Johnny Manziel had his “Doug Flutie” moment last season when he shredded the Alabama defense like it was tender venison.
The then-redshirt freshman for the Texas A&M Aggies needed the win and the national spotlight to further his chances of winning a Heisman Trophy.
Manziel was not the most accurate passer or player in college football early on in his start with the Aggies last season, as he looked lost at times against Florida to start the 2012 college football season.
By the end of the season, everyone had bought into the hype and the fact there were not a lot of solid offensive contenders for the coveted trophy helped Manziel capture history in December.
This season, a case can be made for at least seven offensive players having a shot at the Heisman. All of them, including Manziel, are quarterbacks. All of them have gaudy numbers, eye-popping moves and arms that if they were Howitzers, could be taken to war against any nation.
And then there is the case of Jameis Winston, the red-shirt gun slinger from Florida State who has some of the best numbers in the game, plays on one of the best offenses in college football, looks more accurate than a weatherman in the tropics, and probably won’t have a sniff of the trophy until next season.
Truth be told, Manziel’s stats this season, the fact he is in the race and the fact he all but embarrassed the Heisman Committee for making him the first freshman to ever win the award, may hurt Winston without the two ever playing each other.
This weekend, Winston and the Seminoles (the second best team in college football next to Oregon in my opinion) saddle up the horses and travel to Clemson for a matchup of No. 3 vs. No. 5 in college football. It also “Famous Jameis” against fellow Heisman hopeful, Tajh Boyd, who is just as good as the Manziels and Winstons and Marcus Mariotas of the world, but does not get the fanfare or attention of other candidates.
Not only is Winston creating a buzz on the national scene with his arm and feet and “shy” demeanor, he is creating a buzz on campus I have not seen since I was in class with Charlie Ward 20 years ago.
Yes, I am that old.
The Seminoles as a whole are creating a buzz we have not seen in “God’s Country” since Bobby Bowden was perched in his tower during practices during the week.
As a fan and writer, it is exciting to be in the middle of a national title race and to have a player in contention for the Heisman for the first time since Chris Weinke in 2000.
Since this is “The Game” of the year so far in college football and the ACC, this is also Winston’s spot to shine. Clemson is much better than Nevada or Boston College and has a lot more riding on its shoulders than just a loss and a selection to the Gator Bowl. The winner of this game sits in the driver’s seat for the national title berth should Oregon or Alabama falter - which could really happen.
And if by some act from above and FSU walks into Clemson and wins on Saturday, the talk will ramp up again - can he win a Heisman and a national title for the school. Let’s hope so, but let's also hope Manziel isn’t tearing up the scoreboard at the same time.