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November 25, 2012

No question, Manziel is Johnny Heisman

Dear Heisman Voters:

Howdy! For those of you unfamiliar with Texas Aggie lexicon, that's our friendly greeting. Please do not confuse it with "Boy, howdy", which is polite for saying, "What the heck are some of you idiots thinking?" That phrase is sort of like "Bless your heart" is used in Mississippi -- it's a great way to pleasantly call someone a numbskull.

So, word gets down Texas way that some of you folks are considering not voting for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

Boy, howdy.

Let's cut through the polite-speak here and get to a serious question: with all the other things he has to do, how is it that LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery has a better idea of how to do your job than some of you idiots do? He's one of the best players in the best conference in America, and he knows the score.

"Heck, if I get an award, I'll give it to him," Montgomery said of Manziel, who he just calls Johnny Football. "He and his squad are dominating the SEC."

When Montgomery saw Alabama lost 29-24 to Texas A&M, he had one thought: "Johnny Football. I'll bet he had big numbers."

He did. And he has, in virtually every game Texas A&M has played in a remarkable 10-2 season. And some of you nitwits are desperately trying to talk up Manti Te'o or Collin Klein or Calvin Klein for the Heisman, just so you don't have to give it to a freshman from Texas A&M.

That's your prerogative, but don't expect everyone to sit around and not consider such an effort to be really stupid. At the risk of doing your job for you, let's look at a few things, shall we?

Manziel has the numbers.

After last night's 59-29 demolition of Missouri, Manziel has thrown for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns in only 400 attempts. That's 8.6 yards every time he drops back to pass and averages out to 285 yards per game. He's run for another 1,119 (that's net, by the way) and 19 touchdowns. So you have a quarterback averaging 383 yards of total offense and 3.6 touchdowns per game. Oh, and he does this in the SEC West during a schedule in which he's played against the first, fifth and ninth best defenses in the nation.

Who are the competitors? Klein has totaled an average of 255 yards a game in the Big 12, where defenses bear a negative resemblance to France's in 1940. The best defense he's faced are ranked 39th and 44th in the nation, and he's also played against teams ranked 116th and 120th (and lost to one of them). Braxton Miller averages 276 yards a game in the Big 10 and has played against the 4th, 11th and 15th ranked defenses. He also plays in the Big 10, where offenses are...offensive.

His numbers are record-breaking.

He holds the SEC's single-season record for yardage in a game. Actually, he holds the top TWO spots on that list, and he broke the previous record that was set by Archie Manning twice in his first five games. He holds the NCAA's all-time record for rushing yards by a freshman quarterback and the SEC's all-time record for most total yards in a season. That's more than any Manning, Cam Newton or Tim Tebow. Those last two guys, if memory serves, won the Heisman in a landslide. Oh, and he's currently more than 200 yards ahead of Cam Newton's previous record with a game to go -- which would still be one short of the 14 Cam played in to set the previous mark.

So let's look at competitor #1, Notre Dame's Manti Te'o. Te'o has 101 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 7 interceptions (no forced fumbles). Very, very nice numbers. They're also not earth-moving, much less earth-shattering. If he's an elite player with those numbers, what do you do with a guy with 80 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed and a forced fumble? Well, his name is Damontre Moore, and you ignored him. That's offensive enough as it is, but a story for another time.

Te'o is a very nice player. But if he played for Michigan State, he would not be a Heisman candidate. Let's be honest about this.

He has the signature win.

Let's take a second and congratulate Notre Dame on their unbeaten season. A season they can look back on and say they beat juggernauts like Purdue (6-6) 20-17; BYU (7-5) 17-14 and the ever deadly Pitt (5-6) in triple OT. Bravo.

Texas A&M went 10-2, losing two games by 8 points (to #4 Florida and #7 LSU) and played the nation's toughest schedule.

Oh, and they beat Alabama. In Tuscaloosa. In front of 100,000 people. Alabama, by the way, was number 1 at the time and is 2nd now. In that game, Manziel accumulated 340 yards of total offense, threw for two scores and didn't come close to making a mistake.

What else did he do? How about rally his team from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit at Ole Miss, put up 576 yards of total offense and 6 TDs against then-ranked Louisiana Tech or engineer the worst beating Auburn's ever taken at home? Not too shabby.

He plays for a winner.

Yeah, yeah, we get the "Notre Dame is unbeaten" stuff. But, ask yourself honestly: how tough of a schedule is one that has Navy, Pitt, Boston College, BYU and Wake Forest on it? Are they much tougher than the weaklings A&M feasted on -- and did the Irish play the likes of Mississippi State, LSU, Florida...or Alabama? They'll likely face the Tide, and look out. A&M doesn't have to, because they beat them. And nine other opponents on their way to 10-2.

As for Klein...well, we're going to invoke the Baylor rule. If you lose to them, you're out. And they beat on K-State like the Wildcats like a rented mule. When you flop against the worst defense in America, it's over.

Speaking of Baylor: you didn't have a problem giving the award to RGIII last year, and his team had three losses, including getting hammered at Kyle Field. Just a reminder.

So, what's your excuse for NOT giving Manziel the Heisman? Oh, of course: he's a freshman. No freshman has ever won the award, and only three sophomores have. We get that. But this is an award for the most outstanding player for a given year. It is not a career achievement award. There are plenty of other ways to honor Te'o and Klein for their excellent collegiate careers, but giving them the Heisman is not the way to do it. According to the rules voters are held to, previous years are not supposed to be a consideration. Again, just a reminder.

One of the things we've heard Te'o supporters push is that he means so much more than mere statistics. If you want to go that route, fine -- Manziel's accomplishments in a single season match his. He has changed the way the nation views Texas A&M football; he has brought a team from mediocrity in a lesser conference to the elite in the nation's best conferece. Did he have help? Yes, he certainly did. And so did Manti Te'o.

Sorry, Collin. You still lost to Baylor.

Now, dear Heisman voters, the time has come for you to do your job and cast your ballot. I would leave you with this: WWSD, or What Would Sam Do? He seems to get this thing better than a lot of you.



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