Te'o, however, served as the season's Cy Young hurler in a juice ball era. Notre Dame is the lone undefeated team with the No. 1 defense, and Te'o anchors it.
There's no hallowed 61 here. The numbers are juiced and yet Te'o is pitching a near-perfect game.
Consider this stat unleashed Saturday night - way too late to persuade any pro-Manziel electors - during ESPN's one-hour television event: Te'o played 98 percent of defensive snaps for Notre Dame this season, yet missed only two tackles.
This voter heard a lot about the tackling of Te'o in the past few weeks. If total tackles is your barometer of a quality defensive player, find a new argument.
The job is to create turnovers (Te'o led the country in takeaways with nine) and force punts, preferably with three-and-outs. The more takeaways and the more punts, the fewer opportunities for tackles.
The top tackler in the country was Dan Molls, who had 166 for Toledo, which ranked No. 106 in total defense.
Here's a list of the other teams with a defensive player in the top 10 in tackles, along with total defense ranking: UAB (84), Boston College (101), Tennessee (110), Army (85), Iowa (46), Kentucky (60), Marshall (102), Houston (115), Nevada (87) and Miami of Ohio (107).
As the clock ticked toward the deadline for the Heisman vote, I also thought about how several persons told me the remarkable story of Te'o shouldn't be considered. The well-chronicled deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend, they said, shouldn't earn him sentimental bonus points.
The Heisman Trust disagrees.
"Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work," reads one line on the Trust's website.
I'd say Te'o fits that. Anyone who missed that is halfway to the number of Manti's missed tackles this season.
* * *
FULL DISCLOSURE, West Virginia senior Tavon Austin received the third spot on my ballot.
Austin finished with six first-place votes, four second-place votes and 21 third-place votes. The Mountaineers' all-purpose diminutive dynamo finished eighth overall, the first top 10 finish by a WVU player since Pat White placed seventh in 2008.
My logic for Austin was simple: He was the best player I saw in person this season. My candidates after Te'o and Manziel were closely bunched - about a dozen or so qualified for my final spot.
Austin played the best against the best.
He averaged 230.9 total yards per game, but that figure was 255.8 against teams with a winning record and 275.6 yards against top 50 defenses.
He is 490 yards from Barry Sanders' NCAA record for all-purpose yards, which Sanders set in his 1988 Heisman winning season.
Contact sports editor Chuck McGill at chuck.mcg...@dailymail.com or 304-348-7949.