The Heisman finalists have been named. Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te’o, and Kansas State senior quarterback Collin Klein.
Those are the men who will take the big stage in New York, and one will leave with the most prestigious award in college football.
All have their stories, and if you have not heard them, ESPN will make sure you do by the end of the night. Regardless, Oklahoma is and will be very familiar with each finalist.
The Sooners fell to the hands of Klein in late September in a disappointing home loss to the Wildcats. Then, in front of a nationally televised audience on ABC, Oklahoma failed to protect their house against Manti Te’o and the now top-ranked team in the country.
As for Manziel, the Sooners will experience the legend of Johnny Football firsthand when OU and the Texas A&M Aggies square off in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
As it stands, the Sooners are 0-2 against the finalists, but have an opportunity to win when it truly matters. The postseason is all-or-nothing, and Oklahoma can put a cap on another good season by defeating their former conference foes.
It will be a challenge. Johnny Manziel appears to be the frontrunner for the award, and Oklahoma did not have a lot of luck against the other two Heisman hopefuls.
In their loss to Kansas State, Oklahoma made too many costly mistakes. Klein was good, though, the Sooners big problem was themselves. They could not keep their composure cool, and allowed the Wildcats to steal one in Norman.
As for Notre Dame, they flat out beat the Sooners. They were the better team, and have the opportunity to win a crystal ball. Manti Te’o was superb against the OU offense, and some might say his “Heisman moment” came when he made a clutch play against Stoops’ squad.
Te’o recorded a huge interception off the hands of Jalen Saunders late in the fourth quarter, which gave Notre Dame the ball with four minutes left in the game. The Irish lead the Sooners 20-13 at that point, and OU potentially could have tied the game if Te’o didn’t take advantage of the tip drill.
Now as we head in to the bowl game, Manziel appears to be a big threat to Oklahoma’s defense. The Sooners have not been particularly dominant, but if Manziel plans on putting the team on his back, he will probably have to do it on the ground. OU’s secondary has been spectacular under Mike Stoops, and Johnny Football may think twice before airing it out. Though, he is as elusive as they come.
The Heisman Trophy presentation will air on ESPN on Dec. 8 at the Best Buy Theatre in Times Square. The event will begin at 7 p.m., though if you do not care for any of these player’s stories, you may want to tune in around 7:45-ish, because the presentation will drag out for an hour.