Today marks the 78th annual Heisman Memorial Trophy announcement in New York. The award is given to the player chosen as the most outstanding player in U.S. collegiate football.
This year's selection could make history as the current leader in the polls is Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny (Foot-ball) Manziel. The award has never been given to a freshman before. In fact, only once has a sophomore ever won the Heisman, that being New York Jets QB Tim Tebow.
Manziel, the South Eastern Conference offensive player of the year, threw for more than 3,400 yards this season, along with 24 touchdowns with just 8 interceptions. Also, he was the only QB to defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide, who, at the time, was the No. 1-ranked team in the BCS. In that game, he completed 24-of-31 passes for 253 yards, threw two touchdown passes and had no interceptions.
This performance was key in Manziel's Heisman aspirations, because, following that game, he passed Kansas State QB Collin Klein in the polls.
The other finalists include Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o plus Klein.
Manti Te'o, born in Hawaii, has already won this year's Bronko Nagurski award as the college defensive player of the year as well as the Dick Butkus award as outstanding linebacker.
Should Te'o reach the podium today as the Heisman winner, he'll be just the second defensive player to win U.S. college football's most prestigious award. The only other defensive player to win this award was Charles Woodson.
In 1997, Woodson, of the University of Michigan, beat out a guy from the University of Tennessee by the name of Peyton Manning.
Look for Te'o to be drafted in the first round of the NFL's 2013 draft.
The third finalist, from Kansas State University, and winner of this year's Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award as the nation's top upperclassman QB, is Klein, a senior.
This season, Klein threw for 2,490 yards, including 15 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. At 6-foot-5, the relatively mobile Klein is a name you'll likely hear called out in the first round of the 2013 draft.
Until Manziel's art-like performance against Bama, I would have selected Klein as the No. 1 candidate for the Heisman. But today, I give the edge to Manziel.
Next Saturday, Dec. 15, marks the start of Bowl games, and up first is the New Mexico Bowl (7-5 Nevada vs. 7-5 Arizona; 10 a.m.), followed by the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (10-2 Utah State vs. 9-3 Toledo, 1:30 p.m.).
With more than 30 bowl games, it's unlikely that all of the non-major bowls will be covered in my column. If there is a particular game that you would like covered, don't hesitate in contacting me.
Grant Stefance is a Kelowna resident and lifelong sports fan. Follow him on twitter at: @grant_stefance, or email him at: