Johnny Manziel’s a better quarterback this year than he was last year when he won the Heisman trophy.
And the stats prove it.
The only reason Manziel isn’t a prohibitive favorite right now is because Texas A&M’s defense sucks. But why is that Manziel’s fault? The Aggies have lost two games this year against Alabama and Auburn. In both of those games, the Aggie offense scored more than 40 points.
Manziel’s performance against Alabama was the single greatest performance ever allowed by any Alabama team. Ever. Alabama gave up 42 points to Manziel. The Tide have given up just 53 points combined to the other eight teams its played.
Against Auburn, Manziel was virtually unstoppable except for when he left the game with a shoulder injury. If he doesn’t get hurt, the Aggies win that game as well.
His Aggies still posted 41 points.
Can you really hold it against Manziel that his team lost to two teams that are a combined 18-1 on the season?
Right now we’ve got a two-way Heisman race between Manziel and Jameis Winston.
And I ask you this question: Do you really think Florida State would have lost a game if Manziel was their quarterback instead of Winston?
By the end of the regular season Florida State will play only one top 25 BCS team all season (Clemson).
By the end of the season, Texas A&M will definitely play four, and potentially five, top 25 teams (Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Missouri and, if it finishes in the top 25, Ole Miss).
Manziel will play three top 10 teams this year. If Clemson loses to South Carolina, which I expect to happen, FSU won’t have played a single top 10 team all season at year’s end.
So Manziel has played much tougher competition and put up much better stats against that tougher competition.
What if you switched Texas A&M and FSU’s defense. You think Manziel isn’t undefeated right now with FSU’s defense?
Let me ask this a final way: If all of your money was riding on the outcome of a game, would you take Winston or Manziel as quarterback of completely even teams? That is, what if you could set up a game where everything else was equal except the quarterbacks?
We’d all take Manziel, right? Manziel wins that game because he can make more plays, and he’s a better quarterback this year.
Put simply, Manziel’s better.
So how in the world is Winston the "leading Heisman candidate," according to many national prognosticators right now?
It’s simple: College football voters like bright and shiny new stories more than talent and production.
Winston’s the brand new toy under the college football Christmas tree right now. His story’s the one that hasn’t been told before.
The Hypesman is in full effect when it comes to Jameis Winston. But let’s go to the actual numbers.
After a bye this week, Manziel has two national telecasts left on CBS against top 25 BCS teams — at LSU and at Missouri.
Winston still has three games left — Syracuse, Idaho and at Florida. Plus an ACC title game. The Seminoles will be favored by three touchdowns against everyone but Florida. (And it’s possible they should be favored by three touchdowns over Florida as well). None of these teams will be ranked in the top 25.
Through 10 games, here are Manziel’s stats as compared with the rest of the nation’s top quarterbacks — Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Bryce Pettyand AJ McCarron (research via TexAgs.com).
1. Manziel (3,924)
2. Mariota (3,026)
3. Winston (2,818)
4. Petty (2,775)
5. AJ (2,019)
Total yards per game
1. Manziel (392.4)
2. Petty (346.9)
3. Mariota (336.2)
4. Winston (313.1)
5. AJ (224.3)
Total passing yards
1. Manziel (3,313)
2. Winston (2,661)
3. Petty (2,657)
4. Mariota (2,531)
5. AJ (2,041)
Passing yards per game
1. Petty (332.1)
2. Manziel (331.3)
3. Winston (295.7)
4. Mariota (281)
5. AJ (226.7)
Total rushing yards
1. Manziel (611)
2. Mariota (495)
3. Winston (157)
4. Petty (118)
5. AJ (-22)
Rushing yards per game
1. Manziel (61)
2. Mariota (55)
3. Winston (17)
4. Petty (15)
5. AJ (negative 2)
1. Manziel (39)
2. Mariota (31)
3. Winston (29)
3. Petty (29)
5. AJ (19)
As compared to his Heisman trophy-winning season in 2012, Manziel will throw for more yards, more touchdowns, and more yards per attempt, will finish with a higher completion percentage, is on track to have a higher quarterback rating, will be sacked less, and may well end up with the same number of victories and defeats.
So Manziel will be better than he was in 2012 and no one else will be as good as him in 2013.
When you look at all these stats, how in the world can anyone but Johnny Manziel win the Heisman?