The quest for the Heisman Trophy is officially a two-man race.
I had hoped AJ McCarron would do something magical Saturday night, have a Heisman moment and jump into the picture for the trophy, but that did not happen. All McCarron did was lead a very good Alabama program over a mismatched LSU team that hung around for 35 minutes in the game Saturday night, then saw the wheels come off the train.
If ever there was a time when everyone in the college world was watching and hoping for McCarron to take a step forward, it was then. But in true form and fashion, he wasn’t flashy, not dynamic – just a winner. That is exactly what Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide teammates needed him to be.
National titles at the school are more significant than personal awards.
With the games for the week complete and a little more separation between the top five teams in college football (yes, I am including Stanford), the quest for the Heisman also becomes a bit clearer.
Since Marcus Mariota of Oregon shot himself in the foot in Thursday night and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville and Tajh Boyd of Clemson have never recovered from huge losses, the trophy is in the hands of both Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Jameis Winston of FSU. I give Winston the edge because of record and who the Seminoles have beaten. Texas A&M seems like it has to beat teams by scoring 40 points because of a porous defense. That is not a way to take home the hardware, especially with a team that could have three losses on the season, with LSU looming in the final game of the season.
In a season where so much emphasis was placed on someone like Jadeveon Clowney and making a statement for the defensive player and the off field issues with Manziel at the beginning of the season, it remains a two-horse race with both players equally deserving of the award. The fact is Manziel picked up where he left off and got better this season, even with injuries affecting him.
Winston came into the 2013 college football season with as much hype as some guy named Ron Powlus and the infamous prediction by Beano Cook of four consecutive Heismans.
In my mind – despite an odd 59-3 win over Wake Forest, Winston has lived up to all that hype.
Do the voters take into consideration everything Manziel has done this season, and what occurred prior to the start of college football, or do they say Winston did everything he was expected and brought a BCS title game back to Tallahassee?
Players like Bryce Petty of Baylor and Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois won’t even get a sniff – although they are worthy and Zach Mettenberger all but blew a golden opportunity to sneak into discussion if LSU had won Saturday night.
So, the award comes down to two players, both deserving with some work still to do. While I am a huge Winston fan, I would not be surprised if Manziel wins it again. But if the trophy is again based on the best player in the country, playing on the best team, the choice should be obvious.