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Johnny Manziel And The 5 Most Polarizing College Football Figures Ever

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Johnny Manziel And The Five Most Polarizing College Football Figures Of All-Time

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Some love them, some hate them, but everybody has an opinion. The perfect definition of the term "polarizing figure" right now in the college football world is 2012 Heisman Trophy winner and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Manziel burst on to the scene last season as a redshirt freshman. His unorthodox big-play ability stole the hearts of millions. Manziel passed for 3,706 yards, had a completion percentage of 68 percent with 26 passing touchdowns and only nine interceptions. He also rushed for 1,410 yards with 21 touchdowns on the ground. Manziel was a machine last season and was the obvious choice to win the Heisman Trophy.

The 20-year-old Manziel has been in the public eye a lot this offseason. He is simply turning in to a rock star. Everywhere that he goes, fans and media surround him. Manziel is easily the biggest star in college football. With all of this attention, he has run in to some negative publicity this offseason. He has been spotted flashing cash at a casino in Oklahoma, enjoying a New Year's party a little too much and most recently reportedly getting sent home early as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy. Personally, I think all of the negative media attention surrounding Manziel is a little unfair. He is a 20-year old college student who likes to have a good time. Not a big deal. Manziel just needs to realize that his life is now an open book and he should try to stay out of the spotlight.

Manziel is certainly not the first college football figure to have garner a love-hate relationship among those who follow the sport. The game of college football has been littered with talented players and coaches who, for one reason or another, have been ridiculed by the media and hated by some fans. Here are the five most polarizing college football figures of all-time.

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Cam Newton

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In his one season as a member of the Auburn Tigers, Cam Newton set the college football world on fire. He threw for 2,854 yards with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 1,437 yards and 20 touchdowns. Newton won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to a BCS National Championship.

After that impressive 2010 season, Newton bolted for the NFL. He received a ton of negative media attention when it was discovered that his father received money for Newton to go to Auburn. It was never proven that Newton was involved, but he was definitely judged by the public because of this.

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Notre Dame

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Notre Dame is not a 'figure' per se, but a collective that is a perfect addition to this list. They have won a ton in their long history and have many fans all over the world. Not everybody is a Fighting Irish fan though. As a matter of fact, I would say that most fans of college football who do not root for Notre Dame. They are on TV all the time, their fans are living in the past and think that they are better than they really are, and several media outlets continue to overrate them. While their history is impressive, Notre Dame gets shoved down our throats and that is annoying.

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Joe Paterno

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If it was not for the Jerry Sandusky scandal that broke right before Joe Paterno passed away, the longtime Penn State coach would have gone down as one of the most beloved coaches of all-time. They absolutely adore Paterno in Happy Valley, and he is considered one of the best college football coaches ever. Even though his involvement is unknown, it appears that Paterno looked the other way in the Sandusky case. In my eyes, that makes him a guilty man and his coaching success means nothing to me — and I'm far from being alone with this belief.

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Nick Saban

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There is no denying that Nick Saban is a great college football coach. His Alabama teams have simply dominated college football recently and that is a big reason why Saban has as many haters as he does. Saban has a cocky attitude that makes it look like he thinks he is better than everybody else, so that does not attract many fans his way. He does not have many fans outside of Alabama, but he definitely has the support of that fan base. No matter what you think of Saban, the guy is a winner.

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Tim Tebow

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Tim Tebow's career at Florida is one of the best college football careers of all-time. He won a Heisman Trophy in 2007 and the National Championship in both 2006 and 2008. Tebow was no doubt an amazing college player. He is not your traditional quarterback and that is why he has not succeeded in the NFL. Some people say that Tebow is a proven winner and would be a great NFL QB if he was given a shot. Others say that he has terrible mechanics and does not deserve a chance. The intense media attention given to Tebow makes it hard to like him anymore. It is worse now, but the media attention surrounding Tebow was terrible while he was at Florida as well.