Can Johnny Manziel Overcome the '2 Heisman Hurdle'?

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Can Johnny Manziel Overcome the '2 Heisman Hurdle'?

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is up to his old Heisman tricks.

No, he wasn't photographed on Bourbon Street, he wasn't in the Miami Heat locker room and he didn't participate in any recent mass autograph signings (that we know of).

All he's doing is putting up video game numbers again for the Aggies.

Those numbers are comparable to what he did last season when he became the first redshirt freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. So, can he repeat the feat in 2013?

Johnny Manziel 2012 Versus 2013 Through Nine Games
Year Comp. % Passing Yards Rushing Yards Total TDs
2012 66.6 2,527 922 31
2013 72.5 2,867 564 34

Winning the Heisman once is impressive, but twice might be unrealistic for Manziel.

Only one player has won two Heismans: former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975. Manziel is fighting an uphill battle, and he needs a ton of help to hoist that stiff-armed trophy this December.

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

First, he's held to a different standard than the other two primary contenders: Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

He closed the gap on both this week with a sizzling performance versus UTEP, but with those two squarely in the mix for the national title, Manziel is—at the very best—on an equal playing field in terms of exposure to a national audience.

He could finish the season similar or better than either or both, but if Oregon and/or Florida State play for the national title, that's going to resonate with voters. 

The Program: Week 11 Heisman Rankings

That's unfair, because it's not Manziel's fault the Aggies defense has been more of a punchline than a power this season. But part of the equation for some voters of what constitutes the most outstanding player in college football is one who leads his team to the game's ultimate glory.

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Even if Oregon and Florida State fall out of the national title mix, Manziel would still have a hard time repeating as the Heisman winner. His off-field world tour last offseason that cost him the first half of the opener versus Rice will also be held against him.

The Heisman Trophy mission statement states that the award is supposed to go to the "college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity."

Will Johnny Manziel win the 2013 Heisman Trophy?

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The NCAA couldn't find any evidence that Manziel took money for participating in autograph signings, but that doesn't mean there are voters out there who think it didn't happen.

If Manziel is going to overcome the odds and repeat, he needs to root hard against Oregon and Florida State, and even then it may take Mariota and Winston costing their teams games.

He's in the mix, no doubt. It's clearly a three-man race in the most recent Heisman Pundit straw poll, but Manziel is bringing up the rear.

Until Mariota or Winston drop out, that's likely the way it's going to stay no matter what Manziel does down the stretch.

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