Soft schedule pads Heisman case

Play Q & A with handicapper Kelly Stewart, who will answer selected questions from Las Vegas Review-Journal readers. Email her at Askkelly@reviewjournal.com.

Q: Do you think Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel deserves to win the Heisman Trophy?

– Billy, Las Vegas

A: I could write a novel on this question. Instead, I’ll keep it simple. No. Is Manziel one of the more impressive freshman players I have seen in a while? Yes. But as far as the Heisman goes, his only really impressive win was upsetting Alabama. I don’t hear anyone giving Nick Florence the Heisman just because he led Baylor to a victory over Kansas State.

Manziel’s nonconference play was impressive, but Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin ran up the scores to pad Manziel’s stats. We’re going to hear over and over that Manziel did it in the Southeastern Conference, so it’s more of an accomplishment.

Let’s look at the facts to decide if he’s deserving. Manziel has 24 passing and 19 rushing touchdowns. Forty-three touchdowns in one season? Let’s give him the Heisman … not so fast.

In Texas A&M’s losses to Florida and Louisiana State, he scored one touchdown and threw three interceptions in the LSU game. He had five TDs against Auburn (3-9 record), two against Mississippi (6-6), four against Arkansas (4-8), two against Mississippi State (8-4), two against Alabama (11-1) and five against Missouri (5-7). In nonleague games, he had six TDs against Louisiana Tech, six against Southern Methodist and beat up on two FCS teams (Sam Houston State and South Carolina State) while accounting for 10 touchdowns.

My Heisman pick is Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, and I’m already expecting an A&M fan to send an angry email about this.

Q: On a neutral field in a BCS game, would undefeated Ohio State be an underdog to Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Kansas State and Florida?

– John, Las Vegas

A: Urban Meyer deserves a lot of credit for coaching the Buckeyes to a 12-0 record in his first season. But based on the numbers I’m seeing, Ohio State would be a big ‘dog to Alabama and Oregon, probably in the 8- to 10-point range. K-State and Florida most likely would be 3- to 5-point favorites over the Buckeyes. Georgia would be closer to a pick ’em, and I’ll say Notre Dame probably would be a 2-point ‘dog to Ohio State.

Q: Texas coach Mack Brown is on the hot seat here after another disappointing season. Are the Longhorns in for another long Saturday against Kansas State?

– Greg, Austin, Texas

A: By the looks of things, the Longhorns, 11½-point road underdogs, should be a little worried. K-State had a week off, time to heal wounded bodies and minds. The Wildcats’ loss at Baylor was bad. But a week after a disappointing loss, look what Oregon did to Oregon State.

If I had to guess, there’s some anger lingering, and I’d hate to be on the receiving end of it. Don’t forget the Wildcats love to manipulate the game by forcing turnovers. If Texas quarterback Case McCoy isn’t careful, he will rack up a few. Best of luck to you.

Kelly Stewart of Hottiehandicappers.com can be reached at Askkelly@reviewjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kellyinvegas.

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