Analyzing Johnny Manziel’s Heisman Chances in 2013

Johnny Manziel
Can Manziel overcome the attention and loss of key players to repeat as the Heisman winner?

I always enjoy summertime for a bevy of reasons and not just because it means hot weather. It also means that the college football season is within shouting distance of stadiums across America and for all of its’ flaws, college football still remains one of the top draws for American spectators. This season offers a couple of rare opportunities for teams and individual players and of course that means interesting and exciting wagering options for you.

First of all, Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide has an opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done for over 70 years. They are going for their third-straight national title with Minnesota being the last to accomplish the feat long, long ago. I’ll certainly tackle their chances of this later this summer because today I’m focusing on one of the individual possibilities for 2013.

Texas A&M’s quarterback Johnny Manziel enters the season with the rare opportunity to win a second-straight Heisman Trophy. Only Ohio State’s Archie Griffin won two straight stiff-arming trophies and that was back in the 1960’s. Most recently, Florida’s Tim Tebow had a chance to repeat as the Heisman winner but it was not to be.

The question for us is whether we think Johnny Manziel is different. We know he is different from Tebow in many ways off the field but will he be different on it in the sense that can he complete the back-to-back? Here are some thoughts as to why he may or may not win the trophy again.

Why Manziel Will Win the Heisman Again – First all you need to do is look at the schedule. The Aggies play their first four games of the season at Kyle Field with the third of those being defending national champion Alabama in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. It was last year of course where Manziel burst onto the national scene when led the Aggies past the Tide in Tuscaloosa. Having ‘Bama at home will help Manziel because Nick Saban will not make the same mistakes he did last season with his defense of Manziel.

After road games at Ole Miss and Arkansas, Manziel returns home for another four-straight home games in which the Aggies will be favored in each. The final two games of the season are on the road at LSU and at Missouri. While there are potential stumbling blocks for Manziel, the schedule really couldn’t set up much better for him.

Secondly, his new quarterbacks coach might just be able to take him to a new level. Following the departure of former coach Kliff Kingsbury, a friend of Kingsbury comes aboard with a tremendous pedigree. 33-year old Jake Spavital will take his tremendous knowledge of the position to College Station where he could help Manziel in many ways.

Spavital has worked with QBs Brandon Weeden, Case Keenum and Geno Smith. He has coached with Aggies’ Head Coach Kevin Sumlin before at Houston and has worked under West Virginia Head Coach Dana Holgerson when they were at Oklahoma State. Spavital’s youth could be a key factor in being able to relate to Manziel’s off-field issues as well.

Manziel must navigate the treacherous waters of the media in order to repeat.

Why Manziel Won’t Win the Heisman – In a word, immaturity. Just last week, Manziel, who is no stranger to social media, tweeted out that he “Can’t wait to leave College Station.” Most people took the comment as an ‘uh-oh’ moment but then Manziel clarified his tweet and said it was due to his frustration with a parking ticket on campus. Either way, this is the type of stuff Manziel has to avoid. He already has celebrity status that makes it difficult for him to cross the campus so he must be careful.

The other reason is history which just doesn’t bode well for Manziel. Often the focus is on the return of the man himself and what is forgotten are those who helped him win it in the first place. Manziel has lost his starting left tackle Luke Joeckel and also his go-to receiver Ryan Swope to the NFL. While A&M will still have tons of talent on the field, will it be cohesive enough with Manziel especially in crunch-time.

Manziel enters the season as a 9/2 favorite to win the Heisman again and he should be the favorite but I would be cautious only because of past history. The schedule sets up well enough for him to go at least 10-2 as he did last season. Those two losses however cannot come with poor performances.