Should Ohio State QB Braxton Miller Have Been a Heisman Trophy Finalist? (Yahoo Contributor Network)

COMMENTARY | You have to feel for Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller. Even though Miller had a superb season for the Buckeyes in 2013, it still wasn’t good enough to earn him a trip to New York for the presentation of the Heisman Trophy on December 14. Despite missing nearly three games in September with a knee injury, the junior quarterback nonetheless managed to put up 2,893 yards of total offense and was responsible for 32 Ohio State touchdowns in 2013, as he led the Buckeyes to the brink of the BCS championship game. While it’s almost a foregone conclusion that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will become the second straight freshman to win the Heisman, it’s still a shame that the quarterback of a team that was in the top five for nearly all of 2013 isn’t a finalist for the award. After all, there a record-tying six finalists for the Heisman this year, and Miller is arguably more deserving of the award than a trio of them. Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois While it is admirable that the Northern Illinois quarterback has put this MAC school in the national spotlight over the past two seasons, I still have a hard time agreeing with Lynch’s selection as a Heisman finalist. Lynch’s statistics have been eye-popping in 2013, and he very likely will the first quarterback in FBS history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. Throw in his 2,676 yards through the air, and it’s understandable why Lynch was invited to New York. The problem with all of that is that the caliber of competition Lynch has faced in 2013 has been sub-par for the most part. Miller would likely have equal, if not better numbers than what Lynch has posted in 2013 if he was able to face MAC defenses on a weekly basis. Tre Mason, Auburn Mason is the ultimate beneficiary of Auburn’s meteoric rise to the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings, and he has been stellar in Auburn’s last five games. Unfortunately, five games does not equal a season in college football, which is why Miller is more worthy of a Heisman spot than Mason. Before Auburn’s November 2 matchup against Arkansas, Mason wasn’t exactly lighting up opposing defenses in 2013. While 753 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground are respectable statistics through eight games, they aren’t quite Heisman-worthy numbers. Once the Auburn hype train really kicked into gear after its win against Georgia on November 16, all it was going to take for a Tiger to get a Heisman nod was one spectacular performance. Apparently, Mason’s 304-yard effort against Missouri in the SEC title game was enough to earn him a trip to New York. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M I’m not really sure why Manziel was named a Heisman finalist in 2013. The sophomore quarterback was never a serious challenger to become only the second player to win the award twice in what is likely his final season at the collegiate level. Though Johnny Football’s passing numbers improved a bit in 2013, his rushing statistics declined in a major way. After gaining 1,410 yards on the ground in 2012, Manziel has run for a meager 686 yards this season, averaging a not-so-hot 5.2 yards per carry. By comparison, Miller is averaging 6.8 yards per rush in 2013. Throw in the fact that Manziel did not play very well in either of the Aggies’ final two games — losses to LSU and Missouri — and it really makes you wonder sometimes about what exactly the criteria for a Heisman finalist is. Braxton Miller certainly would like to know. Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed Ohio State football for over 25 years. Sports & RecreationAmerican FootballBraxton MillerHeisman Trophy

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