk hero: Johnny Football.

Johnny Manziel set the SEC on fire this year, breaking 2010 Heisman winner Cam Newton's conference record with 4,600 yards of total offense, despite playing two fewer games than Newton. The Texas A&M sensation also threw for 24 touchdowns, ran for 19 more and led the Aggies to a strong 10-2 (6-2) record in their first season in the SEC.

He also did this as a redshirt freshman, putting himself in position to be the first freshman to take home the Heisman in the award's 78-year history.

When you look over Manziel's resume, it's obvious that he has everything a true Heisman candidate needs. He's got the gaudy season stats, the signature win (29-24 over then-No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa), and more than his fair share of how-the-hell-did-he-do-that highlights.

Of course, as strong as Manziel's Heisman case is, it's undeniably boosted by the simple fact that he is a quarterback.

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Since 2000, quarterbacks have won 10 of 12 Heisman trophies, including the last two. The only position that's been able to break the QBs' stranglehold on the award is running back, but with no ball-carrier captivating the college football world like this year's finalists, Manziel will continue the quarterbacks' reign.

Te'o has had a magnificent season, but the sad truth is that the Heisman voters value offensive contributions over defensive. And since Collin Klein can't match Manziel's amazing regular-season numbers, he'll have to sit back and watch the freshman collect the award tonight.

It will likely spark outrage among defensive lovers—as well as Notre Dame and Kansas State fans—but the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner will be the man, the myth and the legend that is Johnny Football.

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