Johnny Manziel is one of college football's most exciting players, but the sophomore quarterback will have no chance of winning his second Heisman Trophy unless he helps Texas A&M beat Alabama on Saturday.
By now, everyone has heard of at least one thing that Manziel did over the offseason. He rubbed some people the wrong way by living an extravagant lifestyle, but he is allowed to do whatever he wants.
However, his choices have made it harder for him to repeat as the Heisman winner. Voters are looking for someone who represents the fraternity well. His choices have already hurt his cause, and he will have to overcome a brief half-game suspension this year.
Manziel pretty much clinched the Heisman with an upset win in Tuscaloosa last year over No. 1 Alabama. The Aggies got out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter but needed a strong fourth quarter in order to hold off the Crimson Tide.
As a freshman, he threw for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns and rang up 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. Those were incredible numbers, and he was aided by a huge win over Alabama.
He struggled against LSU and Florida last season, but he won't have the ability to make up for a poor performance this season. Texas A&M faces No. 1 Alabama on Saturday and No. 8 LSU in November. Ole Miss is currently No. 25, but they may not be ranked when the two schools meet in October. The Rebels get the Crimson Tide in two weeks.
The Aggies could find themselves facing only two ranked teams in the regular season. That puts a ton of pressure on Manziel to be at the top of his game against those two schools.
The sophomore has thrown for 497 yards with six touchdowns and has rushed for 55 yards with a score in less than seven full quarters of action. He has sparked his team to blowout wins in both games, but the numbers don't support him in the Heisman race.
Does Texas A&M need to beat Alabama in order for Johnny Manziel to have a chance to win his second Heisman Trophy?
Players like Clemson's Tajh Boyd and Oregon's Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas are putting up big numbers in the first two weeks, but Manziel has a chance to jump out in front with an upset over the two-time defending champions.
Voters aren't going to vote for Manziel unless he puts up incredible numbers, especially against ranked teams, and comes away with signature wins.
Whether it's fair or not, Manziel is under the microscope more than any player in the history of college football. He can lead his team by throwing the ball or using his quickness to make plays with his legs.
He plays with tremendous swagger and is fun to watch. The sophomore has had plenty of time to celebrate last season, but now everything is on the line for both him and his team.
Texas A&M needs to win in order to stay in the hunt for the SEC title and possibly a national championship. Alabama will come to College Station with an unproven offensive line, so Manziel can put up a ton of points and make it tough on A.J. McCarron to keep up.
Manziel has already missed one half this season, which sheds a negative light on his first two games. He's going to need to make sure his performance on the field is great enough to outshine the negatives.
The 20-year-old will get his first test of the season against the Crimson Tide. Anything other than another strong performance against the top-ranked team would make it tough for the quarterback to get back in the race.
Even if Texas A&M does beat Alabama, it doesn't guarantee that Manziel will win the Heisman. However, if he leads his team to an undefeated season, it will be tough for voters to justify not voting for him.
If Manziel is going to join Ohio State's Archie Griffin as the only players with two Heisman Trophies, the Aggies must knock off Alabama this weekend.
*All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com