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Heisman Photos of the Day

With Johnny Manziel poised to bring Texas A&M its second Heisman in school history, I thought I’d look back on its first winner, John David Crow, who won in 1957. Here he is accepting the Heisman at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City:

Crow’s trademark scowl was the result of an accident at birth (h/t to the comment section): 

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Heisman Pundit on Dan Patrick

Heisman Pundit was on Dan Patrick this morning breaking down Johnny Manziel’s chase for the Heisman and explaining why the Heismandments are soon going to need a Heismendment. If you missed the interview listen here:

Heisman Pundit on Dan Patrick


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Heisman Weekend Wrap Up

The tagline for Heismanpundit.com is “Breaking down the politics of the most prestigious award in sports”.

With just one week to play before the regular season ends and four out of the five Heisman hopefuls done until the bowl season begins, the politics of this year’s race will stand front and center.

This year is truly unique in that the front runner is a freshman and close behind him is a defensive player from Notre Dame. Behind those two is a quarterback who led his team to an undefeated season but has been overshadowed by his school’s bowl ban and self imposed sanction, and a wide receiver from a school just finishing its bowl ban but having a down year.

The final candidate is a scrappy quarterback from a non-football factory who was having an undefeated cinderella season until a loss last week to Baylor.

Looking solely at the numbers, freshman Johhny Manziel has the best of the bunch. He ended his season with 3,419 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns, a 155.85 passer rating and a 68.3 completion percentage to go along with 1181 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns and over 98 rushing yards a game. In terms of quarterbacks neither Braxton Miller nor Collin Klein come close on paper.

Miller threw for 2,039 yards 15 touchdowns, a 148.48 passer rating and a 58.3 completion percentage while rushing for 1,271 yards, 13 touchdowns and 106 rushing yards a game.

Klein has one game to go, on Saturday against Texas, but has so far put up 2,311 pass yards, 14 touchdowns, with a passer rating of 155.17 and a completion percentage of 66.7. He’s also rushed for 792 yards, 20 touchdowns and averages 72 yards per game on the ground.

For wide receiver Marqise Lee, his numbers are spectacular, 1,680 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns, 140 yards a game and 15 yards per catch but his team finished the regular season at 7-5, far below its preseason expectations.

Then there is Manti Te’o. As a linebacker Te’o’s numbers are hard to quantify. He has 103 total tackles, 52 of which were solo, seven interceptions and a forced fumble.

Based on numbers Manziel should walk away with the Heisman pretty easily (and he might) but when you add in the politics the race looks a little tighter.

First off, we’ll have to see if voters are willing to give a freshman the Heisman. A freshman who beat the no. 1 team in the country, but also suffered two conference losses.

If voters decide that Manziel will have plenty more opportunities to win the Heisman his alternative would be just as historic. Te’o would become the first solely defensive player to win the Heisman. Te’o has the Irish nation going in his favor and playing for a national title certainly won’t hurt either.

Miller remains in the Heisman talks but mainly in the conversation of who will make it to New York City. Miller won’t win the Heisman; not because of the sanctions but because he wasn’t the most outstanding player this year. Although he won every game this year, his production dipped significantly for a stretch in the middle of the season (partially due to injury).

Lee also will not win the Heisman. His numbers are very impressive especially because he is lining up with future NFL first rounder Robert Woods, and two future NFL tight ends. He won’t win because he’s not the best player in the nation, he’s not even this year’s most impressive wide receiver. Both Stedman Bailey of West Virginia and Terrance Williams had better statistical seasons, their teams just could’t find ways to win games when it mattered.

That leaves Klein. Optimus Klein was a front runner for five weeks in the middle of the season but a loss to Baylor last week sent him to second or third in most polls. Klein will have to have the game of his lifetime to bridge the gap that Manziel has created. Anything short of amazing on Saturday against Texas will all but ensure Klein will not win the Heisman.

Quick Hits

Bjoern Werner and Jadaveon Clowney both have 13 sacks on the season, more than six teams recorded all season and more than Boston College and Texas State combined.

–La Tech allowed over 526 yards per game for a total of 6,313 yards. By comparison Alabama allowed on 233 yards per game for a total of 2,804 yards.

–Just two kickers have been perfect on field goal attempts with a minimum of 10 attempts this season, San Jose State’s Austin Lopez is 15/15 while Tulane’s Cairo Santos is 21/21. Alabama kicker Jeremy Shelley is 10/10.

–Fresno State is the only school in the nation to have two plays from scrimmage go for longer than 90 yards.


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Heisman Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving is aways a mix of a hangover/food coma that sometimes makes me forget all the things I said I was thankful for yesterday. This thanksgiving I was able to add a mild concussion and incredible soreness to the post Thanksgiving blues thanks to an overly competitive Turkey Bowl with my old college buddies.

In order to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving from fleeting so quickly I’m going to tell you what I’m thankful for in the 2012 Heisman race.

–I’m thankful the Heisman preseason front runners graciously stepped aside to allow the dark horses (and invisible horses) to emerge and make this one of the most intriguing races in years.

–I’m thankful that for four months a year HP and I get to argue about college football and who we think is going to win the most prestigious individual award in sports.

–I’m thankful for Geno Smith, even if his season is a tale of two halves. Smith’s start to the season was absolutely thrilling and the Baylor-West Virginia game is still my favorite game of the year. Smith may be the best example that you don’t win the Heisman in September but damn was he fun to watch.

–I’m thankful for Manti Te’o and the Notre Dame defense. Te’o may be the household name but the whole defense has been the reason for the Irish success. Nothing embodies College football better than late season BCS chaos and Notre Dame. Put them together and college football fans should have enough fodder to argue about until next August.

–I’m thankful for Braxton Miller and his ability to win games by putting the Buckeyes on his back. Miller may be playing for 2013 but it’s sad to see his 2012 season overlooked and overshadowed by self imposed sanctions.

–I’m very thankful for Kain Colter and Venric Mark, my two favorite players on my adopted favorite team (to watch) this season. Colter and Mark made meeting up with HP and our group of buddies at 8:45 am every Saturday morning to watch the early games worth it. I’d also like to thank the staff at the bar we frequent for putting up with us and blasting the Northwestern sound at 9am.

–I’m thankful for Collin Klein, my dark horse to win the Heisman. While he still needs help to pull off the feat, he has been exciting to watch and follow. A true do-everything kind of guy, Klein reminds me what I love about college football; hard nosed, gritty football where the best player determines the outcome of the game.

–I’m thankful for Marqise Lee, Matt Barkley and Robert Woods. Sure only one of them is having a Heisman caliber season and they have lost four games this season including three of their last four but they’ve kept me on the edge of my seat all season with the possibility of explosive plays and 80 yard touchdown passes and catches.

–I’m thankful to have a beautiful fiancé who puts up with me from August to January. Not only does she watch the games with me all day on Saturdays, she genuinely enjoys listening to me, HP and all the guys talk non-stop football for 8 hours… At least I think she does.

–Finally, I’m thankful for Johnny Manziel aka Johnny Football. It’s not every year you get to see a freshman take a legitimate shot at the Heisman. Rules are meant to be broken but Heismandments are supposed to stand the test of time. Johnny Football is poised to break one Heismandment and put himself in position to break another next year.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend of college football and time with family.

 The HeismanPundit team in NYC for the 2011 Heisman

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Picking this Week’s Games (Early!)

Two weeks remain in the regular season and the picks keep on coming. HP broke even last week at 5-5 so he moves to a season tally of 63-56-1 (.529). I went 6-4 last week to improve to 60-52-1 (.535). To the picks.

My picks first:

LSU (-11.5) at Arkansas

Washington (-13.5) at Washington State

Arizona (-2.5) vs Arizona State

Ohio State (-3) vs Michigan

Virginia (+10) at Virginia Tech

Northwestern (-19.5) vs Illinois

Baylor (-3.5) vs Texas Tech

Oregon (-9.5) at Oregon State

Wisconsin (+2.5) at Penn State

Auburn (+33.5) at Alabama

Now for HP’s picks:

Nebraska (-15) at Iowa

Kent State (-9.5) vs. Ohio

West Virginia (-1.5) at Iowa State

Washington (-14) at Washington State

Penn State (-3) vs. Wisconsin

Stanford (-2) at UCLA

Oregon (-10) at Oregon State

Florida State (-8) vs. Florida

USC (+5.5) vs. Notre Dame

Clemson (-4) vs. South Carolina

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Heisman Links Roundup

No gimmicks for Te’o in Heisman race

Heisman watch: Could Miller benefit from losses?

Manziel and Heisman? Sumlin says compare numbers

Robert Griffin III talks Heisman Trophy

USC’s Marquise Lee Worthy Of Heisman Consideration

Hairopoulos: Could Johnny Manziel win the Heisman before his first interview?

Aaron Murray’s Heisman case

Can Manti Te’o make history?

Manziel looks to show Missouri why he’s Heisman front-runner

5 Reasons WVU’s Tavon Austin Should Be Considered for Heisman

Freshman Manziel sitting pretty late in Heisman race

Heisman ‘experts’ ignoring Austin

Heisman watch: Manti Te’o could overtake Johnny Manziel

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Thanksgiving Week in Heisman History

Thanksgiving weekend 1964, undefeated Notre Dame came to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum ranked No. 1 and led by eventual 1964 Heisman winner John Huarte. USC entered the game unranked at 7-3 (AP only ranked the top 10 teams in ’64) led by captain Craig Fertig and 1965 Heisman winner Mike Garrett.

Notre Dame took a quick 17-0 lead and maintained it until the break but USC coach John Mckay prophetically said to his troops in his halftime speech: “Keep playing your game, you’ll score”.

The Trojans came out roaring in the second half as Garrett scored on USC’s first possession. Notre Dame would score again in the fourth but have the touchdown nullified by a holding call. Trojan quarterback Craig Fertig would throw for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter including the game winning touchdown to Rod Sherman (on a play called 84 Z-delay) with just 1:33 to go in the game. USC beat Notre Dame 20-17, ruining the Irish’ bid for a perfect season.

First year Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian was photographed just as USC scored to take the lead in the fourth quarter, leading to this classic shot:



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