The Heisman Trophy, perhaps the most storied award in sports, will be handed out Saturday evening. And it's almost a toss-up as to who takes home the award.
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M's sensational freshman, has all of the stats. Manti Te'o, the heart and soul of an undefeated Notre Dame team. And Collin Klein, the leader of the Wildcats and the best player in school history.
It's a small group, but very deserving. Each one of these players has made their Heisman statement, and each would be a deserving recipient of the award.
But only one standout can take it home. So, let’s examine the likelihood of each finalist winning the award.
Collin Klein, 20:1
He's one of the toughest players in college football, and I’m not just talking about quarterbacks.
Klein takes hit after hit and just keeps coming at teams. He's a force throwing the ball—despite his jerky motion—and is a load outside the tackle box when he runs.
He's thrown for 2,490 yards, 15 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. But his numbers really get impressive when you look at his rushing totals. Klein has rushed for 890 yards and an astounding 22 touchdowns.
Klein did everything for the Wildcats offensively, and it was his contributions that kept a collection of unheralded recruits and JUCO transfers in the national title hunt.
Alas, Klein and the Wildcats experienced a single hiccup against Baylor that cost Kansas State a shot at the BCS National Championship Game, and likely, Klein's chances at the Heisman.
Manti Te'o, 2:1
Te'o stands tall in the middle of the Notre Dame defense, and it has been his leadership and skill that have led the Fighting Irish back to the top of the college football heap.
Now, Te'o has the opportunity to become the first-ever pure defensive player to win the Heisman, an award typically dominated by quarterbacks and running backs.
The best thing Te'o has going for him is the Irish's record. They're the only undefeated team in the FBS, and he's the most valuable player on that team.
Te'o has recorded 103 tackles and seven interceptions on the top-ranked scoring defense in the FBS. And those seven interceptions are three more than any other linebacker in the country.
His numbers look great, and so does his team. But Te'o still will come up short of the award.
He may have won the Maxwell, for college football's most outstanding player, but a "defensive player bias" will keep him from becoming Notre Dame's first Heisman winner since 1987.
Johnny Manziel, 1:2
He's "Johnny Football"—a freshman revelation unlike any other. He's made Texas A&M relevant in the country’s toughest conference, the SEC, and captured the nation's attention by leading the Aggies to an upset over then-No. 1 Alabama.
His numbers live up to his larger-than-life legend, too. Manziel has accounted for more than 4,300 yards rushing and passing this season, breaking Cam Newton's SEC record for total yards without even playing in his bowl game.
Manziel has also combined for 43 touchdowns, leading an explosive Aggie attack.
Really, the only thing holding him back is that he's a freshman. No freshman has ever won the Heisman Trophy, as voters tend to want the players to take their lumps before handing them such a prestigious award.
However, Manziel is the man to buck this trend.
He's got the numbers, and perhaps more importantly, has the signature moment the other finalists lack: A&M's win over Alabama.
Look for Manziel to take home the Heisman.