You might love him.
You might hate him.
You might never want to see him play again after what he did to your team.
Whatever your feelings toward Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, he remains Johnny Too Good.
Six games into the season and Manziel is just as elusive, just as inventive, just as amazing as he was last year, when he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. And apparently, you can now even vote to help him decide to wear for Halloween this year.
In what has been a season of great individual performances at every position and great games throughout the SEC, Manziel has been spectacular. He leads the conference in total offense (377 yards a game) and in passing yards per game (305.8) and in miracle, improvised plays.
Manziel is my SEC Player of the Midseason.
Team of the Midseason
Sorry, Missouri, but Alabama is No. 1, undefeated and has beaten what likely was the top defensive team (Virginia Tech) and the top offensive team (Texas A&M) it will face in 2013. The Tide have given up a combined 16 points in their past four games and gets LSU at home on Nov. 9. Folks are beginning to hope an Oregon-Alabama pairing for the national championship will become a reality.
Surprise team of the Midseason
Now we’ll talk about Missouri. I didn’t believe in them a couple of weeks ago, but they’ve proved that they can compete in the SEC. I don’t think they’ll be undefeated for much longer, with QB James Franklin out 3-5 weeks, but some folks think backup Maty Mauk is better. The Tigers’ rough stretch includes playing Florida and South Carolina the next two weeks and finishing against Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
Surprise Player of the Midseason
Mike Davis has done a great job at South Carolina, but I have to give it to LSU QB Zach Mettenberger. He’s playing with confidence and passion and making the right reads and throws. New offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is receiving a lot of credit for Mettenberger’s transformation, but a lot of it also has to go to WRs Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, the best receiving tandem in the SEC.
Top Defensive Player of the Midseason
Some defense is still being played in the SEC, most of it in Tuscaloosa, where C.J. Mosley is in charge of lining up his teammates and bringing down his opponents. I like Missouri DE Michael Sam’s intensity, but Mosley does it all for the Tide, including leading them with 48 tackles. Other players throughout the SEC have more tackles, sacks and interceptions, but Mosley is the best player on the best defense.
Freshman of the Midseason
Alex Collins is setting all kinds of freshman rushing records at Arkansas, but Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves has added to the Gators’ outstanding defensive backfield. The shutdown CB, who is tied for the SEC lead with three interceptions and eight break-ups, has tremendous athletic ability to go with a technique that most corners his age haven’t developed.
Top five games of the second half
1. LSU at Alabama, Nov. 9
2. Texas A&M at LSU, Nov. 23
3. Florida vs. Georgia, Nov. 2
4. South Carolina at Missouri, Oct. 26
5. Alabama at Auburn, Nov. 30
Midseason awards for the ACC.