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The Jeff Falconio Blog

Who should win the Heisman Trophy?

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This has been one strange year in college football and the Heisman Trophy race has been one of the most wide open I can remember.  First, USC's Matt Barkley was the front runner but he quickly fizzled out.  Then along came West Virginia's Geno Smith but he couldn't build any momentum after a monster performance against Baylor.


By the middle of October no clear front runner had emerged but the buzz for three guys grew collectively over the second half of the season.  Kansas State's Collin Klein was solid all year but he didn't seem to have a signature Heisman moment.  His numbers are good but not eye-popping.  Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel seized his Heisman moment when the Aggies upset Alabama and his numbers both through the air and on the ground are better than Klein's.  But Manziel is a freshman and historically voting for a freshman has been a big no-no.  Finally there's Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who was one of the nation's best defensive players this year.  Like Manziel Te'o had his Heisman moment against Oklahoma.  But also like Manziel Te'o has history working against him.  No pure defensive player has ever won the Heisman.


I don't like the idea that freshmen or defensive players shouldn't be allowed to win the Heisman Trophy.  The award is supposed to be given to college football's best player, not college football's best upperclassman or college football's best offensive player. 


So stripping away any bias this year's Heisman Trophy should be awarded to Johnny Manziel.  The A&M quarterback scored 43 touchdowns this year (more than Klein) with just one hiccup (against LSU).  He got better as the season wore on notching 14 touchdowns just in the month of November.  And there was that performance against Alabama as well.  From his season opening performance against Florida to his five touchdown finale against Missouri Manziel was college football's best player in 2012. 

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