Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, December 7, 2012 at 7:41 PM
Sure, we've seen the "latest odds" on who's gonna win this 2012 Heisman Trophy - at last glance a New York Daily News odds line had Texas A&M redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel listed as an overwhelming 1-to-5 favorite (meaning you lay $500 to win $100 if you think Manziel will cop the bronzed statue) - but us folks here at Jim Sez just don't see it that way.
In fact, our advice to you is to chuck those odds right out the window and look for the player who truly deserves to win this year's Heisman Trophy to, in fact, snag the award.
Say congrats to Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
Maybe the hard-hitting senior is considered a major long shot right now at somewhere between 3-1 and 5-1 but the true gut feeling is Te'o - who on Thursday night grabbed the Lombardi, Butkus and Maxwell Awards at the annual College Football Awards Show on ESPN (among six awards he won) - will be the Heisman winner come, ohh, somewhere around 8:55 p.m. ET on Saturday night.
Here's how we see it while putting a final wrap on our Heisman Trophy Watch List:
The winner ...
MANTI TE'O, LB, NOTRE DAME - Let's start with the fact that he is the face, heart and soul of this 12-and-oh Irish team that's headed for a showdown with Alabama in next month's BCS Championship Game and he's been a central character on a couple of stirring goal-line stands this year against Stanford and USC, respectively. Than chuck into the mix the fact Te'o stats ain't half-bad with 103 total tackles and a whopping 7 interceptions (talk about a defender being in the right place at the right time all the time!) and this 6-foot-2, 255-pounder who endured his fair share of off-the-field personal tragedies should put an exclamation point on a brilliant football season here with this hardware snare.
The top runnerup is ...
JOHNNY MANZIEL, QB, TEXAS A&M - There is no denying the fact that "Johnny Football" made an indelible mark on this 2012 college football season with his 3,419 passing yards and 24 aerial TDs to go along with 1,181 yards rushing and another 19 TDs plus that shocking upset win at Alabama last month really created the legend but the flip side is his Aggie team did lose to both Florida and LSU and Manziel's team didn't so much as score 20 points in either of those setbacks. The whirling dervish easily wins the award as the sport's most exciting player this year - just not the best one!
And third place goes to ...
COLLIN KLEIN, QB, KANSAS STATE - It sure looked for awhile there that this 6-foot-5 senior was gonna play for a national championship and win the ultra-coveted Heisman Trophy all in this same 2012 season but those hopes all went up in a puff of smoke in that ugly 52-24 loss at Baylor on November 17th and so the do-it-all star of the Wildcats settles for "door prizes" instead on a year in which he threw for 2,490 yards with 15 TDs and 7 INTs to go along with 890 rushing yards and an amazing 22 TDs.
NFL WEEK 14 NOTES
The Denver Broncos have drawn "first blood" here in NFL Week 14 action - okay, so QB Peyton Manning and mates were not exactly overly efficient in the red zone in Thursday Night's 26-13 win/cover at 10-point underdog Oakland but mission accomplished for the AFC West champs who go to 10-3 on the year and thus put that immediate pressure on the likes of Houston (11-1), New England (9-3) and Baltimore (9-3) - all of whom are leading their divisions these days but also hoping to claim a first-weekend playoff bye.
We'll have lots to say about the uber-important Monday Night Football game between the Texans at the Patriots in our Monday edition of Jim Sez but let's spend a few moments here on the Ravens:
BALTIMORE (9-3) at WASHINGTON (6-6) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The Ravens could be in party heaven at the end of this December day with a win and losses by Cincinnati and Pittsburgh - that would give Baltimore the AFC North crown - but no doubt they must come up with answers for read-option QB Robert Griffin III here one week after allowing 138 yards in the final quarter of that 23-20 home loss versus the archrival Steelers.
Did that one take a lot of juice from Baltimore's engine? We'll see.
One major key is stepping up production in the ground ... isn't it a bit much to fathom that a RB Ray Rice-led attack currently ranks a lowly 22nd in the NFL in rushing offense (just 102.4 yards per game) and now they challenge a Redskins defense ranks fourth in the league in rush defense (91.5 ypg).
Spread Notes - The Ravens are 5-6-1 against the odds this year but note Baltimore's a solid 11-7 spreadwise when playing NFC opponents under fifth-year head coach John Harbaugh. The 'Skins, meanwhile, ride into this neighborhood showdown on a three-game spread winning streak and you have to go back to the 2009 season to find the last time Washington covered four-or-more games in succession (see five-game spread winning streak under than-boss Jim Zorn).