Buckeyes' eighth Heisman Trophy is on display in College Station

Grant Edgell's picture
December 10, 2012 at 1:41p

On Saturday night it was revealed to us all that the Heisman Trust had awarded this year’s memorial trophy to Texas A&M redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel in a close race that had Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o receiving the most votes for a defense-only player in the history of the trophy. Looking at it from any angle you wish, the right player received the honor of the three who were invited to participate.

But under any other circumstances than those with which this year’s trophy was awarded, that honor would have been bestowed upon Ohio State’s sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller.

Let me be clear about one thing – Miller was not robbed of the 2012 Heisman by the A&M quarterback. He wasn’t any more or less deserving of the award than Te’o, Kansas State’s Colin Klein or the eventual winner, “Johnny Football.” What happened in the events leading up to and during Saturday night’s ceremony were not reason to further the conversation of the integrity (or lack there of) in the world of college football.

The Heisman Trust got it right and the two opening sentences within their Mission Statement will tell you as much:

The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.

Johnny Manziel was certainly deserving of the honor, but the entire situation was a lost opportunity for one young Buckeye and the university for which he represents.

Entering the 2012 season with no ticket to punch to the Big Ten Championship Game, no eligibility for a bowl invite and a clear ending point to the schedule – November 24th versus Michigan – voters from every region were in an awkward spot with regards to Ohio State.

We wondered if an AP National Championship was within reach but were soon told that wouldn’t be the case through the votes cast by sixty national writers on a weekly basis. Those votes should have told us everything we needed to know about the Heisman Trophy back in October, but fans held onto hope for Miller.

We really should have known better.

For just a moment let’s imagine The Ohio State University football program hadn’t been ineligible for post season play in 2012. All things remaining equal – and assuming the Buckeyes go into Indianapolis as clear favorites against Nebraska two weekends ago and come home with a B1G Championship – history tells us they would find themselves in this season’s National Championship Game facing undefeated Notre Dame for all the marbles.

History also tells us that our quarterback would likely enter that contest having just taken the honorary tour of ESPN’s Bristol, Connecticut campus as the Heisman Trophy winner.

Let’s be honest, the Heisman Trophy process isn’t all that difficult to figure out regardless of how heated the arguments become in the days leading up to the ceremony. In general, the following applies:

  • The brightest star on the best team is the frontrunner. Period. Don’t get this confused with the “best player” on the best team. We heard nothing out of Tuscaloosa this season. They certainly have a best player, but their brightest 2012 star roams the sidelines under a headset and doesn’t stiff arm anyone except Les Miles.
  • If you play quarterback then you get bonus points with no questions asked. You are the frontrunner before the run begins.
  • If you didn’t score a touchdown on the offensive side of the ball all season long then you have zero chance of winning the Heisman Trophy unless every quarterback with a .500 record died before November.

So how does this apply to 2012?

Had Colin Klein kept Kansas State undefeated, he’s your default winner last Saturday night. He took snaps from center, had star power and momentum and was the clear leader of the top-ranked team late in the season. Baylor eliminated him.

Turn around and hand the ball off to Manti Te’o four or five times inside the three yard line and get him on the scoreboard, Coach Kelly. Had you done that he would have won the Heisman by a wide margin. He was easily the brightest star on your undefeated team, but you didn’t.

Add Braxton Miller to the Heisman equation and imagine anyone outside of Buckeye Nation gave a damn about Ohio State this season. Beyond the shadow of any doubt you may allow to creep into your mind, Miller receives that trophy last Saturday night. Of those in attendance, none match what he did. Not one of them.

It doesn’t matter that his numbers trailed off in November, Miller was the poster child for the Heisman formula, especially in a season where the winner had accumulated multiple losses: He was the brightest of stars - from the quarterback position, mind you - on an undefeated team. He beat teams with his arm, his legs and his video game jukes whether he was in the open field or standing in a phone booth with three defenders.

Unfortunately the sanctions that came down on the program late in 2011 extended from physical restrictions on scholarships awarded and bowl invitations to the way the Buckeyes, as a team and as individuals, were treated by those tasked with voting for national rankings and award recipients. Neither Braxton Miller nor Urban Meyer could control that. They, along with rest of the Buckeyes roster, did just as they could in 2012 - they beat everyone on their schedule and did so behind the efforts of their on-field star. From that perspective the season was an amazing success, but under different circumstances it could have been so much better.

All bets are off for 2013 and when Heisman votes are cast next November those appointed to do so may be in a position to vote for the brightest star on, effectively, a 25-0 team - and they will.


Comments Show All Comments

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I'm not sure that Braxton would have won if we were Bowl eilgible, but I do think he would have finished higher in votes.  IMO Klien would have won easy if he didn't faulter in Waco. I think Te'o should have won. To me the Heisman is more than a "stat" award. I think you should have to be on an elite team.  For me, a RS freshman QB with a catchy nickname is just a RS Freshman QB that lost 2 games as the starter.  
It's a marketing contest. ESPN wins. The voters dont read newspapers anymore, they Blog, have twitter, and go by what sounds flashy.  

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

OSUBias's picture

Did Manziel lend the trophy to PSU? State College is in Pennsylvania. A&M is in College Station.

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

Grant Edgell's picture

DERP. Corrected. Thanks.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Technically, Penn State is no longer in State College.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

hail2victors9's picture

If you want to complain about him not getting an invite and not being a finalist (if there weren't any penalties against OSU), I would support that.  However, the games against Purdue, Wisconsin, and Michigan were not exactly Heisman-esque.
Also, how can you argue 4,600 yards of total offense and 43 TDs in the SEC?  Braxton finished with around 3,300 yards of total offense and 28 TDs.  And if it wasn't the sanctions that hurt Braxton, it was the B1G conference and its worst year ever.

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

Grant Edgell's picture

I'm not discounting Johnny Manziel and his performance. I'm also not arguing that his 4,600 yards aren't worthy. They certainly are. The point is, Heismans aren't passed out on those facts alone. In many cases, those are secondary.
Give Miller the season-long, game-by-game Heisman hype rather than the, "they aren't eligible" asterisk on every comment made for thirteen weeks - and let it build win after win as they go undefeated - then tack on a big game on a national stage in Indy against that ugly Nebraska defense we watched (the same one Miller rushed for 186 yards against earlier in the season) and you have yourself a situation that renders Manziel's 4,600 yards nearly meaningless.
It's not a matter of SEC yardage records. It's a matter of how the Heisman hype machine works and the circumstances surrounding the candidates each season. A highlight reel quarterback from a major program who goes 13-0 and is headed for the nat'l championship game is one that likely wins the Heisman Trophy, all things remaining equal.

Jugdish's picture

I agree Hail. Braxton is still a work in progress to make it to the Heisman. He has the athletic ability, but he needs to work on passing and making quicker decisions. If athleticism were the only thing to be considered, DR would have been there too. Myer is putting all the pieces together to make OSU a team that will be one of the tops in the country.

Remember to get your wolverine spayed or neutered. TBDBITL

Nick's picture

Manziel threw for 1130 yards with 13 TDs/ 2 INTs  verse his (terrible) nonconference foes
another 1085 yard with 8 TDs/ 1 INT came vs Auburn, Missouri and Arkansas
So far thats 2215 yards 21 TDs  / 3 INTs vs terrible competition
Now add in rushing 
Nonconference rushing: 477 yards / 9 TDs
vs bottom of SEC: 261 yards / 6 TDs

Rushing totals 738 yards / 15 TDs vs terrible competition
tl;dr -- Manziels 2953 yards , 36 TDs is vs. terrible competition throw in his high character and you have a heisman

btalbert25's picture

That's fair but do we call into question Braxton's stats against the bad non conference teams he played as well as IU, Purdue, and Illinois? 

Nick's picture

Nope stats are stats shouldn't hold it too against Manziel either he is in a major conference. But people are acting like he is a god for all these stats vs good teams when in reality his numbers were inflated by a weak nonconference and weak bottom of the sec. 

Becool12's picture

Easy, have first round draft picks at tackle blocking for you. That way, when you do go against teams with insane pass rushers, you completely Johnny Manziel had hours to throw the ball all season. Texas A&M has hands down, the best offensive line in College this year. They neutralized Bama and those pass rushers from LSU. Imagine what any quarterback could do with that type of line. Example, look at the difference in Matt Barkley's stats before and after players like Kalil and Tyron Smith left

Haybucks's picture

SEC?  The Aggies were supposed to be mid-level to bottom dwellers according to the SEC experts Bill King, Paul Fienbaum, Tim Brando, and 100% of the sites I could find. Here are a few:
10. Texas A&M
has Texas A&M projected to finish 7-5 overall, 3-5 in conference for 5th place in the West.
The SportingNews has Texas A&M at #5 in the West in a vote by the 222 media members attending the league's media days.
No. 9 - Texas A&M Aggies
How could a mid-level Big 12 team enter the toughest division in college football and have its best record since 1998?  Maybe the SEC wasn't as tough as the Big 12?  Maybe. Anyway, the biggest plus for any SEC player is the nation's perception with the SEC prowess, with Alabama at the top of the pile. Manziel's win over the Crimson Detergent was replayed more times than the number of spins in a rinse cycle.  The repetition had the same effect as the constant replay of Woodson's highlight interception against Sparty.
"And if it wasn't the sanctions that hurt Braxton, it was the B1G conference and its worst year ever." I don't buy it. I was listening to a local sports talk show driving through Lansing before the award was handed out.  A national sportswriter was the featured guest. I didn't catch his name, but it doesn't matter, he could have been any writer. The host inquired if he thought Braxton Miller had a shot of winning. His reply, "Ohio State was irrelevent this year. Right or wrong, Miller will not get consideration because of that".  It got a chuckle from the host. It's clear to me that the sanctions mattered to the media.

If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


tennbuckeye19's picture

I honestly do not believe Braxton would have won the Heisman this year, postseason ban or not. He finished 5th, and that's about where I would put him. I just don't think your post reflects reality. Braxton had a good but not great season. If predictions are correct, 2013 will be his year.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

What the sanctions did was prevent Braxton from getting to play a 13th game.  We saw that Nebraska defense in that B1GCG - not to mention OSU/Nebraska earlier in the year.  Braxton could've made one big final statement (as much as you can tearing up a defense for the 2nd time).  Honestly, though, I still don't think it would've been quite enough.  Braxton could be the one to prevent Manziel from matching Archie with two Heismans next year.

Class of 2010.

wibuckeye's picture

I'll be in Vegas this week. I'm gonna drop some cash on XBRAX360 for Heisman.


Nick's picture

The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.

Manziel has criminal charges pending from a fight last year. So give him a trophy for 4,600 but don't try to say it is based on integrity. Double standard much? How many people celebrated and applauded Manziel for winning Heisman. How dare they... They show that stats really are more important than anything... (SOUND FAMILIAR?)

Grant Edgell's picture

Think he would have won it had he been arrested this year? Doubtful.

Ethan's picture

The fight happened in the summer. He had to do a bunch of things to get allowed back on the team by Kevin Sumlin. He did them, won the starting QB job, and the rest is history

NYBUCKEYE's picture

Wait a football player got in a fight? No WAYYYYY!!!!! Imagine how many D-Bags screw with college football players everyday. Liquid courage plus a superior athlete equals a butt whippin. 

Nick's picture

Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel was arrested and jailed early Friday after he was involved in a fight and police said he produced a fake ID.
College Station police spokeswoman Rhonda Seaton says Manziel, 19, was charged with disorderly conduct, failure to identity and possessing a false identification card, all misdemeanors. He was jailed overnight and released Friday afternoon, Seaton said.
Seaton says an officer on bike patrol intervened to break up a fight between Manziel and McKinney. McKinney told the officer that Brant, Manziel’s friend, called him a racial slur and he approached Brant. Seaton says Manziel then shoved McKinney and the two exchanged punches.
When officers asked Manziel for an ID, he produced a phony Louisiana driver’s license that showed his birthday as Dec. 6, 1990.

Yes happens to every college football player, I agree.

setman's picture

With the schedule shaping up for next year, I really question whether Braxton will get a fair shake either.  Heisman campaigns, particularly over the last twenty to thirty years have been boiled down to "a heisman moment."  And that usually has to take place in a game where the lack of  said moment will have a disastrous effect (i.e. a loss).   Next year, the preseason schedule is very weak.  Sparty and Nebraska drop off the schedule, and we add Northwestern and Iowa, neither of whom is likely to be ranked.  Purdue has a first year coach, and could very well be two to three years away from national rankings.  Indiana is also unlikely to be ranked next year.  The recruiting sanctions will start to be felt next year for Penn State.  Cross them off of the list.  Wisconsin with a new head coach, post Monte Ball, with no established QB returning, will likely struggle to be ranked.  And finally Michigan, post Denard, might find themselves in that same boat.  And Illinois is best left as a punchline.
So potentially, Braxton could face his first ranked opponent next year in the B1G championship game.  If that is the case, he will be off the national radar and out of the running by mid October.

NoVA Buckeye's picture

Wisconsin returns an established QB. His name is Joel Stave.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

btalbert25's picture

Braxton had a TERRIFIC season this year, but let's face it, he didn't put up Heisman type numbers.  He didn't have 4000 total yards, he didn't even have 30 total TD's. Usually, to be considered for a Heisman you have to have at least 40 total TDs.  He could of been a finalist with 2000 passing, 1500 rushing and 40 total TD's.
He was number 5 in voting despite having 3300 totally yards and 28 total TDs.  That's impressive. 
Colin Klein had 3400 total yards and 37 total TD's, so he had a legit claim over Braxton. 
Manziel had more passing yards than both guys had total yards, then he had almost 1200 rushing and 43 total TD's.
For Braxton to be number 5 in voting and for much of the year considered in that echelon with these fine players, despite not being eligible for post season and having a horrible schedule, he'll definitely be a candidate next year.  He just needs to get close to that 4000 total yards and 40 total TD plateau.  If he can get 4000 and 40, he's probably a shoe in next year.  Manziel won't improve upon this year and I have doubts he'll even duplicate it.

Grant Edgell's picture

Troy Smith got himself a big bronze trophy with 2,700 TOTAL yards (2,500+ passing) and 31 total touchdowns (1 rushing). It's 100% circumstantial.
That 2006 season 26 different QB's had more passing yards than Troy had total yards, and 37 had more passing yards than Troy. He was the biggest star on (at the time of the vote) the best team. Nobody else's stats mattered. If Ohio State were eligible from day one, the way the Heisman seems to be awarded, Braxton would very likely have been this year's winner - all things considered.
No part of me is claiming he had a better year statistically than Manziel/Klein. Obviously that isn't the case.

Norwalk's picture

"No part of me is claiming he had a better year statistically than Manziel/Klein. Obviously that isn't the case."
12 - OH, Braxton did better on the stats that count most

btalbert25's picture

I believe the game has changed since then though.  The year he won it, yes he was the best player on the best team, but would he walk away with the hardware today?  I'm not so sure because the voting is different today.  Tim Tebow took the award home in a year his team was horrible, Cam Newton and Sam Bradford won in years their teams were great, but look at their stats. 
Troy Smith actually was pretty lucky to win the award that year.  I actually think McFadden was the best player in college football then, but at the time, whether people want to admit it or not, Ohio State was pretty well liked by the media.  I remember SEC fans complaining about how much ESPN talked about Ohio State(in a good way).  He was not only the best player on the best team, but he was the best player on the best team that everyone got to see and was talking about that year.  He played in lot of huge games like Texas and the 1-2 Michigan game.  He just had a lot of stuff work in his favor that year.  Braxton wouldn't have taken the award home, eligible or not.  There were games where he just didn't look good.  Troy looked good EVERY game that year, and his stats were also impacted by the 2, 2 1/2, and 3 quarters per game he played, and the incredible RB's like Pitman and an emerging Beanie.  Braxton had games where he looked incapable of throwing the ball. 

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I think Smith's Heisman was a classic "QB of the best team" Heisman, a category which describes a lot of winners and near-winners over the years. However, he is the last such player to win the Heisman Trophy (Bradford and Newton played for the best or near-best team, but also had crazy numbers). 
There's reason to question whether someone like Smith can win the Heisman any more -- whether it's now an award reserved for quarterbacks who pile up the stats. Tebow, Griffin, and Manziel have all won the Heisman for teams that weren't in the national title picture. That's not unprecedented, but 3 such quarterbacks in a 6-season span seems unusual to me. The last previous Heisman QB to play for a team with 2 regular season losses was Carson Palmer; before that, I think you have to back more than a decade to the previous one-two punch of QBs who won because "you can't deny their stats," Andre Ware and Ty Detmer.
The Heisman has always been offense-only (essentially); in the last two decades, it's increasingly become a quarterbacks' award; and now, it seems to be moving in the direction of being solely a "quarterbacks in a go-go offense" award.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

kmp10's picture

I disagree that OSU's 8th HT is on display in college station. Irrespective of Ohio State's one year bowl / B1G championship game ban, Braxton Miller was simply not the best player in college football IMO. However, what should be one of OSU's eight Heisman's is currently on display in Doug Flutie's house. He stole it from Keith Byers in 1984...

jthiel09's picture

Agree, he was robbed of that award.


WC Buckeye's picture

One play <> Heisman
I saw Byars play that year, and he absolutely should've won it.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

BuckeyeVet's picture

@KMP10 - I'll second that. Byars had a hell of a year.

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."          - Groucho Marx

"The recipient of Oyster's ONLY down vote".

AC1972's picture

Didn't Johnny Football get arrested earlier this year?  I would think the heisman trust would think better of excellence with integrity.  Heisman performance, just not a heisman man...

jthiel09's picture

Braxton had a Heisman season prior to Purdue. After that game he didn't have the stats to get the trophy in the end.


Buckeyejason's picture

Manziel won it , MOVE ON!!


CowCat's picture

The bright side to all of this is that Urban Meyer and Braxton Miller are ferocious competitors. 
I think they both realize how Braxton needs to step up his game to surpass Manziel.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Becool12's picture

I believe Braxton is going to develop into one of the best quarterbacks in OSU history. He has already developed a lot with one year under Herman. And we will see after his all american tackles leave. I think we're going to see a classic "what happened to ..."Case