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Te’o undeserving of Heisman despite team success

I bet Lou Holtz and Digger Phelps are in heaven right now. Yes, it is a great time to be a Notre Dame fan.

The Fighting Irish have just capped off a stellar undefeated season when they beat USC on primetime television and were recently selected to play in the BCS National Championship Game against defending national champ, Alabama. The game, regardless of outcome, should prove to be a great one for college football.

For starters, Notre Dame is notorious for its strong fan base that traditionally travels well. Not to mention, Notre Dame fans are not geographically centralized, like Oklahoma or Boise State, primarily due to their school’s strong religious affiliation. In fact, experts are already predicting that this may be one of the most watched title games ever.

This makes sense because these are two of the most storied programs in college football history. All I have to say is Bear Bryant, Knute Rockne, Rudy and Roll Tide. In fact, between the two teams, they have won 17 national championships combined.

But even though this might be a good matchup in every sense, there has been an unfortunate consequence: the awakening of the irrational Notre Dame fan. It is funny how they all came out of the woodwork this season. But I can handle that.

What I cannot handle are all the illogical claims made by Notre Dame fans. The most ridiculous I have heard is that Manti Te’o should win the Heisman. reports that Manti Te’o had 101 total tackles, 1.5 sacks and seven interceptions. Nobody is questioning whether Te’o had a good season, but it was not Heisman worthy. Just for comparison’s sake, Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier has more tackles (116) and sacks (five) and a pick-six, yet he is not in talks for the Heisman.

Te’o is the emotional backbone of this Notre Dame team but last time I checked the Heisman was given to the best player in college football, not the one with the most “heart.” Te’o is a defensive force, but has not put any points on the board for his team. For crying out loud, he hasn’t even forced a single fumble this year.

The last time anyone who even played defense won the Heisman was in 1997 when Charles Woodson of Michigan won it. However, Woodson accounted for four touchdowns on offense and special teams and also had eight interceptions on top of that. Te’o doesn’t have near that kind of all-around impact.

Furthermore, a Notre Dame fan might argue anymore the Heisman usually goes to the best player from the best team. Oh really? Explain Robert Griffin III and his 9-3 Baylor team last year or Troy Smith and his 2006 Ohio State team who was stomped by Florida in the title game.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Te’o and his story. I even follow him on Twitter. He is clearly a very special player marked by a special season, but the fact remains that his Heisman hopes should remain just that: hopes.

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