College football games of the week: Heisman predictions and a look back at theseason
Last weekend is how every college football weekend should be. There were overtimes, last-second scores, more overtimes and inexplicable plays to end games. The only down side was the Longhorn's loss. But aside from that, it was a terrific weekend of football. With the end of the season here, the coaching carousel is in full swing with the predictable firings and hirings.
Not a good weekend for Louisiana Tech: head coach Sonny Dykes is rumored to be atop Cal’s wish list and the 9-3 Bulldogs missed out on a bowl game for no reason whatsoever, and now alumnus Karl Malone wants some answers... I’m glad he’s not looking for me.
The only game this week is the Army/Navy game, and that is officially the end of the regular season for college football. With only one game, let’s talk about the Heisman Trophy. Three guys have been invited to New York for the ceremony. Let’s take a look who they are and who will probably win it.
Heisman Trophy Predictions
Collin Klein, Quarterback, Kansas State: 3rd
Stats: 890 yards rushing, 22 touchdowns; 2,490 yards passing, 15 touchdowns, 7 interceptions; 66.2 percent completion rate
Why he’s here:
- 11 straight games with a rushing toucdown (23 straight against I-A opponents; hasn’t happened in nine years)
- 69% of K-State’s total yards (RGIII: 66 percent last year)
- 66% of K-State’s td’s (RGIII: 61percent last year)
It’s really interesting that three weeks ago Klein was far and away the leader for the trophy and now he’s all but fallen off the map. That’s what happens when you get blown out by Baylor and play terribly on national TV, I guess. Klein had a chance to respond against Texas, but the Longhorns completely shut him down in the first half. He responded well in the second half and led his team to an easy win (jerk), but a lot of the East Coast voters probably tuned out at halftime with the game being so late. The bottom line is after the Baylor loss (their last National TV game) Optimus Klein needed a monster game against Texas to get back in and he just didn’t have it.
Manti Te’o, Linebacker, Notre Dame: 2nd
Stats: 103 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 12 qp pressures, 7 interceptions, 27 passes defended/broken up
Why he’s here:
- 7 interceptions ties him for second most in the nation, 3 more than any other linebacker
- 9 takeaways this season ties him for most in the nation
- With 2 missed tackles this season, he is the leading tackler on the best scoring defense in the nation
Everyone knows Mani Teo’s story: he lost his grandmother and his girlfriend within one day of each other and was very open about his feelings. It happened the week of the Michigan State game, who was No. 10 at the time, and Te’o not only played, but had 12 tackles, two passes defended and led his team to 20-3 in East Lansing. Te’o is an NFL All-Pro with his size, speed and motor and he’s the best player on the best unit of the best team in the nation. He’s the sentimental favorite and even when his team struggled against Pitt, he still had a good game. Te’o has done everything a linebacker can do, and then some, to be Heisman finalist. But I think the nation is in love with another. He’s a defensive player and that’s just not sexy enough for most voters unless that defensive players returns kicks and occasionally plays wide out like Charles Woodson did in 1997. I could be wrong, but I think he’s just not sensational enough for most voters.
Johnny Manziel, Quarterback, Texas A&M: 1st
Stats: 1,181 yards rushing, 19 touchdowns; 3,419 yards passing, 24 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 68.3 percent completion rate
Why he’s here:
- 4,600 yards from scrimmage single-season SEC record set by Cam Newton
- 43 total touchdowns is tied for the most in the nation
- 70 plays of more than 20 yards, 10 more than the next closest player in Division I-A
He’s Johnny Football. He beat Alabama. He’s very good and he plays in a wide-open offense and scoring points is what the Heisman is all about. The voters obviously don’t have my bias against the little Aggies and they are eating up the nickname, the upset over Bama and the fact he is the face of the new team doing well in the best conference in the country. He is certainly deserving… but so was Adrian Peterson in 2004. He lost it to Matt Leinhart, a hot shot quarterback on the best team in the country. This year the best player on the best team in the country is a linebacker — not quite the slam dunk it was for voters. Still, I think he’s done enough nationally for the majority of voters to pencil him as the winner.
I can’t believe I just wrote that. History will be made one way or the other: If Manziel wins, he’s the first freshman to ever win the Heisman. If Te’o wins, he’s the first linebacker to ever win the Heisman, if Klein wins he would be the first K-State player to ever win the Heisman and it would be the first time the Big 12 had back-to-back winners. Anything could happen, but I’m betting Johnny Football takes it home and Texas fans will never hear the end of it.
Looking at these games now, I totally picked the wrong games of the week. Still, let’s review.
PAC-12 Championship Game: No. 16 UCLA Bruins at No. 8 Stanford Cardinal
Why it was included: Rings on the line
Prediction: Cardinal 27, Bruins 24. It’s hard to beat someone twice. Bruins will bring it this week, but lose.
Reality: Cardinal 27, Bruins 24. It’s hard to beat someone twice, Bruins brought it last week, but lost.
Wow! Even got the score right! Congrats to the Stanford Cardinal, who came out the shadow of Oregon to not only beat the Ducks on their own field, but beat UCLA twice in six days to win the Pac-12 Title. My arm is sore from patting myself on the back.
Big Ten Championship Game: No. 12 Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Why is was included: Rings
Prediction: Big Red 28, Jump Around 21. Blackshirts and Martinez too much for Whiskey, but watching Pelini explode would be fun.
Reality: Jump Around 70, Big red 31.Blackshirts and Martinez were non-existent, watching Pelini melt down was fun.
I thought Wisconsin was done after dropping their last two, and it was clear the Huskers had their names already penciled in as Big Ten champs… That’s the good thing about pencils, they can be erased. The Badgers were excited and it showed, scoring on the fourth play of the game and picking off Taylor Martinez on Nebraska’s first play and returning it for a touchdown. The Huskers fought back and cut it to 14-10, but Whiskey answered by scoring on four of their next five drives (they missed a field goal on the other) and went to half up 42-10. Any thoughts of an historic second-half comeback were squashed when Wisconsin picked off Martinez on the opening drive and punched it in for a 49-20 lead. Wisconsin rushed for 539 yards and won their 3rd straight Big Ten Title… And lost their coach to Arkansas. Congrats, Wisconsin. Jump around!
ACC Championship Game: No. 13 Florida State Seminoles vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Why is was included: Again, rings on the line.
Prediction: Osceola 38, Wreck 17. FSU blows out the smart kids, who are only there due Miami/UNC bowl bans.
Reality: Osceola 21, Wreck 15. The smart kids took exception to my thoughts and showed I am wrong and they are smart.
The Noles were far from sharp offensively but the Florida State defense is terrific and they were more than enough to shut down the 6-6 Yellow Jackets in the most boring game of the championship day. FSU jumped out to a 21-6 halftime lead and held on as Tech scored a touchdown with 6:27 to play to cut it to 21-15. Trying to run out the clock after that score, Florida State inexplicably passed the ball with 2:23 left on a 3rd and 10 from the Georgia Tech 48 and was intercepted at the 15. But the FSU defense turned up the heat and picked off the Jackets at midfield and ran out the clock and won the ACC Title. Congrats, Noles. Now you get… Northern Illinois?
SEC Championship Game: No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Why it was included: Rings, a National Title berth.
Prediction: Tide 30, Dawgs 30. Too much Saban, too much defense for a talented UGA to overcome.
Reality: Tide 32, Dawgs 28. What the hell was that last play?
It was the best game of the day. Big hits, big plays, big answers from each side after big plays, but I have no idea what Georgia was doing on the final play. Trailing by four and taking over at their own 15-yard line after forcing a Bama punt, Georgia to the Tide 8-yard line after 26-yard pass to Arthur Lynch. With no timeouts left, UGA needed to spike the ball, which would have given them about eight seconds to score… but instead they ran a play. Aaron Murray’s pass to the flat (that should never been thrown) was tipped and caught at the five (why isn’t dropped I don’t know) and with five seconds left, Georgia had no time to line up and run a play. It was over. But it didn’t have to be. If I was a Georgia fan, I’d be devastated. A spike gives you at least two shots at the end zone… But I like what Mark Richt did after the game. Congrats Bama, you are back in it.
Worst Game of the Week
South Alabama Jaguars at Hawaii Rainbows
Why it was included: The last game of the last weekend of college football.
Hawaii won, 23-7, ending the year (aside from Army/Navy this week) of college football. Boo!
That’s it for this week. See you next week with some bowl stuff!
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