Heisman Trophy ballots have been cast, including mine.
I'm pretty sure I didn't pick the winner.
And I'm perfectly fine with that.
On the day Heisman ballots were due, it became increasingly clear that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will win. He sits at the top of every reputable straw poll. He dominates the Heisman hype.
No reason to believe he won't win.
Doesn't mean he should.
The Heisman has become a flavor-of-the-month award. Actually, a month might be too long. It's more like the flavor of the moment.
The race for the most recognized trophy in sports has become a beauty contest.
Voters are tasked with selecting “the outstanding college football player.” The Downtown Athletic Club's executive director once told me that having that vague criteria was by design. The Heisman's awarding body wants the voters to decide what “the outstanding college football player” means to them.
To me, it's means individual excellence and team success.
The first part is self-explanatory. Look at the players who have the best stats, and you're likely looking at the guys who I'm considering for the Heisman.
But to me, the award is about more than stats. I consider not only what a player has done but also what his team has done and the role he's had.
Who is most valuable to their team? And by extension, who has most helped their team win?
Winning is vital on my Heisman ballot.
Because winning is vital in college football.
Under the current system, winning is paramount. You have to win to play for a national title. If you don't, you run the risk of not making that one-game, winner-take-all playoff.
College football is unlike any other sport because of that. Look at any other college sport or any professional league, and you'll see that winning is important but that teams don't have to win every game they play to make the playoff. Teams that lose a third of their games make the NCAA basketball tournament or the NFL playoffs all the time.
College football teams that lose a third of their games go to the New Orleans Bowl.
Even when college football goes to a four-team playoff in 2014, winning will still be held at a higher premium than any other sport.
Hence the reason I weigh winning heavily when evaluating Heisman candidates. A player's team doesn't have to be undefeated, but if it has lost, how did he play?
That's why I didn't put Manziel at the top of my Heisman ballot.
Johnny Football and the Aggies lost two games this season, and his play was a big reason why. In a three-point loss to Florida, he threw for only 173 yards and no touchdowns and ran for 60 yards and one touchdown. In a five-point loss to LSU, he threw for 267 yards but had three interceptions. On the ground, he managed only 27 yards and scored no touchdowns.
In both games, the Texas A&M defense played well enough for the Aggies to win.
Manziel did not.
But because Texas A&M went to Alabama and won, Manziel has become the Heisman front-runner.
What is this, a middle school student council election?
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o received my vote for Heisman, followed by Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein second and Manziel third. I voted Te'o and Klein over Manziel because of what they and their teams did over the course of the entire season, not just one or two games.
Manziel is a fantastic player, and come Saturday evening, he will probably be the Heisman Trophy winner.
That doesn't mean I have to give him my vote.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.