Johnny Manziel's Updated 2013 Heisman Outlook After Loss to Missouri

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Johnny Manziel's Updated 2013 Heisman Outlook After Loss to Missouri
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If it wasn't clear last week, I'd like to personally be the first to congratulate whoever will be getting their "Johnny Manziel Back-to-Back Heisman" t-shirts at a hugely discounted price just in time for the holidays.

Congrats are also necessary to the schadenfreudian Johnny Football hater out there. You've won. Go get yourself a cold glass of milk and a bran muffin to celebrate. Also a round of applause for NCAA president Mark Emmert, who thankfully won't have to answer all those tough questions about why the autograph hound holds the Heisman (#alliteration). 

Oh, and I suppose we could dap up the Missouri Tigers. A year after being the "other" first-year team to join the SEC, Missouri is headed to the conference championship after dispatching of Manziel and Texas A&M in a 28-21 victory Saturday night. The win culminated a magical season for the Tigers and set up perhaps the least likely SEC Championship Game imaginable—Missouri vs. Auburn.

In the interim, though, let us discuss one Jonathan Paul Manziel. A week after flailing about against LSU and giving his Heisman hopes the ol' guillotine, Manziel made sure he finished the job against Missouri. The sophomore quarterback had only 216 total yards and one touchdown, as the Tigers did an excellent job of making Manziel the only thing he typically isn't.

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Boring.

Manziel needed 35 passes to accumulate his 195 passing yards and 11 rushes to compile 21 yards on the ground. No Manziel-related play went for longer than 32 yards, and only twice did "Mr. Football" go over the 20-yard mark. What little explosion the Aggies had was left to Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and Tra Carson, each of whom had a solid outing on the ground.

Mike Evans caught just four passes for eight yards. His already dead-and-buried Heisman hopes are now rotting like some summer roadkill. 

As for Manziel, the likelihood of him winning the Heisman was almost completely dead last week. But now, there's no feasible way on the planet that he can or will join Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman winner in history.

Let's start with the most obvious reason: Dudes with four losses don't stand a chance.

The Heisman is supposed to be an individual award given to the most spectacular player in college football, but we've known that to be a farce for years. The Heisman is given to the guy with the best narrative, who is nearly always a quarterback on a team heading to a prestigious bowl game.

We've gotten better each of the past two years in awarding Manziel and Robert Griffin III, but four losses and an unranked team is much too far a stretch.

Especially for a player who doesn't ingratiate himself to the old, crotchety core of voters who can swing the results. 

More than anything, though, Manziel simply hasn't been good at a time when the narrative was pointing in his favor. With Jameis Winston's spot atop the Heisman ratings seemingly nothing more than a placeholder heading into last week, circumstance has all but given the Florida State signal-caller the bronze trophy.

Manziel has thrown together the worst two-game stretch of his career, scuffling at the end after propping up a terrible Aggies defense all season. He completed less than half of his passes for the first time in his career against LSU and was only nominally better versus Missouri.

The reality of the situation is that Manziel wouldn't even be invited to New York City in most seasons. Except top players seem to be treating the 2013 Heisman like it's infected with a flesh-eating bacteria and are attempting to avoid its proximity at all costs.

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Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron joined the ranks of the "nope" this week when the Tide lost to Auburn in the most bat-poop crazy ending this side of a band being on the field. Andre Williams, the Boston College running back whom no one had heard until this week, injured his shoulder and rushed for 29 yards in the Eagles' loss to Syracuse. I'm pretty sure Marcus Mariota died a month ago. 

Among those even remotely in contention for the Heisman, only Winston and Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch played like they gave a good damn. And Lynch only played "well" if you ignore the fact he completed five of 17 passes against one of the 10 worst teams in the nation.

Sure, Lynch broke the quarterback rushing record for the second time this season, but we're still talking about a guy who does his dirty work every week against the equivalent of Manziel playing Kentucky on 12 successive Saturdays.

The Heisman trust typically only invites players who reach a certain threshold, but beyond Lynch and Winston, it's hard to see where else they go. McCarron is still an outside option because it wasn't his fault that Nick Saban made the nonsensical decision to kick a 57-yard field goal with a freshman who had just two tries in his entire career before Saturday.

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Whatever. 

Manziel's calling card is that, for much of the regular season, he was in fact the most spectacular player in college football. Every week it seemed Manziel was digging the Aggies out of a hole created by their porous run defense. And, hell, the man put up over 500 total yards against Alabama. That has to count for something, right?

Maybe. But it's not enough for him to matter in the Heisman race. Barring a loss to Duke in the ACC Championship Game next week, the 2013 Heisman belongs to Jameis Winston—no matter how controversial that decision proves.

Everyone else, Manziel included, is just window dressing.

 

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