Friday, 23 November 2012

Heisman Discussion

With the Heisman trophy winner being decided on December 8th and Collin Klein being all but eliminated last week with the loss against Baylor, the door was left open for a discussion about the credentials of Jonny Manziel and Manti Te’o for the award. The case for Manti Te’o is put forward by Ross Watson, and Thomas Piachaud gives the evidence for Manziel. Please join the discussion by leaving your comments underneath the article.

The Case for Manti Te’o to win the Heisman

First off I’d just like to say that for a defensive player to even be considered to win the Heisman is an achievement in itself, and since the only primarily defensive player to ever win the award is Charles Woodson in 1997, Te’o walking away with the prize in this day and age of college offenses would be massive.

I am not going to compare the stats of both players due to the fact that Woodson was a shutdown corner, as well as operating on both offence and special teams, meaning that his stats are not comparable to that of a middle linebacker. However, what I am going to compare is each players impacts on their respective teams, arguably more important than stats. Michigan’s allowed 9.5 points/game and 222.8 yards/game whilst Te’o’s ND team allows 10.1 points/game and 287.4 yards/game in an age where over - inflated offensive stats is king. Comparable? Woodson led his team to an undefeated season; Te’o has one more to go before the votes go in.

Te’o is the leader of the nations best defence and Woodson was the leader of his and whilst neither Te'o or Woodson were the soul reasons for such feats, they were the ones that led the teams. In fact Te'o is the one responsible for getting the entire defense in position to make their plays, would Notre Dame be undefeated without him?

At this time you may be saying, “The Heisman is for the most OUTSTANDING player, where are his stats??”

At the time of writing (he still has a game to improve upon these stats), he has 98 tackles (49 solo), 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 6 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries. He may be ranked 46th in the nation for tackles, but bearing in mind that Notre Dame rank 12th in the nation in time of possession, he’s not on the field enough to have more tackles seeing as he’s 42 more tackles ahead of the next man at ND. His 6 interceptions are good enough to be tied 2nd (!!!) in the nation in the INT category among ALL defensive players. His interceptions have also been very timely in game situations; remember the Oklahoma game, the two against Michigan? Te’o has been the guy to step up and make the plays.

Bottom line, he makes outstanding plays at the most important times.

If his Notre Dame team finishes the regular season undefeated, there is no other candidate for the award in my opinion, he is the most outstanding player on the only undefeated team in college football, and no way would they be undefeated without Manti Te’o in the middle.

The Case for Jonny Manziel  to win the Heisman

Being an A&M fan I am obviously biased to who I think should win the Heisman, however I will try to remain as objective as possible. Last year I was lucky enough to see the Aggies live against the Mizzou, a tense game that the Aggies lost in overtime. The general feeling around College Station was excitement about heading into the SEC the following year (merchandise was already rife), with a sprinkling of trepidation about the step up in level. 

Couple this with the graduation of Ryan Tannehill who, while many don’t think he was a first round QB or even NFL ready, still gave A&M options, and Cyrus Gray who when coupled with Christine (yes, a girl’s name) Michael gave the Aggies a great ground game, and the Aggies were looking like having a dismal couple of seasons in the SEC. Not only were these key players gone, but also the Aggies were fed up with Head Coach Mike Sherman, and he was fired.

Fast forward to September 8th 2012, and the world was exposed to Jonny Manziel. First, let’s talk about the case against his Heisman claim. Yes, he’s a redshirted freshman. Yes, he’s ugly as hell. Yes, he had some off-field issues, having a drunken brawl with a 47 year old. However, if we want to look at what the Heisman is supposed to be, an award for 'the most outstanding player in collegiate football’ you can’t doubt what he has done is outstanding.

I saw an interesting graphic this past week before K-State got a hiding from Baylor, comparing Klein with Manziel (it’s incredibly hard to compare positions for other candidates such as Manti Te’o)

There’s no doubting this graphic was made by an A&M fan, as the interception column was left out, before the Baylor game Klein had 3 and Manziel 6.

Manziel's unique ability to seemingly escape a collapsing pocket, roll out, make a pass or a run, or reverse the field and make a pass or run the other way, can be considered perhaps a pro and con. A pro as it has given us some of the best moments in college football this year as can be seen by his YouTube highlights:

A con, in that it doesn’t appeal to a pro system, where he would undoubtedly end up injured (see Michael Vick, Cam Newton for case studies).

‘Jonny Football’ should win the Heisman as he’s helped a team who lost their starting QB, RB, HC and half the staff, a team who put in place a new HC, a whole new system, and moved to a new conference with match ups against some of the biggest teams in the nation. He lost twice, in close games, where the Aggies were leading at some point during the game, and barring some mistakes could have quite comfortably won and been at #1 in the Nation right now.


  1. AJ McCarron should get it, had a flawless first 12 games, and should of won the Texas game.

    Manti Te'o deserves it more than Manziel! Te'o has done everything and is the Ray Lewis of the ND Defense

    1. I think McCarron should have a shout for it, problem is, he got beaten my Manziel with everyone watchin so that would never look good to the voters.


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