NCAA Football Report (Week 15)

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The 2012 NCAA Football season officially came to an end with the 113th game between Army and Navy. A longstanding tradition this game takes most of the focus for the last week of the season as they are the only game in between championship week and bowl season. It is one of the most important games on the schedule for simply the historic significance and for both teams it usually means a chance for the Commander in Chief’s Trophy. This year the pattern continued from the past few years as the Navy Midshipmen won in a close game for their 11th straight win in the game. The win also gave Navy the Commander in Chief’s Trophy for the 8th time in 10 years. It marked the official end of the 2012 season and the beginning of the Bowl Season. It was not the only big event this week though as the biggest award in the NCAA was handed out on Saturday night. The Heisman Trophy was first handed out in 1935 and since then has been given to the best NCAA player every year. The award is, like every other major aspect of college football, a highly contested choice every year. The main reason is usually for the fact that the Heisman has a number of unwritten rules involved with it that keep some players out of the conversation. The Heisman is for the best player in the NCAA and is not meant as a solely offensive award yet it has been given out as that since its inception. Only one defensive player has ever won the Heisman as Charles Woodson won in 1997 as a Cornerback but was also a punt returner as he would touch the ball more than a regular defensive player. The defensive shutout is beginning to fall though as 2011 saw Tyrann Mathieu end the season as one of the highest ranked defensive players. This year seemed to have the most promising defensive player in Manti Te’o from Notre Dame. The senior linebacker was the linchpin to the Irish’s defence and a major reason for the Irish being ranked #1. Te’o did all of this in a season where he would overcome the death of his grandmother and his girlfriend within days of each other. It was a great story with a great young man at the centre and for many the story along with his ability would put him with a great chance at the Heisman. The defensive bias is not the only one in the Heisman voting as the class system has had a big effect. For years the Heisman was a Senior or Junior award as it was meant for the players leaving for the NFL as a last send off. Sophomores and Freshmen would not be considered for the award as they had not proven enough throughout their short careers. That theory began to fall in 2007 when Tim Tebow became the first Sophomore to win the Heisman. This year there was one of the best shots at breaking down the last class as Johnny Manziel represented the best bet for a freshman to win the Heisman. Manziel had not been talked about in the preseason conversation but a win against the, then top ranked, Alabama Crimson Tide launched Johnny Football into the top of the Heisman watch. He would look to become the first freshman to win the award and break down the last class hurdle. The conversation always continues though as another issue that many have with the award is that the voters concentrate on bigger programs. Smaller schools do not get the recognition as they are not in the spotlight for most of the season and so great players on smaller schools are overlooked. If there is no TV deal for a team and no nationally broadcast games some great players are overlooked. This trend began falling last year when Robert Griffin III won the Heisman out of Baylor becoming the first player from Baylor to win the award. This year another school would see their best chance at the first Heisman as Kansas State would look to Collin Klein for their Heisman hopes. K-State is not a small school but it is nowhere near the size of the Alabama’s or the Notre Dame’s but that did not stop him from holding down the top spot in the Heisman race for most of the season. After Matt Barkley fell off of the top spot Klein took over and became the Heisman favorite for the majority of the year. A few stumbles at the end of the year put him further back but he still seemed like more of a traditional fit for the Heisman Trophy. It would come down to these three players on Saturday as all three had a legitimate claim to the award and all three looking to make history in some way. For Te’o he would become the first purely defensive player to win the award, for Manziel he would become the first freshman to win, and for Klein he would be the first player from Kansas State to win the award. All three were invited to New York for the announcement and when the night wound down it would be the Freshman who would take home the Heisman. Manziel would become the first freshman in NCAA history to win the Heisman Trophy and in the bigger picture the NCAA gained a star for the coming year. Manziel will likely be a favorite to repeat next year as he has become a legitimate NCAA star for at least the next three years as Johnny Football takes hold of the Texas A&M Aggies for the near future.

 

Final Heisman Voting:
1. Johnny Manziel, QB (Texas A&M Aggies)
2. Manti Te’o, LB (Notre Dame Fighting Irish)
3. Collin Klein, QB (Kansas State Wildcats)
4. Marqis Lee, WR (USC Trojans)
5. Braxton Miller, QB (Ohio State Buckeyes)
6. Jadeveon Clowney, DE (South Carolina Gamecocks)
7. Jordan Lynch, QB (Northern Illinois)
8. Tavon Austin, WR (West Virginia Mountaineers)
9. Kenjon Barner, RB (Oregon Ducks)
10. Jarvis Jones, LB (Georgia Bulldogs)

 

Key Scores:
Navy Midshipmen 17 – 13 Army Black Knights
– The NCAA season came to a close officially with a great game between Army and Navy in the oldest rivalry in the NCAA as the Midshipmen won the game for the 11th year in a row and also took home the Commander in Chief’s Trophy with the win

 

Upcoming Bowls:

Gildan New Mexico Bowl:
Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Arizona Wildcats (Saturday December 15th; 1:00 pm EST)
– The bowl season kicks off with the New Mexico bowl between two teams that love their offence and do not have much defence as both teams allow over 30 points a game on average but score over 35 points per game in what looks to be a shootout

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl:
Toledo Rockets vs. #22 Utah State Aggies (Saturday December 15th; 4:30 pm EST)
– The Aggies are on a hot streak as they launched themselves into the top 25 at the end of the season with a good offence and defence while the Rockets will be looking to overpower the Aggies with a great offence that has to make up for their lack of defence

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