The 2012 Heisman Trophy went to Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, leaving Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and Kansas State’s Collin Klein to sit in their seats while the freshman took the podium to a raucous applause.
If that doesn't place enough of a chip on their shoulders to go out and absolutely dominate in their respective bowl matchups, nothing could get these young men motivated. Manziel’s work isn’t done either, as he has to prove to the nation he deserved the coveted award.
Let’s take a look at the Aggies, Irish and Wildcats bowl matchups and predict how the two Heisman finalists and winner will perform.
Manti Te’o: Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Alabama Crimson Tide, BCS National Championship Game
Te'o's Irish have a tough draw against Nick Saban’s Tide in the national title game, considering Manziel’s Aggies are the only team to have beaten them in over a year.
It’s going to be a back-and-forth defensive battle, with Te’o leading the top scoring defense in the nation against an NFL-sized offensive line and a number of extremely athletic skill position players.
While the Irish defense will hold strong, we doubt they will be able to pick up a win and will narrowly lose a low-scoring affair.
Prediction: Alabama 10 – Notre Dame 9, Te’o: 10 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception.
Collin Klein: Kansas State Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks, Fiesta Bowl
Klein and K-State struggled down the stretch, which is what submarined his Heisman campaign and the school’s chance to compete for a national title.
However, the Fiesta Bowl isn’t a bad consolation prize for the one-loss team, as it gets a favorable second-place matchup against the once-beaten Ducks.
Expect this to be a high-scoring affair between two potent offenses that love to hustle and put points on the board in a hurry. Klein is going to have a ton of opportunities to show why he was in New York at the ceremony, and he’s going to make the most of it.
Prediction: Kansas State 42 – Oregon 35, Klein: 25-of-33, 285 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, 20 rush attempts for 82 yards, one touchdown.
Johnny Manziel: Texas A&M Aggies vs. Oklahoma Sooners, Cotton Bowl
Our Heisman winner has one more chance during his prolific freshman season to show just how incredible he is and what Texas A&M fans have to look forward to in the future.
While the Aggies weren’t selected for a BCS bowl in their first SEC season, a Cotton Bowl appearance is quite a solid achievement. The high-profile Sooners will be the opponent in this much-anticipated contest, and they aren’t exactly known for their defense.
We expect Manziel to have a field day against OU, using his arm and legs to produce a number of big plays for huge yards and touchdowns.
Prediction: Texas A&M 42 – Oklahoma 38, Manziel: 22-of-29, 250 yards, two touchdowns, 17 rush attempts for 103 yards, two touchdowns.