November 13, 2012 by kujhawk
Welcome to the world of Johnny Manziel, America. Or should I say, Johnny Football.
If you were wondering who Johnny Football was, or why every pundit could not stop bringing up the 6’1, 200-pound freshman quarterback for the Texas A&M Aggies every week this college football season, look no further than Saturdays win over top-ranked Alabama.
Johnny Football is taking the nation by storm. Throw the football? Yeah he can do that. Run the football? Yeah he can do that too. Heisman? Yeah he can win that. Leap tall buildings in a single bound? Well, the verdict is still out on that one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he could that too at this point. He is a do-it-all player for an elite team. Yes, that’s right, I said it. Elite. Texas A&M is an elite football team, even in their first season in the vaunted Southeastern Conference, because of the great play of Johnny Football. (He should really consider pulling an RG3 and trademark that name, pronto.)
That has been the topic of conversation since Saturday’s upset of the Crimson Tide. Is A&M an elite team? How can you argue no? They are two blown leads at home – by eight total points against LSU and Florida – away from being undefeated and in the top spot in the BCS rankings (sorry K-state). They have proven that a high-powered Kevin Sumlin/Kliff Kingsbury offense can and will work in the SEC against all of those great defenses. They had the best-kept secret in college football in Johnny Manziel, who is now the biggest name in the sport this week after his 345 yards of total offense and two touchdowns against the defense no one thought could be outplayed or outsmarted.
A&M is now the hot pick for the SEC’s 2nd BCS bowl bid. They are number eight in the BCS and if they win out, have a trip to Tempe, Arizona and the Fiesta Bowl in their future, with a possible match up with Notre Dame. What a game that could be. Johnny Football being chased by Manti Te’o? Great stuff.
But the reason I am writing this column today is because I think the Aggies need some respect. I grew up a die-hard Texas Longhorn fan. My mom went to UT (or t.u to the Aggies out there) and I loved the Horns from day one. So naturally, the Aggies were the bane of my existence. A deep-rooted hatred grew in my heart for the Aggies. Their weird male “yell leaders” the army band, the weird chants during games? All of it seemed foreign and odd to me. But when I left the state of Texas and became a student at the University of Kansas, and my best friends became Aggies, my relationship with the people of College Station, Texas changed. I had no desire to hate A&M anymore. Did I want to beat them when they came to Lawrence to face the Jayhawks? Of course. But no longer did I yearn for the Aggies to lose to every team they played in every sport. I even began to root for them when they weren’t playing my Jayhawks.
Then the move to the SEC happened. I was angry because of Missouri’s decision to leave the Big 12, but I was also worried for the Aggies. The road seemed long and dark for a team coming off a 7-6 season and bringing in a new head coach in Kevin Sumlin from Houston. But my Aggie friends kept telling me, “Watch out for Johnny Football.” Who the hell is Johnny Football, I thought. After watching their SEC opener against Florida, I couldn’t help but think that Johnny Football was going to win the Aggies some games no one thought they could win. He almost did it against LSU, and then pulled off the upset in Tuscaloosa with a Heisman trophy statement performance.
People say Collin Klein is the most valuable player in college football. Yes, he is a great player and has gotten Kansas State to the top of the BCS polls, but he doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor of Johnny Manziel. He is a big, bulking runner who bangs inside runs to set up the play action pass. Manziel can make something out of nothing. He has designed runs, sure, but the majority of his rushing yards come from eluding pressure and making defenders miss. And if you commit too hard to the scramble, he will beat you deep with his arm. Just ask the Alabama secondary.
The bottom line, is that Johnny Manziel is the best player in college football right now. If I had a ballot to cast for the Heisman, it would be for Manziel, with Klein in second. There is no doubt in my mind that Manziel is heading to New York in December. The question is, will he be the first freshman to hoist the trophy? I hope so, because this is Johnny Football’s world, and we are all just along for the ride.
If you would like to email me about anything I’ve written, you can do so by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on twitter @Ev_Dunbar. I would love feedback and advice on what I can do better or what I should be doing more or less of!