It should be an interesting Heisman match up as only three people are invited to the festivities this year. In many ways it is the unlikeliest three you could have ever tried to pick out before the season started.

Optimus Klein

Collin Klein had been a good – maybe even great quarterback for the Kansas State Wildcats. He had matured nicely over a couple of years and the club was seeing some success after the lean Ron Prince Era in Manhattan. No one saw the Wildcats going undefeated – until a late season loss at Baylor- which dropped them from the eventual #1 BCS ranking. K-State is headed to the Fiesta Bowl to represent the Big XII conference against the vaunted Quack Attack from the Pac Northwest. Klein is not flashy, doesn’t look real fast, but he is smart and he makes plays, and has been as consistent as any guy talked about in the Heisman voting all year with 22 touchdown runs and another 15 through the air.

As much as it pains a Nebraska guy to say this…I would be happy for Kansas State if Colin took home the Heisman.

Baby Seau

Manti Te’o is the unquestioned leader of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He has led the team to an undefeated record and a trip to the BCS title game in Miami against the Crimson Tide. The Golden Domers were thought to be better this year, but much like in the case of Kansas State…I don’t think anyone saw an undefeated season coming. A few lucky breaks ( a quick referees whistle against Stanford, and a couple of “noonans” out of the Pittsburgh kicker) kept the undefeated season alive. Teo leads his team with 103 tackles and is 2nd Nationally with 7 picks on the year. Oh yeah…he won the Butkus on Monday.

I can’t vote for Manti because – A….he is from Notre Dame and B…what a horrible nickname…..

Go Johnny GO!

The media darling and apparent leader in the clubhouse is Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. Manziel is the favorite to win the award and would be the first freshman EVER to win if the voters agree. He would also be the only other Aggie to win the award since John David Crow clear back in 1957. Johnny Football does not have history on his side. Other greats have come close in their freshman years but to no avail. Adrian Peterson finished 2nd as a freshman, Michael Vick and Herschel Walker both finished third their initial year in college. That is a pretty strong list of company. Manziel racked up an SEC record 4600 yards of total offense (yep, that beats Tim Tebow and Cam Newton folks) and ran for an impressive 1181 yards – also to lead the conference

I don’t know if the voters will have the guts to take a defensive player (this just does not happen) or a Freshman (this just does not happen either) or will vote for the safe play in Klein.

Vote for Johnny!

Melt Down in Indianapolis.

The Big 10 Woodshed Beating known as the title game saw the Wisconsin Badgers run up the score – both literally and figuratively- on their way to 70 points and almost 600 yards of rushing. This has Nebraska fans searching for answers and screaming about yet another large embarrassing national televised beat down while Wisconsin fans are making travel arrangements to Pasadena.

Of course my allegiances lie with the Big Red. So take my comments here with a grain of salt. Many Husker faithful will are calling for coaching changes. Nebraska won 10 games so far this year, and have a brutally tough match up in the Capital One Bowl with Florida. (another likely loss as UGA is a huge early favorite) Truth is the overall talent on the defensive side of the ball in particular and much of what was done this year was probably as much smoke, mirrors and duct tape – mixed in with a little luck….but I think coaching was the reason the team actually won 10 games this year and have a chance to make it to the Big 10 Title game.

After getting housed by Ohio State in Columbus, Husker Coach Bo Pelini challenged his team to win 6 in a row. Well the Cornhuskers did just that…winning 6 to make the title game.

Maybe Bo should have told them they needed to win 7. The team looked lackluster and slow…they looked like a tired team that had been through a rough stretch of schedule.

Wisconsin on the other hand looked my buddy Scott running the controls on NCAA Football 2012 for PlayStation III on “easy” mode.

One Highlight during a lowlight evening.

Always a fan of big hits, this one is arguably one of the worst calls I have seen. Nebraska receiver Kenny Bell was flagged for unnecessary roughness after plastering Wisconsin’s Devin Smith. This is the largest smack down since John Ruud de-cleated Kelly Phelps from Oklahoma on a kick return in a colossal match up of the Huskers and OU in 1978 in Lincoln.


 

Before any Wisconsin fans whine that it was the correct call, let me remind you…SCOREBOARD…just keep quiet and let Husker fans rejoice on one of the few glimmers of brilliance on this fateful night.

On a more concerning note, this legal hit is exactly what football (NFL more explicitly) is trying to dictate. They are trying to regulate safety in the game. Anytime you have big, strong, fast grown men running around with helmets and body armor on…occasionally violent collisions will happen.

This time a big hit was on a big stage at the college level (albeit in a complete blowout game) Will the NCAA respond and put some rules in place just due to a hit like this in a conference title game.

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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