Many people struggle to follow college football. Too many teams, the different divisions, and the multiple bowl games are just some of the main complaints about the college sport. However, it’s December, and whether you’re a fan or not, there is one race that all sports fans are watching: the battle for college football’s most prestigious prize. The chase for the 2012 Heisman Trophy is heating up, and fans are eager to see who will show off their, “Heisman Pose,” in a few weeks.
There have been many heroic players and performances this college season. With so many miraculous moments and efforts, it’s tough to just have one Heisman Trophy Winner. Despite this, analysts and fans have narrowed it down to five players who should be in contention for college football’s MVP Award.
In most sports, the superstar is a seasoned veteran, someone who has been around the game for a long time and has shattered records. The early favorite to win the Heisman has broken records, but lacks the experience. For the first time, a freshman is leading the Heisman Trophy Race. Freshman Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is the clear front runner for the award thus far. Despite being young, fans could say that Manziel has grown up right in front of us, and has become one of college’s most dominant quarterbacks. If the age scares people away from voting forManziel, then his stats should console them. He has thrown for over 3400 yards with 24 touchdowns. He has also been a threat running the ball, rushing for over 1000 yards, running into the end zone 19 times. Manziel’s dynamic play helped him break the SEC record for yardage from scrimmage, surpassing former Heisman winner Cam Newton. Manziel’s versatility makes him the early front runner for the award.
Right behind Manziel for the award is Notre Dame’s senior linebacker Manti T’eo. One of the defensive leaders of the Fighting Irish, T’eo has been a main contributer in Notre Dame’s undefeated season and national title berth. In addition to team succes, T’eo’s defensive presence and stats help him to be a favorite candidate. In his last game verse USC, he added another intereception to his stat line to make it seven on the season. With five tackles against USC, he also recorded his third 100 tackle season at Notre Dame. If he wins the award, T’eo would be the first defensive player to win the award since Michigan Cornerback Charles Woodson in 1997. He would also be the eighth Notre Dame player to win the award, making them the school with the most Heisman’s in their trophy case.
The early season favorite is still in contention for the award as well. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein has been turning heads all season with his phenomenal play for the Wildcats. However, his resume for the award was hurt by his last game, an upset loss against unranked Baylor. Klein has been consistent all season long, throwing for 2306 yards with 14 touchdowns and showing off a 155 quaterback rating. Like Manziel, Klein’s running has kept him in this race, rushing for over 700 yards with 20 touchdowns. Klein is one of only four quaterbacks to throw for ten touchdowns and run for 20 in the same season. The other three quarterbacks (Eric Couch, Tim Tebow, and Cam Newton) all are former Heisman winners.
The only non-quarterback offensive player with a chance for the Heisman is USC wide receiver Marquise Lee. The speedster is putting together sensational numbers, and has been quarterback Matt Brakley’s favorite target. The Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year has been a consistent threat for USC’s offense, 1680 yards receiving with 14 touchdowns. Much credit is given to Lee for his being in contention for the crown, since at wide receiver, much of his performance relies on the quarterback. Lee would be only the fourth receiver to win the Heisman, and the third player from USC to earn the honor (would be fourth, but Reggie Bush’s award from 2005 was vacated for violation of NCAA rules).
Ohio State quaterback Braxton Miller is the final candidate for the 2012 Heisman Trophy. The Ohio State Buckeye has been a dual threat, both passing and running. Miller’s 15 touchdowns and 140.5 quaterback rating is quite impressive. His efforts on the ground are what have voters intrigued by Miller. His 1271 yards and 13 touchdowns rank tops in the nation. Miller would be the first Buckeye to win the award since quaterback Troy Smith in 2006, and it would be Ohio State’s eighth Heisman in school history. Ohio State also is host to the only two-time Heisman winner, Archie Griffin.
The race seems to be dominated by dual-threat quarterbacks. It looks like one of these versatile gun-slingers will be hoisting the award in a few weeks. Although Manziel is the favorite, his youth could affect the outcome. This looks like it could be one of the most controversial and closet races in recent history. All the candidates have the stats and the resume to be college football’s most elite player. These players will look to hoist the trophy, and look to add themselves to the list of college football’s best players.