While there are more than enough sports controversies floating around the web right now, none could be buzzing more than the closing investigation of Texas A&M Heisman trophy quarterback, Johnny Manziel. On Wednesday afternoon the story broke that Texas A&M suggested to the NCAA that Johnny will be benched for the first half of the season opener against the Rice Owls, and as we all know by now that deal is finalized.
The NCAA accepted the terms and agreements put forth by A&M and have now officially closed the case, which for the 12th man means that Ags can breath again. Texas A&M will not only have their Heisman quarterback returning, but they now have their hope put back in being a National Championship contending team. Also, it should be noted that watching ESPN can now be somewhat enjoyable again without having to hear analyst after reporter spending hours discussing every living cell within the body of Jonathan Paul Manziel.
The talk of whether or not Manziel did indeed accept money for his signatures on sports memorabilia is irrelevant now, because whether anyone likes it or not, Johnny Football is back. The past is the past, but the future is now, so lets leave this investigation behind in the summer sun and move into what might truly be the most exciting football season in Texas A&M history.
Rather than wasting time discussing things of the forever unknown, I’d rather examine the questions that actually have value to this season. Has this affected Johnny or the team mentally? Will he produce the same numbers as last year? Can he win a Heisman even with being suspended for a half? And besides who will start Saturday, the most intriguing question for week 1 has to be will Johnny even play at all Saturday?
For #2, this willingness to win comes from his supernatural competitive spirit, which is derived from his heart. Johnny believes in fight, not flight. So to think that Manziel would take kindly to the haters and forget about all of this and move on is absurd. College football fans can expect that the reining Heisman trophy winner will take all the hate to heart, and produce one of the most fired up college football players to every play the game. If anything, all this has done to Johnny has made him want to win even more.
For Johnny to repeat with 5,116 yards of total offense would truly be insane, but it is possible. Johnny has all the right tools surrounding him in order to produce another memorable year. With four great running backs to rotate from, a very talented wide receiving core with great diversity in size and speed, an offensive line capable of reaching last year’s o-line accomplishments, and a coach in Kevin Sumlin to mix it all together, Manziel truly has everything surrounding him in order to achieve 2012 season numbers.
In order for Manziel to repeat as the Heisman winner, A&M would need to go undefeated this year, on top of Johnny having a similar season as last year. Why? Because even though the suspension may not effect the outcome of the Rice game this Saturday, it will affect voters from writing in Manziel as number one. Even if A&M and its star quarterback have a flawless season, the suspension still counts because other players in the Heisman race were more than likely not suspended. Even if Johnny is at the end of the season the most valuable player to college football, the suspension will still be in the back all of the voters minds.
To Saturday. Will Johnny play? Every Aggie fan, and college football fan alike truly hopes so. Regardless of the score, people want to see him play, but coaches could decide to rest him for the entire game for a multiple of reasons. If the game is already decided by halftime, what point is there in playing your best player in the chance he might get injured? If the backup QB (whomever it may be) is doing a good job, why not let him keep playing and gain more experience? Then again, this Rice team isn’t a team worth labeling as a scrub team, and top tens get upset all the time when they least suspect it. If A&M has the slightest doubt of winning their opener at the half, expect #2 to start warming up.
Whatever feelings you may have towards the investigation, Johnny’s character, or the unknown of this season one thing is for certain: the 2012 Heisman trophy winner is returning to college football, the venue that gave birth to the man we know as Johnny Football.