Johnny Manziel Should Remain in Heisman Race Despite Texas A&M's Losses

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2013

Sep 21, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) against the SMU Mustangs at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M suffered its second loss of the season on Saturday when it fell to Auburn at home. However, that does not mean Johnny Manziel should be out of contention for his second career Heisman Trophy.

After winning the most prestigious individual award in football a year ago, Manziel has been just as impressive this season. He has increased his quarterback rating by almost 30 points and is on pace for more passing yards and touchdowns this year.

Although his rushing numbers are down from a year ago, he still ranks eighth among quarterbacks with 486 yards on the ground. Including a bowl game, this also still puts him on pace for over 900 rushing yards, which is a very impressive mark for the position.

The problem is that his defense has not held up its side of the bargain, which has led to a pair of losses on the season.

In most cases, Heisman voters tend to sway toward players whose teams are in contention for a national championship. Since 2000, nine of the 13 winners at least competed in the BCS title game. 

Manziel was an exception to this rule last season, but higher expectations were placed upon him this year. Texas A&M was No. 6 in the preseason Coaches' Poll and was one of only three teams to receive a first-place vote. The quarterback of this squad should be expected to carry it to great heights.

Unfortunately, having two losses likely ends the Aggies' chance of playing for a title. This will force many voters to look toward players on more successful teams, including Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Jameis Winston of Florida State.

ESPN's Darren Rovell cites oddsmakers who have dramatically changed their opinion on the quarterback's chances:

However, Manziel's individual accolades should not be reliant on his defense, which is the reason Texas A&M is not contending for a title. The unit ranks 104th in the nation in points allowed per game, and has given up at least 45 points in both losses.

Meanwhile, the sophomore quarterback has been fantastic in each of those games. He completed 73 percent of his passes for 918 passing yards and nine passing touchdowns to go with 146 rushing yards and a touchdown.

He has over 500 total yards and five touchdowns in each game. This would be hard to accomplish in a video game.

COLLEGE STATION, TX - SEPTEMBER 14:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates after throwing a first quarter touchdown during a game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field on September 14, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Sco
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Although he does have four interceptions in these contests, he did much more good than bad to help his team win. The fact that it was not good enough to get the victory does not take away from his achievements.

The Heisman Trophy is given to the most outstanding player in college football. It should have nothing to do with how the team performs on a weekly basis.

Manziel has played at this level once again this year and should remain one of the top options to win the 2013 award.


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