The Heisman Trophy winner for this college football season seemingly was determined in December 2011 when quarterback Matt Barkley decided to return to Southern California. But things didn't work out for Barkley or USC, and he won't even be in New York as a finalist.
The race took more turns, including the rise and fade of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, the surge of Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein that seemingly was derailed when the Wildcats lost and the star turn of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. Will Manziel become the first freshman to win? Will Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o become the first full-time defensive player to take home the award? Or did Klein sway voters back in his direction with his win against Texas in the regular-season finale? The award will be presented Saturday (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).
USA TODAY Sports Media Group had three voters make a case for one of the top candidates.