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Heisman Photo of the Day

Here’s a bit of Heisman whimsy for your Monday morning. This picture of the president was taken in 2009 in Mack Brown’s office. Any guesses whose Heisman he’s holding?

The president doesn’t seem to have the Heisman pose quite down in 2009 and its only gets worse; here he is in April of 2012 with the Air Force team.

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Heisman Weekend Wrap Up

What a week can do.

Last Monday we were debating how close the margin was between Johnny Manziel and Heisman front runner Collin Klein. This week we are doing the same thing, only the roles have reversed.

For the last month on HeismanPundit the line has been “barring a late season collapse” for Collin Klein. The collapse has happened and freshman Johnny Football has been the surprise benefactor. Manziel definitely deserves the current distinction as Heisman frontrunner but his quest to make history comes clear out of the blue for most pundits.

As we all know, a freshman has never won the Heisman. Manziel’s bid to become the first has fallen into place due in equal parts to his exemplary performance as well as the poor performances by the Heisman contenders ahead of him. This was Heisman race was not Manziel’s to lose for the first 11 weeks of the season. Up until this week Manziel did not control his own destiny. Until now.

The Heisman hype is now on the shoulders of the redshirt freshman with just four quarters in the regular season remaining. Manziel and Texas A&M will face a rudderless Missouri team this weekend to finish out the regular season. Manziel is sure to put up a strong performance.

Interestingly enough the Heisman race could be set this upcoming Saturday if Manziel shoots the lights out right from the get go. Klein, who is off this week, faces Texas on December 1st while Kenjon Barner could play in the Pac 12 championship game if Stanford loses to UCLA. Long shot Aaron Murray of Georgia has a rivalry game against Georgia Tech and the SEC championship game to prove that he at least deserves an invite. Outside of those three, Manziel, Manti Te’o and Braxton Miller will have finished their regular seasons (and Miller’s season period).

So with two weeks left, who is going to make the trip to New York City? For starters HP and I. We’ll be in town the whole week covering the lead up to the Heisman and we’ll be appearing in print, on radio, and on TV all over the place so be sure to look out for us. As far as the finalists go I think it will be a four man race with Manziel, Klein, Te’o and Miller making the trip.

On Friday, Ill be writing about the possibility of one more Saturday shake-up and if Klein has one more chance to win the Heisman.

Quick Hits

–If Johnny Manziel wins the Heisman he will have the opportunity to break a second Heismandment, that there will never be another two time Heisman winner.

–We know that only two undefeated teams remain, Ohio State and Notre Dame. More surprising is that only one team remains defeated, Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles went 12-2 last year, won their conference championship against an undefeated Houston team and beat Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl. They need to beat Memphis next week to stave of a defeated season.


Matt Barkley leads the nation in touchdowns with 36; this speaks to his Heisman acumen. He has also thrown 15 interceptions good for second most in the nation and his team is just 7-4. This does not speak to his Heisman acumen.

–The Pac 12 has a quarterback protection problem. California, Colorado and UCLA are the top three sack allowing schools. Washington and Washington State are tied for eighth.

–Maryland is leaving the ACC for the Big 10. This excites exactly no one.

Colby Cameron of La Tech threw two interceptions last week breaking his season long interceptionless streak.

–This (is just flat embarrassing) 


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Picking This Week’s Games

As the season goes on HP and I are beginning to get the hang of the spreads. Last week I went 7-2-1 to bring my season total six games over .500 at 54-48-1. HP had another huge week going 7-3 and 15-5 the last two weeks to bring his season tally to 58-51-1. To the picks.

Mine first:

Florida State (-31) at Maryland

Mississippi State (-6) vs Arkansas

Washington (-20.5) at Colorado

USC (-3) at UCLA

Miami (-6.5) vs USF

ASU (-22) vs Washington State

Notre Dame vs Wake Forest (under 42.5)

Texas Tech (+10) at Oklahoma State

Ohio State (+2.5) at Wisconsin

LSU (-18.5) at Ole Miss

Now HP:

FSU (-31) at Maryland

Northwestern (+7) at Michigan State

Penn State (-17) vs. Indiana

Oklahoma (-12) at West Virginia

USC vs. UCLA (OVER 65)

Kansas State (-13) at Baylor

Stanford (+21) at Oregon

California (+14.5) at Oregon State

Washington (-21) at Colorado

Wisconsin (-2) vs. Ohio State

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Heisman Links Roundup

Heisman Watch: Optimus Klein vs. Johnny Football

Baylor QB Florence Has Comparable Numbers to RG3

Stanford vs. Oregon: How Cardinal Will Kill Kenjon Barner’s Heisman Hopes

NIU sends statement to Top 25, Heisman voters

Aggies officially hyping Manziel for Heisman

USC Football: Heisman Candidate Marqise Lee Carrying Trojans To The Finish

Mariota joins the Heisman race

Texas A&M hushes the Heisman hype

Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o isn’t done writing legacy

Johnny Football has Aggies riding high in SEC

Texas A&M Hushes the Heisman Hype Over Manziel

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Heisman Weekend Preview

With the emergence of Johnny Manziel on the Heisman scene these last couple weeks, a battle over statistics has begun to rage. In the Manziel camp the loudest supporters are touting his superior stats (as JUST a freshman!) for why he should be the Heisman frontrunner. In the Klein camp, the words like leader, toughness, and MVP are being thrown around to make voters look first at the man and then the statistics. Both groups are actually selling themselves short. Heres why:

For Johnny Football, yes, his raw stats are better than Collin Klein’s, but only marginally. Manziel has accounted for 3,794 total yards to Klein’s 2,578, the largest disparate statistic between the two. Manziel has 33 total touchdowns to Klein’s 31. Klein actually has a better completion percentage 69.7% to Manziel’s 67.6% and a significantly better passer rating, 167.65 to 151.7. Klein has also only thrown three interceptions this year to Manziel’s six.

Outside of the total yardage, Manziel’s statistics do nothing to prove that he deserves the Heisman more than Klein. In actuality statistics matter less if you win games and Klein has won all of his this year while Manziel and Texas A&M have lost two of their first 10. Plus, their yards per play is basically equal at 7.7 yards per play. Manziel has run 130 more plays than Klein and that explains why his yardage total is higher.

What HeisManziel fans should be touting is his narrative instead. Texas A&M was supposed to struggle its first year in the SEC, but has been rescued by a freshman phenom who broke SEC passing records, became the best offensive player in the league and knocked off the No. 1 team in the country who oh-by-the-way was the defending national champion. That is what will carry Johnny Football (and maybe a little bit of the nickname), not similar statistics to players on national championship contending teams.

Lastly for Manziel, let him get in front of a microphone. His story this year is too good to not hear it from the creator. Unless the kid has a mouthful of marbles, his soundbites are going to be gold. If he’s articulate and charming he could swing the race. College football fans love a great story and that could be Manziel’s calling card.

For Klein the character stuff is all well and good but his marketing team needs to lean on his stats a bit more. It’s a fact in this race that no one yet has outlandish stats that are going to completely separate them from the rest of the pack. For Klein this is an advantage because while his raw numbers are on par with the field, certain Klein statistics portray an anomaly that tells the story of the (potentially) best player in college football.

The first number Kansas State needs to point to is zero, the number of losses Klein has suffered this year. Assuming the Wildcats win out, the zero will be the most important number of all. Kansas State isn’t supposed to be playing for a national championship this year, at least not according to the preseason pundits. It took an exemplary player with a unique skill set to turn a 7-6 team two years ago into a national contender this year.

The next two statistics that Klein’s camp should be leaning on are his passer efficiency ratings and the number of rushing touchdowns. Klein is second in the nation in rushing touchdowns and currently eighth in passer efficiency. To be so high in both categories indicates that Klein is both one of the elite passers and runners in the country.

Klein looks like a linebacker, but he isn’t a physical specimen like Cam Newton and he doesn’t have Sam Bradford’s prototypical arm. Even without his physical prowess he is about to become the first player in FBS history to have 20 rushing and 10 passing touchdowns in multiple seasons. Sound like an anomaly to me.

Games to Watch

The Pac 12 has the two most exciting games this week as USC heads to UCLA in the rivalry that has taken a bitter turn this year and Stanford travels to Oregon.

In the Big 12 Kansas State plays Baylor in what is sure to be a shootout and Texas Tech plays Oklahoma State in a battle of ranked opponents.

In the SEC this is the schedule (also known as games not to watch):

Alabama vs Western Carolina

Florida vs Jacksonville State

South Carolina vs Wofford

Georgia vs Georgia Southern

Auburn vs Alabama A&M

Texas A&M  vs Sam Houston State (great way to follow up your Heisman contender’s break out game)

Kentucky vs Samford

Stay classy SEC.


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Heisman History: Terry Baker

I was looking back on 1962 Heisman winner Terry Baker of Oregon State this morning when I stumbled upon a Sports Illustrated article published in 1961. Here is the opening paragraph:

In an era of specialization, when few college undergraduates have time or energy to devote themselves to more than one campus activity, Terry Baker, a gaunt 20-year-old who plays quarterback for Oregon State University is that rare thing—the all-round man. Last year Baker, as a sophomore, was selected by both the Associated Pressand UPI as a first-team All-Coast back after setting an Oregon State total offense record of 1,473 yards. He is one of the best basketball players in the college, having averaged 17.8 points a game during his freshman year. Moreover, before he reached college. Baker pitched the Jefferson High School baseball team of Portland to the state championship. He is majoring in mechanical engineering, one of the toughest courses at Oregon State, and he has a scholastic average just under Phi Beta Kappa level. Although only in his junior year, Baker is the president of his Phi Delta Theta fraternity, an honor always previously reserved for seniors. In recent years probably only Army’s Pete Dawkins, whom Baker resembles, was a finer athlete, scholar and leader.

Baker, as the cover story in SI

The article is a fascinating look into the life of an early 1960’s dual sport student athlete (emphasis on student) that would go on to win the Heisman, play in the NCAA Final Four and be drafted as the first overall selection in the 1963 NFL draft (all three events took place within five months).

Baker on the 1962-63 Oregon State Basketball Team

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This Day in Heisman History

Twenty five years ago today on November 14th, 1987 eventual Heisman winner Tim Brown led the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to a 37-6 victory over Alabama in South Bend. The Irish out gained Alabama 465 yards to 185 thanks in large part to Brown’s efforts. Brown had 225 all purpose yards catching, returning and even rushing the ball.

Here’s a clip of an Alabama kick off return from that game that doesn’t end well for the returner:

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