Why College Football Needs Johnny Manziel to Reach BCS Bowl
Is this Johnny Manziel's last ride as a college football player?
The redshirt sophomore signal-caller for the Texas A&M Aggies is three years removed from high school, and could bolt to the NFL after this season if he hears good things from NFL scouts.
That means, assuming something crazy doesn't happen atop the SEC West standings, there's only five more chances for college football fans to get a glimpse of one of the most amazing players to ever play the sport.
If the Aggies win the first four—versus UTEP, Mississippi State, at LSU and at Missouri—there's a good chance the fifth would be on the big stage in a BCS bowl.
That's where "Johnny Football" needs to be, and likely where college football needs him to be.
Aside from the BCS National Championship Game, college football's bowl season has essentially turned into the football equivalent of the postseason NIT in men's basketball. While that may seem like a slight, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The advent of the BCS and its stated goal of getting a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup has rendered every other bowl game to exhibition-game status. As a result, the enthusiasm has waned.
USA Today reported in January that 2012-13 bowl attendance was down more than two percent from the season prior. The Sugar Bowl matchup between Florida and Louisville drew a mere 54,178 fans—its worst mark since 1939 and the lowest attendance ever for a BCS bowl, according to ESPN.
Manziel will draw eyeballs wherever he goes, but his appearance in an exclusive window—which is what all BCS bowls other than the Orange Bowl will have this year—would provide a perfect sendoff for the quarterback.
The BCS needs Manziel and Manziel deserves the BCS.
It would be the same way he closed out his 2012 season. Manziel torched the Oklahoma Sooners, 41-13, in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4, 2013 in a game in which he set the Cotton Bowl's total-offense record with 516 yards.
So how would Manziel and the Aggies get to a BCS game?
Winning out is obviously the first step, which would include resume-building wins at LSU and at Missouri. A tall order, no doubt. However, if A&M's defense plays like it did against Vanderbilt last week—when it gave up just 329 yards—it will help the Aggies.
Will Texas A&M play in a BCS bowl this season?
Step two would be an Auburn loss (or two).
Bowls are going to want Manziel, but if there's a team with a better record or an equal record with a head-to-head tiebreaker, the SEC will likely push hard for that team to get in based on its season resume.
Whether you love the bowl structure, hate it or fall somewhere in between, these games are the highest-profile games in the sport, and deserve the highest-profile matchups. The definition of "high profile" is in constant flux, based on the teams that qualify each year, the direction of the programs and the players they boast.
College football's bowl structure will remain part of the postseason in the new age of the College Football Playoff, and the sport needs its stars in those second-tier slots in order for those games to maintain their relevancy.
Manziel in the BCS would add some spice to the bowl season, even if it's not in the biggest BCS game of them all.
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