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Collin Klein Heisman Watch (Week 14)

We've finally reached the end of this magical season, and it appears all our hero will get is a Big 12 title, a Fiesta Bowl bid, a free trip to NYC, a lesser national award or two, and plenty of All-Big 12 and All-America recognition.

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Well, it's all over but the revealing. Before you sulk too much about Klein's fairly dismal chances, remember how far we've come from the time when the Collin Klein Heisman Watch seemed like little more than a wish and a dream.

Collin Klein made a fairly strong argument for himself last the second half. It wasn't ideal, but he did carry his team to a Big 12 Championship, so I'd like to think that counts for something.

In the past week or so, the arguments between Kansas State and A&M fans have gotten fairly heated all over the Internets, even right here at BOTC. The most unfortunate part - and it's important to note this is a small majority - is when people on both sides resort to claiming the other team's quarterback isn't all that good, which is of course absolutely ridiculous.

The fact is, if you go purely by statistics, Johnny Football should win the Heisman Trophy. If you want to choose the NCAA football player who is most valuable to his team, you have to go with Collin Klein. Or, I suppose if you're dumb enough to just choose the best player on the best team, you go with Manti Te'o. These things are indisputable.

However, when you're asked to choose "the outstanding college football player in the United States," things become a lot more muddled and subjective. In my very biased opinion, Klein deserves to win, but before you rage, Aggie fans, I'll be the first to admit that as someone who has barely seen Manziel play at all this year, I am in no way qualified to make this decision.

Last week

At halftime, those not familiar with Kansas State's team this year might have thought Klein was not only going to lose any chance at the Heisman, but also the Big 12 title. Few things had gone in his favor, and his one touchdown was a bit of a joke, or at best a generous gift from Nigel Malone.

Luckily, in the second half the CK we all know and love returned. He finished with 103 yards on an almost season-high 23 carries (he had 25 vs. ISU) and 184 passing yards, including a pretty decent 55-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Tyler Lockett.

More touchdowns would have been quite nice, but he did nearly end up with the 200-yard passing, 100-yard rushing day I recommended. He ended up with a 176.8 passer rating and only threw the ball 14 times because the game turned into a blowout and Texas' rush defense isn't very good.

Still, we can't totally dismiss that mediocre first half, especially the awful throw that got picked off in the endzone. Plus, the TD runs by Hubert (one on the option where Klein made a fantastic play, of course) didn't do a lot to help CK's final Heisman push.

This seems like the best place to point out that Klein finished the regular season with 745 more passing yards in just 21 more attempts than his first 12 games in 2011. He also averaged close to a yard more per carry on 99 fewer rushing attempts, and of course he won one more game.

All that is to say CK was way more efficient this season (not just because of the 156.1 to 125.6 QB rating) just as history told us he would be as a senior under Bill Snyder. While that in itself is not necessarily a strong argument for him to take home this year's Heisman, it does at least show us why he is so much more worthy of the trip to NYC this season than he was in 2011.

What he needs this week

Probably lots of prayer, if you're into that sort of thing. Fewer voters from The Oklahoman would probably help, too, but I suppose there's nothing we can do about that. At least David Ubben doesn't get a ballot.

On the plus side, Klein already won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, and he's pretty much guaranteed to receive many, many more honors both nationally and from the Big 12 Conference. Most importantly, he won a Big 12 title, which I'm confident he'd choose over the Heisman Trophy every day and twice on Sundays.

Other contenders

The finalists have officially been chosen, and honestly, I'm a little disappointed there are only three of them. I realize anyone else would just be a courtesy invite, but what college athlete wouldn't want a courtesy invite to New York City? Get off your high horse, Downtown Athletic Club.

Either way, there's no point in including anyone but these three, and I'm willing to feature all of their stats this week. Yes, even that linebacker from Notre Dame.

Collin Klein 180-272 (66.2%), 2,490 yards, 15 TD, 7 INT, 194 rush, 890 yards, 22 TD, 0 lost fumbles

Johnny Manziel, 273-400 (68.3%), 3,419 yards, 24 TDs, 8 INTs, 184, 1,181 yards, 19 TDs, 2 lost fumbles

Manti Te'o, 103 tackles (52 solo), 5.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 7 INT, 4 pass breakups, 11 pass deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, 0 forced fumbles

Astute readers will notice I included lost fumbles this week for the first time, partly because, yes, it favors Klein. But let's be honest, a lost fumble is just as bad, if not worse than an interception, so it's really stupid that those aren't included, though I guess you could argue it's slightly less the quarterback's fault.

Again, Manziel has the clear statistical edge, though it's worth noting Klein finished the season with a (just barely) better quarterback rating. It really comes down to how much you want to factor in the different schedules and different offensive styles, which as we've all seen by now, can be manipulated to make either quarterback look like the clear choice.

Meanwhile, if Te'o somehow wins the Heisman, I will lose all faith in humanity. It's not that he's a linebacker, it's that he's not even the best defensive player, or even the best linebacker in the country.

What others are saying

At the end of the day, these people's opinions matter a whole lot more than mine. USA Today's poll of 37 voters have Manziel ahead of Te'O by exactly one point (he closed the gap with his huge day against Bye, I guess) and Klein finished a distant third with just one first place vote.

Since Heisman Pundit Chris Huston declared Manziel the winner last week, it's barely even worth mentioning he likes the Aggie QB this week, with Manziel second and Klein third. The Sporting News' Steve Greenberg didn't bother with a final Heisman Watch, and Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis has the same 1-2-3 as all the others.

ESPN's final poll is slanted heavily in favor of Johnny Football (11 of 15 1st place votes), with Klein getting 0 first-place votes and only three second place votes. That was just one more than USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.