I have always believed that the Heisman Trophy should be given to the best player in college football during that particular season, regardless of a team’s record. That is why I felt former Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh deserved to win the award in 2009 and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball should have taken home the hardware in 2011.
Sure, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel deserved the award last season, but if Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has a 2013 season as good as (or better than) what he was able to accomplish in 2012, he should be the runaway favorite to win the bronze statue this season.
In my opinion, Miller is the most dynamic offensive player in college football today. That isn’t a knock on Manziel — I just prefer Miller leading the huddle. As a sophomore last season, the young signal caller was brilliant. He threw for 2,039 yards and 15 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,271 and 13 scores.
While Manziel may have had the better stats (3,700 yards passing and 1,400 yards rushing), he also had the good fortune of playing in an offensive system built for gaudy numbers under Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin. But if I am looking for a quarterback who knows how to win games, there is no one in the country I would want besides Miller.
Let’s not forget that the Buckeyes also have a lot to prove in 2013. Ohio State is coming off an undefeated 12-0 2012 campaign, but due to NCAA sanctions, was unable to face Alabama for the BCS championship. That “chip” on the Buckeyes’ proverbial shoulder could spell trouble for their opponents each Saturday this coming fall.
The schedule also works to Miller’s favor in 2013. He will have plenty of chances to prove his Heisman Trophy “worth” as the Buckeyes have three nationally televised primetime games (Northwestern, Wisconsin, Penn State) and the regular season showdown with the Michigan Wolverines.
Throw in a potential berth in the Big Ten Championship game — and a potential spot in the national championship game up for grabs — Miller has all the exposure he will need.
If the Buckeyes shine and they run unscathed through the Big Ten for a second straight season, how can you not give the award to a player that will be 24-0 in his last 24 starts behind the center?
Short answer: you can’t.