Can Johnny Manziel Overcome the '2 Heisman Hurdle'?

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterNovember 6, 2013

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is up to his old Heisman tricks.

No, he wasn't photographed on Bourbon Street, he wasn't in the Miami Heat locker room and he didn't participate in any recent mass autograph signings (that we know of).

All he's doing is putting up video game numbers again for the Aggies.

Those numbers are comparable to what he did last season when he became the first redshirt freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. So, can he repeat the feat in 2013?

Johnny Manziel 2012 Versus 2013 Through Nine Games
YearComp. %Passing YardsRushing YardsTotal TDs

Winning the Heisman once is impressive, but twice might be unrealistic for Manziel.

Only one player has won two Heismans: former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975. Manziel is fighting an uphill battle, and he needs a ton of help to hoist that stiff-armed trophy this December.

Oct 26, 2013; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) warms up against the Vanderbilt Commodores before the game at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

First, he's held to a different standard than the other two primary contenders: Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

He closed the gap on both this week with a sizzling performance versus UTEP, but with those two squarely in the mix for the national title, Manziel is—at the very best—on an equal playing field in terms of exposure to a national audience.

He could finish the season similar or better than either or both, but if Oregon and/or Florida State play for the national title, that's going to resonate with voters. 

That's unfair, because it's not Manziel's fault the Aggies defense has been more of a punchline than a power this season. But part of the equation for some voters of what constitutes the most outstanding player in college football is one who leads his team to the game's ultimate glory.

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 26:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies rolls out looking for a receiver against the Vanderbilt Commodores at the end of the second quarter at Kyle Field on October 26, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Le
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Even if Oregon and Florida State fall out of the national title mix, Manziel would still have a hard time repeating as the Heisman winner. His off-field world tour last offseason that cost him the first half of the opener versus Rice will also be held against him.

The Heisman Trophy mission statement states that the award is supposed to go to the "college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity."

The NCAA couldn't find any evidence that Manziel took money for participating in autograph signings, but that doesn't mean there are voters out there who think it didn't happen.

If Manziel is going to overcome the odds and repeat, he needs to root hard against Oregon and Florida State, and even then it may take Mariota and Winston costing their teams games.

He's in the mix, no doubt. It's clearly a three-man race in the most recent Heisman Pundit straw poll, but Manziel is bringing up the rear.

Until Mariota or Winston drop out, that's likely the way it's going to stay no matter what Manziel does down the stretch.


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