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  • The Heisman Case for Manti over Manziel

    by SEE

    The Heisman Criteria: The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.

     Big Game Performance: Manti Te’o had is biggest games against the best opponents on the schedule with key interceptions and stops against Stanford, USC, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Michigan, in the latter Te’o intercepted Michigan twice and caused two more interceptions with pressure, easily the difference in a tight game.  Or as SI noted

    “One week after Te’o played remarkably well under the most depressing of circumstances — the death of his girlfriend and grandmother within 24-hour span before the Irish’s game against Michigan State — the Notre Dame community donned tens of thousands of leis to honor his resiliency. Te’o responded with a virtuoso performance in the No. 11 Irish’s 13-6 victory over No. 18 Michigan, as he intercepted two Denard Robinson passes and helped force two others with his disruptive pressure in the backfield.”
    In contrast, Johnny Manziel is 1-2 in big games, and while he had a memorable game against Alabama, he was 0-2 against Florida and LSU with 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions for a terrible Passing Efficiency Rating of 103.  If Klein was knocked out for his performance against Baylor, Manziel should have been KO’d early on.  Consider that against the next best team on the schedule, 6-6 and currently 36 rated Ole Miss, Manziel had 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions for a passing efficiency rating of 125 (that’s a lower third rating.) The rest of his stats were built against teams entirely out of the top 25, most out of the top 50. Overall his performance against top teams was less than pedestrian:  3 touchdowns, 4 interceptions for an average PE rating of 124.  Texas A&M played just two other FBS schools with a winning record, Mississippi State and Louisiana Tech, the latter has the 118th ranked defense in the nation against a terrible schedule.

    Individual Accomplishment

    Te’o’s 7 interceptions are the highest number of interceptions by a linebacker of the last twelve years. To give you an idea of how remarkable  an achievement that is, there isn’t one other linebacker in the top 20 in interceptions and the next closest linebacker has just 4 interceptions. Te’o is tied for the lead in takeaways nationally (interceptions and fumbles recovered) with 9 (the other two leaders are defensive backs).  Additionally, there isn’t a linebacker on record who has 7 interceptions and 100 tackles in a year (at least that we can find.) While some may look at Te’o’s lack of sacks and/or tackles for loss, it’s important to note that he was asked to play a completely different role this year.  When asked to play that role last year he had 5.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. Those are outside linebacker numbers from the middle linebacker position.  Ironically, pass coverage was supposed to be his one weakness coming into this year. Te’o played against many early Heisman candidates… who weren’t candidates after they played Notre Dame including Bell, Robinson, Taylor, Lee and Jones. If the criteria is “outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity“, it’s hard to argue any player has been more “outstanding while exhibiting the pursuit of excellence with integrity”, than Manti Te’o.

    Manziel has had a very good season, but relative to his counterparts, not outstanding.  He’s 14th in passing yards, 18th in passing efficiency, 8th in completion percentage, 16th in YPA and 24th in TDs.  To give you an idea of his relative performance, he is only 4th in his own conference in passing efficiency rating.  If you count just FBS schools, which I would argue any voter should, Manziel has only 18 passing TDs vs. 7 interceptions.   As Manor98 noted, Against Texas A&M’s three weakest defensive opponents Manziel threw for 836 yards (10.5 yards per attempt), 9 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions while running for 359 yards (8.3 yards per carry) and 7 touchdowns. In Texas A&M’s three toughest games, however, he threw for 702 yards (at 6.0 yards per attempt), 2 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions, while running for 179 yards (at 3.4 yards per carry) and 1 touchdown. 36 of Manziel’s 43 touchdowns came against the 7 weakest teams on the schedule, which means he scored 7 touchdowns total against the best 5 teams or 1.4 per game.


    If you’re looking for the outstanding player who best exhibits  the pursuit of excellence the integrity, the argument should end right here.  Even Notre Dame detractors have held Te’o up as a shining example of college football excellence.  Beyond the heartbreaking story of his play after two tragedies in one week, Te’o has an unblemished record and has turned down millions to come back for the Notre Dame experience. Even the normally anti-ND Jim Rome, had this to say:

    “Manti likes to say, “What makes you a man is what you do when the storm comes.” I asked him what he meant by that. And normally, when someone tells me it’s not about the money, it’s about one thing…the money. But not with Manti Te’o. I’ll say it again, that was without question, one of the most moving, inspiring conversations I have ever had with an athlete.”

    Manziel will likely become a fine leader as he showcased against Alabama, but he’s still growing and learning.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but Manziel was jailed this summer in a fight and there was some concern about his eligibility coming into the season.

    Team Results

    Te’o’s Notre Dame accomplished its first undefeated season in 24 years based on a defense quarterbacked by Teo.  ND is currently 2nd in the country in scoring (1st against FBS schools,) 1st in Red Zone defense defense, has held 8 of 12 opponents to their lowest totals of the year (and all below their averages,) and has inspired goal line play that helped turn at least three close games.  This all happened against what was largely viewed as the hardest schedule in the country, one causing many writers to pen ND’s obituary before the season began.

    Texas A&M, at 10-2, has a fine record, but they’re just 1-2 against opponents in the top 25.   Two of their wins came against schools that don’t play in the FBS, so they’re 8-2 against FBS schools.  They accomplished a remarkable feat by knocking off #1 Alabama, but their other performances and Manziel’s were lacking against other top teams. Outside of three top teams, Texas A&M played just two other FBS school with a winning record and one of those was the aforementioned Louisiana Tech.

    The Bottom Line

    Teo embodies the very definition of the Heisman criteria, perhaps as much as any finalist in the last decade.  I leave the final words to coach Kelly, “If a guy like Manti Te’o is not going to win the Heisman, they should just make it an offensive award… just give it to the offensive player every year, and let’s just cut to the chase. He is the backbone of a 12-0 football team that has proven itself each and every week.”

    50 Responses to “The Heisman Case for Manti over Manziel”

    1. Manziel was also arrested 5 months ago:

      Unfortunately ESPN has already sold his narrative, dedicating time to show each of his resume-building highlights.

      • What resume building highlights? Against Alabama? That is one game. Compare that one game to what Te’o has done all season. Compare that one game to Te’o’s three seasons with 100+ tackles. Compare that kid, who was arrested and *jailed* for fighting to Te’o’s leadership performance both on and off the field. I can only hope that I can instill the kind of integrity in my daughter as Te’o’s mom and pop did with him. If they give Manziel the Heisman, then that award will forever be a joke as far as I’m concerned. Sorry Johnny, but I cannot think of a more undeserving recipient than you.

    2. Nice job. I do think including jff’s rushing yards is only fair.

    3. “If you count just FBS schools, which I would argue any voter should, Manziel has only 18 TDs vs. 7 interceptions.”

      Come on now…try to be a little less biased. Did you mistakingly leave out the 15 rushing TD’s during those games?

    4. JFF – Offensive Player
      Offense by Category
      Rushing: 1181 Yards, 19 TD’s – 1st in SEC, 32nd in Nation
      Passing: 3419 Yards, 24 TD’s – 1st in SEC, 14th in Nation
      Total Offense: 4600 Yards, 1st in SEC, 2nd in Nation
      Scoring: 114 Points, 1st in SEC, 17th in Nation

      Te’o – Defensive Player
      Defense by Category
      Sacks: 1.5, Tied for 610th in the Nation (6th on Team)
      Tackles: 103, Tied for 58th in the Nation
      Tackles for Loss: Tied for 480th in the Nation
      Interceptions: 7, Tied for 3rd in the Nation

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        You omitted the most important stat:

        JFF in the biggest games of the year: 0-2
        JFF in the critical stretches of the biggest games of the year: Butt ugly.
        A&M’s BCS Ranking: 9

        Te’o in the biggest games of the year (Stanford, Oklahoma, Michigan, Michigan State and USC): 5-0
        Te’o’s performance in the critical stretches of the biggest games of the year: MVP
        Irish’s BCS Ranking: 1

        Nuf said.

        • Um, who are you including in Manziel’s “biggest games of the year” category? He was 1-2 (Alabama, LSU, and Florida). I mean, if you are going to provide a comparison, at least make sure that it is a factual comparison.

      • If you go by individual stats, a defensive player will never win the Heisman. The best defensive players in the country don’t always have the best individual stats. The best defensive players need to be measured by how they alter the game. The best cornerback may not have the most interceptions or tackles, but if he can shut down an opposing teams top receiver, and force the offense to look for other options, he is altering the opposing teams game plan. There is not a player in the country that altered games more than Te’o. He shut down opposing teams run game (15 yards rushing for Oklahoma!), but then when he forced the other team to pass, he was terriffic in coverage. If the Heisman is really to the most outstanding player, it should be go to Te’o.

        • If you think that Te’o hasn’t altered games, then you’re thinking like a fool. How about his two interceptions and constant harassment of Denard Robinson during the Michigan game? How about his performance which effectively took Le’Veon Bell out of the MSU game? That is just two performances where he did alter the game’s outcome. His second half interception against Southern Cal was crucial. In a similar spotlight, Manziel wasn’t a factor against LSU or Florida. So, his ability to alter those games is out the window.

          Point being, Manziel shined against lesser competition than Te’o.

        • I missed adding that I agree with you… so don’t think that I am trying to say that you’re a fool. My point is that “anyone” who thinks that Te’o was not a game-altering force is ridiculous.

    5. Agree with the analysis. Manti deserves the Heisman. Manziel does not. The Heisman is not about who has the best highlight moment replayed by ESPN. And it is not about ESPN campaigning for a “freshman” to win the award. I continue to see references in the media to him being a redshirt freshman, which would mean he is a sophomore. While I doubt the most deserving player will win, I do resent ESPN constantly trying to manipulate and influence the vote. A handful of talking heads conduct a straw poll among themselves and that gets passed off as some sort of scientific poll of Heisman voters. It is possible that Manti could win the award. It is a vote and not everyone thinks a person with a police mugshot should take home the Heisman because he won only 1 of 3 tough games played by his school. Manti has not had a bad game and is one of the main reasons ND is playing for the title. I work off of the simple school yard pick-up team philosophy. Who would you pick first for your team? Manti would be my choice.

    6. If Johnny Manziel gets his name called and gets up there and delivers a speech while holding that statue, as Manti Te’o sits in the front row and has to watch this kid up there, it would be an affront and I hope the voters would be appropriately ashamed as they watched it.

      I’d almost rather Te’o didn’t attend at all than attend and have to sit there and be insulted.

      • This is spot on Paul. They should be ashamed….and a total insult to Manti. It would be the 2nd worst thing Manti had to sit through next to the Funeral’s of his girlfriend and Grandmother. Good Lord people. Wake Up.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        If Manziel wins the Heisman, it will be the biggest disgrace in the history of the award and the Heisman Trophy will, in the years that follow, will wear a black armband in protest.

      • sentiments exactly. You would think that even having the Honey Badger in the final group in New York last year (and what happened in the months that followed) would be instructive enough to the voters. But Cam Newton’s larceny as a freshman at Florida sure didn’t matter and after Reggie Bush had to give back his trophy for transgressions well documented that didn’t deter them from throwing votes at candidates of less than stellar integrity. No doubt the “on field” performance analysis is clearly in Manti’s favor. But I feel the integrity aspect of the award has obviously been lacking or a non-factor with the voters even though it is a part of their creed. If there was ever a time America needed a role model like this young man, it is now. Or maybe I am just getting too old……

      • Paul, you miss out on the point. Manti has more character than that. He’ll go, and he won’t say anything negative about anyone, and he’ll smile and do all of the press and if the voters have any sense he’ll go home with a trophy. If he doesn’t win he’ll say nice things about the winner and say he’s thankful for the experience. Then when he leaves New York he’ll go win a national championship.

        When you listen to the former winners (who are all voters), most of them have expressed a lot of openness to Te’o. That doesn’t mean he’ll win, but there are a lot of ‘old school’ voters who will never vote for an underclassman.

    7. Steve from the Quad @jagvocate) says:

      It’s interesting that human beings can’t concede that both are deserving. Instead, one becomes the only “true” candidate and the other is “undeserving.” Illogical.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        The Heisman is awarded to the most outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.

        Johnny Football may win the award, but he’s neither the most outstanding football player nor does he best exhibit the pursuit of excellence with integrity.

        JFF racked stats against a schedule that includes teams the Irish wouldn’t bother scrimmaging against.

        In the critical stretches of his team’s most important games, he folded like a lawn chair … and his team lost … twice.

        Off the field, my understanding from others on this blog is that he “was arrested 5 month’s ago after a bar fight and producing not one but two fake ID’s to to a police officer!”

        I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, it certainly cuts against his body of work on the field, which as previously noted, is pock-marked.

        Manti Te’o was the Irish’s most valuable player in each of Notre Dame’s five most important victories. He put the team on his back and elevated the level of his game throughout the year despite suffering tremendous personal losses. His character and behavior off the field have been exemplary.

        No player in college football can hold a candle to Te’o when it comes to play on the field and character off.

        Manti may not win the award, but every self-respecting informed fan of college football knows he is the only player truly deserving of the award.

    8. Joseph Rehmann says:


      If Te’o doesn’t win the Heisman, I believe we should petition Jack S to create a new award, the Te’o Award. Notre Dame should endow it with $20 million, and provide a $1 million check for player’s University. It will be based on excellence in character on and off the field to propel the player’s team into the national championship dialogue (so Top 5 or 8 is appropriate). The award need not be granted annually, and should intend to award 2 of every 3 years, to ensure highest quality / caliber of student-athlete. Notre Dame should elect a committee of 13 football legends to the selection committee, each from a different University.

      If the Heisman becomes an offensive award, ND has an opportunity (and because of Te’o an obligation) to fill this void with an award to the best PLAYER.

      Dillon 2006

    9. Please send this article to every sports network and major newspaper/organization (sans comments).

      If you don’t make it on ESPN you don’t get known by most of the voters (witness poll voters).

      Universities run campaigns for the Heisman.

      Please, ND Nation. Take this on. Not preaching to the choir locally. But taking the fight to the streets.

      Win on every play. Win one play at a time. Win the next play.

    10. Good to see the case being made front and center. Needs a little cleaning up (editing) but great job.

    11. IrishGuard says:

      @Ricky – No one cares what his stats are relative to the conference he plays in.

      The Heisman is a national award, not a recognition of how a player fares against local competition (which, in any case, is hardly known for its offensive prowess…)

    12. Am I missing something here….”johnny football” was arrested 5 month’s ago after a bar fight and producing not one but two fake ID’s to to a police officer!! End of Conversation!

    13. IrishSpartan says:

      Great article. Manziel had some great highlights in great games, but he (not the defense) blew it in 2 out of 3 big games, and didn’t shine in at least one other. That’s not Heisman-worthy. Colin Klein is more Heisman worthy than Manziel under that standard. Manti is the embodiment of what the Heisman should be…a great football player, a great human being, and a great ambassador who will actually succeed at the next level (not like Crouch, Smith, Tebow, Leinart, etc.). Whether he wins it or not, I love Rehmann’s idea of the Te’o Award.

    14. Steve, they aren’t both deserving.

      Manziel and his team simply did not perform in games against good competition. Most of his games were against horrible teams, and he piled up his statistics in those games.

      FURTHER (and it’s something I wish SEE had included in his write-up), Manziel is a system QB. He’s the second straight Sumlin QB to post incredible numbers. Why? Because Sumlin is a system coach. And what you saw in their 3 games against good comp was how good defenses deal with that system offense – they were all scored on early, and Texas A&M built a lead while the opposing defense got accustomed to the high tempo. Then the good defenses completely shut A&M down for the remainder of the contest.

      It would be a crime if Manziel won this award. If we’re going to give a Sumlin system QB a Heisman, they should retroactively give one to Case Keenum, too. Keenum could’ve led them to the exact same number of wins this year, and built those exact same leads on those exact same defenses before being shut down in the exact same way.

      It’s a plug and play offense. Golson would have the exact same numbers as Manziel right now if he played for A&M – only Golson might actually have WON another game or two rather than blow them, since Everett is actually a winner.

      • Full disclosure: I’m an A&M alum.

        Manziel is now a system quarterback? I have to honestly question whether or not you have actually seen him play. It’s pretty tough to design a system where a QB can lead a league in both rushing and passing. How many other plug and play “system QBs” accumulated 3000 passing yards and 1000 rushing yards in the same season? (Answer, 5 total QBs and in more games than Manziel has played in). And don’t throw out the line about how it was against bad competition, as every single BCS teams plays some creampuffs and has weak sister conference games to pad their stats. Yet, only 5 other guys have had Manziel stats. One other point I’ll make is that even in the creampuff games and blowouts, Johnny has sat a total of 9 quarters. More than 2 whole games where he wasn’t even on the field to do even more stats padding.

        It’s also tough to design a system where when the play breaks down you have the QB run around like a chicken with his head cut off to elude SEC defensive line men and throw accurately on the run or simply just run himself for the first down or TD. The guy is fast, seems to be covered in grease, and is damn good when plays break down.

        All that’s to say, argue for Teo. He’s had a great year and every bit deserving of the Heisman. But don’t make bad arguments against your opponent simply because you want your guy to win.

    15. Excellent job. This needs to be sent to those who vote, or at least to the ND PR folks. Are you doing that? Who else in NDNation has such contacts with the media?
      And as to its bias: well, that’s what both sides will be doing.

      • I have already written separately to Gene Wojo* at ESPN plus Morrissey at the Sun Times (before this piece was published) and gave them enough actual facts to arrive at the same conclusion as articulated above, but an open and shut case is only a winner if the judge and jury are listening. Sadly, we may be spinning our wheels here but we still need to try.

    16. Many good suggestions. I would recommend the article, modified and without comments, be sent to Mike Golic of Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN. There could be some gentle additions to the article about the mug shot (which Desmond Howard, of all people, commented about yesterday as a negative on Manziel) and the hyping of someone based upon him being potentially the first freshman to win the award if, as I have read, he is acually a sophomore (redshirt freshman) and not entitled to this special distinction ESPN is promoting. The article needs to be short and perhaps in the form of and Open Letter to ESPN that Golic could read on his show. I would consider adding to the letter a request that if ESPN is going to identify frontrunners of its sportscasters to identify based upon its own straw poll of Heisman voters as ESPN, that it identify how many people actually participated in the straw poll and who they are and what the vote totals are.

    17. I think the bashing of Manzeil is uncalled for in this case. As a defensive player, Te’o is amazing, but the vast majority of these posts are simply to not endorse him but tear down a 19 year old kid. Everyone agrees that Te’o is a great human being, but do you think he would endorse the comments coming out here? I think not. Before you proclaim and Judge on behalf of someone, you may want to ask if they actually want your help. All this does is make ND look bad.

    18. ND 1990 / 1993 says:

      The more candidates that are compared to Manziel the better. The non-Manti vote needs to be split. I suspect this is why Holtz was touting the OSU quarterback recently. Therefore, in a way, by comparing only Manziel and T’eo, you are falling into a sort of trap set by the mainstream sports complex. They don’t want Manziel compared to other quarterbacks. As an example, the KSU people are more than happy to compare the two and point out that Klein stacks up more favorably:

      1. Klein has 25 more yards per game against ranked teams;
      2. Klein has 13 more touchdowns against ranked teams;
      3. Klein has 0 interceptions v. Manziel’s 3 interceptions against ranked teams;
      4. Klein averages more yards per pass;
      5. Klein has only lost once;
      6. Klein is going to a BCS game;
      7. Klein may win a conference title;
      8. Klein stats support that he performs better against ranked opponents;
      9. Klein is not a freshman.

    19. Upon further reflection, any action to promote Manti would have a backlash effect on him and not do justice to the good person he is.

    20. GraceHallChapel86 says:

      After reading the article one would think we are dealing with an “electorate” that thinks and reasons instead of operates by snapshots and glam.

      Analysis is done at schools that graduate 99% of its athletes. Glitz and glam happens elsewhere.

    21. Why did you leave out his rushing stats? Just wondering.

    22. If Manziel wins the Heisman over Te’o it will rival 1990 as the biggest Heisman injustice in the history of the award (when Detmer was given the trophy instead of Rocket). Te’o is the best player in the country, best at his position in the country and playing on the #1 ranked team in the country. I think an argument could be made, fairly easily, that Manziel isn’t even the best player at his position much less the best player in the country. I’m not sure how the same people who voted for Charles Woodson in 1997 to win the Heisman can’t find the guts to vote for Te’o this year. I realize I’m biased, but something tells me if Te’o played for Alabama (or fill in the team) and they were undefeated and ranked #1 he would win in a landslide.

    23. The people defending Manziel here and acting as if posters bashing him as a person are somehow out of bounds or over the line, are baffling to me. This kid does not sound like a particularly good kid. He’s not the devil or anything (so far as I can tell), but read the New York Times piece where they talk to his father. He sounds like a kid who just isn’t a good kid. Is it wrong to say that? No. No, it’s not. They finally let him interview yesterday or the day before – and all at once everyone realized why they’d waited so long to do so. He was a bumpkin. And he seemed, to coin a phrase, small-timey. Comparing his presence to that of Te’o, who is a mere two years older than Manziel, is striking.

      You have, off the field, a Boy Scout against a bad boy good ol’ boy (if there can be such a thing).

      On the field, you have the leader of a 12-0 defense against the leader of a 10-2 offense – Manti a player of his own making, Manziel a product of a super-productive offensive system.

      I’m telling you, even the voters who vote Manziel (and I believe it will be a majority of them and he’ll win) will wince when they watch this hayseed up there fumbling through some idiotic half-literate speech as he accepts an award gifted to him by a biased media, and as Manti Te’o – the Hawaiian Clark Kent – sits stoically in the front row, having lost.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        Spot on. Anyone who thinks it’s inappropriate to passionately support Te’o for the Heisman by pointing out the differences between Te’o and Manziel’s play on the field and their behavior off don’t understand the legacy and the tradition behind the award. It’s not simply about stats. It’s about being an ambassador and representative of college football for life. No one disputes that Johnny Football is a remarkably talented player, but he’s no Manti Heisman.

    24. I’ll also say that Manziel’s reply yesterday to the question about his arrest was the most insincere-sounding mush mouth reading it off a card nonsense I’ve ever heard. It was amazing how much more inarticulately he suddenly became when “answering” that question. Michael Floyd was no great speaker, but his answers about his DUI last year were markedly different than Manziel’s answer yesterday.

    25. Recognize that a process is in place- the Highlights Trophy (fka the Heisman Trophy) will be part of the ESPN FBS National Title Pageant, currently referred to as “Conference Championship Games” and the “National Championship Playoff” ND will be forced to fold its tv revenue stream in with the popular kids or face another attempt to make us “irrelevant”

    26. Teo obviously is my choice for Heisman, but if they do not give it to him, I don’t think they should award it to anyone, but least of all Manziel. There has to be some integrity in the recipient, and if if this kid was jailed less than six months ago, I don’t know that you could argue he has enough integrity to be named the winner. I guess if not Teo then as someone said KSU’s Klein.

    27. Bleed Green says:

      We can all help Manti Te’o by voting for him on the URL I will provide below. If you guys don’t have an ESPN account, please take a moment to create one if for no other reason than to vote for Manti Te’o. If he wins, then it will count for one actual vote for him in the actual Heisman race! You can vote once a day every day until the Heisman ceremony. Our efforts are working, the gap is closing! Yesterday it was at 29%, today it is at 30% and the votes for Manziel have not increased! Help Manti Te’o win the Heisman!

    28. ND'99 Texas says:

      I respect that Manziel has had a great season statistically, but someone has to get those clowns at ES(EC)PN to dig a little deeper than their hyperbole headlines ever go. Manziel struggled in 2 of his 3 games against good defenses and lost both games. The rest of his schedule was against a bunch of defenses that anyone could have torched for big numbers. To his credit, he did just that and he did it consistently, but let’s take a look at the opposition that contributed to Johnny Football’s gaudy stats.

      Team (Total Defense rank & Scoring Defense rank, of 124 FBS teams, according to

      Florida (5 & 3)
      SMU (57 & 67)
      SC State (FCS & FCS)
      Arkansas (74 & 81)
      Ole Miss (49 & 69)
      LA Tech (124 & 118)
      LSU (9 & 11)
      Auburn (84 & 65)
      Miss State (56 & 29)
      Alabama (1 & 1)
      Sam Houston State (FCS & FCS)
      Missouri (57 & 67)

      Kid had a hell of a game against Alabama and for that we all thank him. But if you’re going to let statistics be the determining factor, you have to take a look at how they’re earned.

      In the interest of full disclosure, if you look at the rankings of the offenses ND played this year for Overall Offense and Scoring Offense, they look pretty anemic, too. Just goes to show statistics can be manipulated to prove any point.

      Manti, the undisputed top defender in college football (not one dimensional like Clowney or Jones), should win this historically offensive award in the absence of quality candidates on that side of the ball.

    29. I’m not sure it is possible to compare a linebacker against a quarterback but the fact that Manti T’eo is even in the conversation tells me he is even better than he appears. The QB is the de facto leader of the offense. All the QB stats are a team effort but in the statistical analysis he gets credit for the combined eleven man output. Truly great QBs have the ability to transcend their own physical contributions by lifting the performance of the entire offense.

      Attribution of results is not so clear on defense; no one defensive player is the focus of every play; ther is no de facto leader. When one player is so illuminated by his personal dedication and sacrifice that his pursuit of excellence draws all of his teammates to perform beyond themselves again and again when it is most important, it is breath taking.

      Shouldn’t the manifest leader of a defense get the same credit as the de facto leader of the offense?

    30. barry baldwin '63 says:

      I do not believe that ANYONE in any way conncted to Notre Dame should discuss or alude to any legal issues connected to Johnny Football. I believe that Manti would feel that such talk in support of his Heisman cause is inconsistant with everything he believes in.

    31. Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

      I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Johnny Football will win the Heisman and if that’s the way it plays it would be a tragedy but I ultimately could not care less.

      Manti is going to win some combination of the Maxwell (best all-around player), Bednarik (defensive player of the year), Butkus (top linebacker) and the Lott (defensive player having the biggest impact) awards. The Irish are going to win the National Championship Game to put the icing on a perfect season and Manti and Tyler are going to be first round draft picks.

      At the end of the day, that will be enough … at least for me.