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  
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero

Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: LeSean McCoy assaulted off duty Philly police officers

John Elway was right, the Broncos didn’t need a Plan B

Canadiens and Sharks starting to gauge trade market

Danny Trevathan: Broncos defense better than ’85 Bears

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

Patriots, Panthers early Super Bowl 51 favorites

Von Miller trolls Cam Newton, Panthers

Cam Newton proves again he is a great winner and terrible loser

Steph Curry trolls himself with Jordan face meme

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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

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