The SEC has completely reinvented itself this season. The offensive juggernauts of Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, and Georgia have completely upstaged their defenses and are burning up the bulbs on the scoreboards at unheard of levels. Even Big 12 fans have to be impressed. The massive loss of talent to the NFL last season combined with an unprecedented number of veteran skilled quarterbacks and talented receiving corps has been like a Christmas dream for SEC offensive coordinators who have been stymied and bullied by the their Grinch-like counterparts coaching the defensive side of the ball for many a season. Payback is indeed in the air this year for SEC defenses and there are several NFL caliber quarterbacks aimed on making the pain last the entire season.
Johnny Manziel is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and has done nothing so far this year to disappoint. His performance in a losing effort against Alabama was something for the ages and should put him again at the pinnacle of collegiate players. Manziel’s much chronicled off the field escapades have soured many people on him as a person, but it would be hard to argue against his on the field exploits to this point. A late November date in Baton Rouge against LSU will likely give the nation one last chance to see Johnny Football make his case for back-to-back Heisman trophies. After shredding an Alabama defense that was decimated by NFL losses last year the Aggies will roll into LSU facing another defense that was also plundered at the end of last year by the boys who play on Sundays. LSU could ironically be the litmus test for three Heisman candidates, and the Tigers also sport their own.
AJ McCarron of Alabama has a chance to win back-to-back National Titles. McCarron doesn’t get the style points that Manziel seems to, but he is simply the best player on the best team currently in the country through this point in the season. McCarron seems to play his best in the biggest games and will have a home game against LSU to present his case for Heisman. If Alabama can escape LSU and McCarron plays well it would throw the Tide into the SEC Title game yet again. The winner would almost certainly be a lock for half of the BCS National Title Game. It would be a difficult argument at that point to say McCarron isn’t the Heisman winner given the resume.
Georgia’s Aaron Murray has rewritten every SEC passing record on the books. Murray has played brilliantly in each of the three seasons prior and just missed knocking off Alabama last year in the SEC Title game. Starting his senior campaign Murray has played three games against top 10 opponents so far this year. The only blemish came on an opening night narrow loss at Clemson who has their own Heisman hopeful. Since then Murray has been brilliant in defeating South Carolina and LSU. If he can exorcise the Alabama demon in the SEC Title Game and earn a BCS National Title invite, Murray is likely to hear his name read in New York in the not too distant future.
Zach Mettenberger from LSU is easily recognized as one of the most improved quarterbacks in college football. Quarterback guru Cam Cameron has transformed Mettenberger into one of the top NFL quarterback prospects in the country and into a Heisman worthy discussion. In all actuality Mettenberger and the Tigers have to run the table to the SEC Title Game for Mettenberger to truly get a Heisman shot. This would include knocking off Alabama, Texas A&M, and then felling Georgia in a rematch. If that seems to be a full plate that’s because it is. The good news is LSU’s two National Championships did not come with undefeated seasons. The Tigers still have their destiny in their hands and a clear but difficult road map of how to get there. No one in the country would likely willingly trade schedules with the Tigers, however, if Mettenberger can engineer that run of victories he would certainly be worthy of serious Heisman consideration. One thing is clear: whoever wins the title and possibly the Heisman will run directly through LSU.