Johnny Manziel has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to push the autograph scandal that has haunted him since the offseason into the rearview.
The Heisman Trophy winner can put that and the other offseason issues he has been criticized for behind him by obliterating Alabama on Saturday.
Manziel’s Texas A&M squad is set to take on the Crimson Tide at 3:30 p.m. ET in what is without a doubt the most anticipated matchup of the 2013 college football season.
With the eyes of a nation watching, Johnny Football can quiet the doubters and silence the haters by leading his underdog Aggies to victory on the back of yet another elite performance.
This opportunity could not come at a more perfect time, as a photo of Manziel signing autographs in the presence of broker Drew Tieman has recently surfaced—possible evidence that the superstar signal-caller received payments in exchange for his signature.
While Manziel was already punished by the NCAA and was made to sit out for the first half of Texas A&M’s first game against Rice due to the autograph allegations, the detractors now have a reason to cry for further sanctions and hold more ammunition to discredit his achievements.
However, it’s not everyday that a sophomore quarterback has a shot at beating the back-to-back national champions for a second straight season. Bovada.lv has installed the Aggies as a nine-point underdog, but A&M could outright win due to Manziel’s uncanny knack for escaping the rush and making plays against tight defense.
Johnny Football’s elite mobility and growth as a passer make him even more dangerous to the Tide defense than he was last year, when he completed 24-of-31 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 92 yards on 18 carries in a 29-24 victory.
Which team will win?
Should he put up similar figures or even eclipse those numbers while making a few critical plays in an A&M victory on Saturday afternoon, Manziel will completely shift the focus away from his tumultuous offseason and towards a second straight Heisman campaign.
Considering how much flak the young man has taken over the past few months, it’s exactly what Manziel needs to get his career back on track and back in the public’s good graces.