The 2012 Heisman Trophy has already
been decided by voters, but who should have won?
Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy.
And it wasn’t even close.
You see, each year the Heisman Trust
sends out a memo to voters urging them to keep their ballots secret.
Pretty much nobody pays attention to it.
Primarily this is due to content
generation demands. If you have a Heisman vote, it’s basically
expected that you will write a column or talk about it on your radio
show or tweet it or what have you. Heck, I’m not a Heisman voter and
I am right now giving you a list of who I would pick if I was. (I am,
incidentally, on the Lombardi Award committee. Not sure why. Since I
have a tendency to promote players who aren’t getting the attention
they deserve, I’m basically that annoying guy in the corner going,
“Fellas, fellas! There’s this left guard from North Carolina…”)
This, naturally, allows for an
aggregate of all publicly available Heisman votes to be collected. (I
recommend Stiff Arm Trophy. It tends to be the most consistently
The current count is only 140 ballots,
but – one – that’s easily a sufficient sample size and – two –
starting back at about 50 votes Manziel’s projected numbers haven’t
moved from around 78-82% of total possible points, showing very
little derivation in each newly available batch of votes. The Aggies
are going to get their second Heisman.
Given that, let’s play everybody’s
favorite Heisman game: Who Should Have Won?
Here are my top three:
1. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
There was no player this season more
consistently dominant at his position than USC wide receiver Marquise
Lee finished with 2588 yards – 1680
of those receiving – and 15 touchdowns. He accounted for a silly
38.5 percent of USC’s all-purpose yards and he had over 300 yards per outing over the final five
games of the season, even after his QB got hurt.
But Lee was not invited to New York,
which isn’t surprising. He has a lot going against him. USC was 1-4
over the aforementioned five-game stretch (never mind that Lee had,
for example, 345 receiving yards in the loss to Arizona) and wide
receivers, much like defensive players, are automatically at a
disadvantage for an award that is supposed to be open to all positions.
2. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
Manti Te’o is a great football player
and common opinion has him as far and away the top defensive player
of the year. But while his 103 tackles and seven INTs are impressive,
he’s also getting a boost as the representative of his great defense.
Just considering individual players, I have to give a very, very
slight edge to Jones.
The 6-3, 241-pound linebacker from
Columbus, Georgia, was the single most dominant force on defense this
season. He spent all season in his opponents’ backfields, leading the
nation in tackles for loss (22) and posting 12 and a half sacks.
He was also the biggest single reason the Dawgs and not the Gators
were playing in the SEC Championship Game, racking up 13 tackles (12
solo) and three sacks against Florida.
3. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Teo is close behind Jones, but even
closer is Manziel.
He’d be third on my ballot, but I have no problem with Manziel winning the trophy. He’s clearly been the top
quarterback in the country by almost every standard for the position
be it throwing ability, running ability, leadership, talent and overall statistics.
(I say almost because, for example, Braxton Miller, A.J. McCarron and
Jordan Lynch all have 12 wins. Total wins is an overrated statistic for
quarterbacks, but still worth mentioning.)
Not that any of this matters. The
Heisman is such a strange beast. Winners have to have some
undefinable Heisman “moment.” Defensive players better have some
return touchdowns or something. Offensive linemen need not apply.
It’s a weird, arbitrary process.
Perhaps we should just vote based on 40
times or best end zone dance or, I don’t know, who our favorite
“Look at those numbers (for Manziel).
As they say, the numbers don’t lie,” Robert Earl Keen said. “He
was the star. It was like Elvis walked on the field.”
…Is it too late to change my pick?
Also considered (alphabetical):
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
Dee Milliner, DB, Alabama
Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
Phillip Thomas, DB, Fresno State