Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/5/12
It really was no surprise that Notre Dame football’s star senior linebacker Manti Te’o was named as a Heisman finalist. After all, he’s been the most dynamic player on arguably the best defense in college football all season. For 2012, Te’o has racked up quite a resume. Notre Dame is 12-0 and going to the BCS National Game for the first time in the BCS era. He’s had signature wins against big programs – Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Stanford, and USC. The first four were ranked when the Irish faced them; USC was the pre-season #1 team but had stumbled to a 7-4 record and was unranked when they played Notre Dame. Individually, Teo’s numbers are rather eye popping for a college linebacker. 101 total tackles, 4 passes defended, 1.5 sacks, and 7 interceptions (the first 7 of his career). He showed up huge in the games against Stanford (helping make that controversial goal line stand to win the game in OT), posted 12 tackles against Michigan State, 8 tackles and 2 interceptions against Michigan, and 11 tackles and game-ending interception against Oklahoma. There is no doubt Te’o is the best defensive player in college football. He should win a litany of awards: Names like Nagurski, Butkus, Bednarik, and Lott could all be tied to the young man from Hawaii once college football award season is done. However, one name not attached to Te’o is the one that matters the most: Heisman. Now, don’t misunderstand me. If I were a Heisman voter (obviously I am not) I would put Te’o at the top of my ballot and not give it a second thought. But the voters (and the public) aren’t awed by defensive stats like they are others. The single biggest hurdle for Te’o’s “Mant-eisman” campaign is the position he plays. To put it another way – he’s not a quarterback. I whole heartedly agree with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly’s assessment that if Te’o doesn’t win the Heisman, they should just make it an offensive award and be done with the pretense. In my honest opinion, Te’o is unquestionably the best player in college football this year. But I know that the people who make that decision – that’s up to the press and the former Heisman winners. Ok, and one vote for the public, to make us feel like our opinion actually matters – won’t put a linebacker ahead of a quarterback for the trophy. Here’s how I expect the vote to go: 1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M 2. Te’o 3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State The reason that Manziel will win the Heisman over Te’o are numerous, and in all fairness, valid. He’s scored 43 total touchdowns, thrown for 3,419 yards, and rushed for another 1,181. He’s notched wins over (at the time) #23 Louisiana Tech, #15 Mississippi State, and most impressive of all #1 Alabama. His only losses were against LSU (now #8 in the BCS rankings) and LSU (#3). His team’s opponents have a combined record of 88-56 (.611). And he plays in the SEC. Even with Johnny Football being a redshirt freshman, those are numbers that won’t be overlooked by the voters. And maybe they shouldn’t be. Klein is another story, though. There is no reason why he should finish ahead of Te’o in the voting. His numbers pale in comparison to Manziel’s, and they came against a much weaker slate of opponents (total W/L record is 74-69, or .517). If he does finish ahead of Te’o, there needs to be a total re-work of the award. With all that being said, though, I maintain that Te’o should – but won’t – win the Heisman. He’s the best player on the best team in the nation, and is a transcendent defensive talent the likes of which we will never see again. The way I see, Te’o would need some major “luck o’ the Irish” to pull off the upset. But I’m fairly certain that if it came down to it, he’d rather save that luck for winning the national championship. Follow me on Twitter @expertfan1  

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Blake Griffin: I could see LeBron going to NYC before LA

Ric Flair's daughter says WWE legend 'getting better'

NBA confirms Lakers under investigation for tampering

Report: Le'Veon Bell may return to Steelers by Labor Day

Report: Savage 'firmly in control' of Texans' starting QB job

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jaguars send message with latest unofficial depth chart?

Hackenberg gets Wikipedia treatment after brutal sack

Broncos would be crazy to start Lynch over Siemian

Carr explains placing hand on Khalil Mack during anthem

Kinsler unapologetic over umpire protest: 'I don't care'

Ferry explains letting Duke unretire his jersey for Bagley

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

Best of Yardbarker: NFL goes in on Ezekiel Elliott, NFLPA

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

Box Score 8/18: Reds and Cubs claw through a 23-run game

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

Box Score 8/17: Interleague games bring the fireworks

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

The top 20 left-handed pitchers of all-time

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Charles Oakley slams the phone — and his opponents — down

The '27 up, 27 down' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker