Thursday, December 6, 2012

Why Johnny Manziel does not deserve the Heisman

Almost everyone and their brother considers Johnny Manziel the front runner to win the Heisman at this point, but not so fast. Despite Manziel's magical season at Texas A&M, I don't think Johnny Football is as deserving of the Heisman as everyone thinks. All I keep hearing about is how Manziel plays in the toughest conference in the FBS, but let's delve deeper into Manziel's statistics.

Johnny Football has 24 passing touchdowns and 19 rushing touchdowns in 2012. Of those 43 total touchdowns, 22 of them (51.2%) came against non-conference opponents. Texas A&M outscored their four non-conference opponents 224-102 (30.5 points per game) which suggests Manziel inflated his numbers as the Aggies destroyed their weaker opponents. Why is Johnny Football being praised for playing in a tough conference like the SEC when half of his touchdowns came against non-conference opponents?

In addition, Manziel is averaging 120.75 rush yards per game against non-conference opponents as opposed to 87.25 rush yards per game against Southeastern Conference opponents. Granted this makes complete sense considering SEC defenses are better, but it illustrates how Manziel was significantly more effective running the football against weaker opponents, and thus should not be getting as much credit for dicing up SEC defenses on the ground. 

Now let's discuss Manziel's in-conference play. Despite playing some of the nation's toughest opponents in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana State, Manziel posted a 1-2 record and scored only three total touchdowns in those three games. While these are arguably three of the best defenses in the FBS, Manziel put up only 18.7% of his total yards and 7.0% of his total touchdowns in the three biggest games on the schedule. (Manziel accumulated 11.8% of his total yards and 11.6% of his total touchdowns in the Arkansas game alone.)

I'd also like to point out that nine of Manziel's 21 SEC touchdowns came against two horrible defenses in Arkansas and Auburn. These two teams combined to give up 91 total touchdowns on defense during the season while posting an aggregate record of 7-17 (2-14 in-conference).

Additionally, nobody seems to be talking about how Manziel threw three interceptions and completed 51.8% of his passes in a home loss to Louisiana State that ultimately eliminated the Aggies from BCS Bowl contention. Johnny Football rushed for a season-low 27 yards and averaged 1.6 yards per carry, while accounting for zero touchdowns on October 20 in a crucial showdown against the Tigers.

I didn't write this article because I wanted to discredit Manziel or promote Collin Klein and Manti Te'o. I wrote this because I want to encourage the general public to dig deeper into the statistics and form an opinion for themselves instead of turning on ESPN and buying into everything they say. ESPN has essentially been touting Manziel as a lock to win the Heisman ever since Kansas State lost to Baylor, which is complete nonsense in my opinion. Although Manziel will almost certainly win the 2012 Heisman Trophy, his numbers aren't as impressive as they look on the surface and you shouldn't believe everything you hear from mainstream media outlets.


  1. You fail to mention that Johnny sat out most of the second half in 6 games. He could have easily had over 5,000 yards. In the LSU game, 2 of the 3 INTs were the receivers' fault--one was a perfect pass that should have been a TD but bounced off Evan's gut and the other receiver ran the wrong route. Johnny deserves the Heisman.

  2. While Manziel did sit out for a portion of the second half in various games, I wouldn't go as far to say "most of the second half in 6 games" though.

    In the SMU game, Manziel played in the first three quarters, so that wouldn't count. Against Mississippi State, Johnny Football played in three and a half quarters and thus did not sit for the majority of the second half. Manziel played the entire third quarter against Arkansas and scored a rushing TD towards the beginning of the fourth quarter, so we can throw that game out. Johnny Football was behind center for the opening drive of the fourth quarter against Missouri, so that doesn't count. If you actually look at the data the only games Manziel sat out for the majority of the second half were against Auburn, Sam Houston State and South Carolina State.