Share this story...
Latest News

Like it or not, Johnny Manziel is the favorite for the Heisman Trophy

In a world dominated by gadgetry, social media and Ritalin prescriptions, I no longer expect the national conversation to remain in the same gear for long.

People are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing, because the current big thing has been talked to death already, and anyone who states LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world is five years late to a crowded party.

People want to host their own party. That’s what Twitter is, you know. I was the first to tweet that story, or the first to read the tweet that broke that story, or at the very least the first to retweet the story to co-workers who would clearly be toiling in the dark were I not there to show them the light.

But there are limits to what I’m going to accept from my fellow media members in this age of needing everyone to know “I said it first.”

Anyone who came away from Alabama-Texas A&M Saturday chirping that any player other than Johnny Manziel is the favorite for the Heisman Trophy simply wasn’t watching Saturday’s game and is trying way too hard to be cutting edge.

I know Johnny Football has had a bit of a rough go with his personal decisions as of late. I’m not defending his actions off the field. I’m pretty sure he shouldn’t be eligible. However, the NCAA ruled he can play. And when the guy plays, he’s better than anyone else in college football.

Manziel threw for 562 yards, put 42 points, and five touchdowns. Versus Alabama? Versus Nick Saban? Versus one of the five best defensive football minds in the world who was undoubtedly trying to prove a point that no player can embarrass my defense two games in a row?

Consider yourself embarrassed, Sabes. Consider yourself Manzieled. Poise, tenacity, ingenuity, athleticism, confidence, improved arm strength — Number 2 had it all on display Saturday.

“He’s taken twenty years off my life,” said Saban of Manziel, an acknowledgement that he’s never had a more difficult time trying to stop a player. You could see it in the legendary coach’s face. He knows the Tide was lucky to win. He was thanking the football gods for the invention of the deflected pass. And he was fortunate Aggies’ head coach Kevin Sumlin didn’t wise up and onside kick after every score. Because that’s exactly what he should have done.

Alabama wasn’t going to stop Manziel again. That game could have extended into eight quarters of play, and A&M would have scored on every possession. Of course, the Aggie defense couldn’t stop Alabama either, couldn’t stop the best offensive line in college football, couldn’t stop the best offensive talent from top to bottom in college football. And although Tide quarterback AJ McCarron is a huge part of that, there is no earthly way he or anyone else should surpass Manziel as the Heisman favorite. Not after that display. Strike it from your mind.

If the Heisman is still awarded to the best player in college football, Manziel left no doubt Saturday as to who that is. And until he proves otherwise, I don’t want to hear talking heads, like the admittedly talented Kirk Herbstreit, shoving any other names ahead of Johnny Football just because they wanted to “say if first”.