The week that was in the always unpredictable life of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel:
- Manziel's draft stock is definitely up, particularly with the news that one of the few college quarterbacks who had a legitimate chance to be drafted ahead of Manziel -- Oregon's Marcus Mariota -- will stay in college for at least another year. For the NFL clubs intent on spending an early draft pick on a quarterback, that slides the candidates up one spot each.
- Speaking of the NFL draft, the stakes go up now for Manziel where his off-field decisions are concerned. The season (bowl game excepted) is over now. And if Manziel elects to turn pro early, as everyone except the guy running this Facebook page expects, NFL clubs will soon be turning over every stone in College Station looking for evidence of maturity. Or immaturity. If Johnny Football thought reporters and social media knew how to pry, he hasn't seen anything yet. Multi-million-dollar draft investments aren't made without due diligence.
- For the second week in a row, Manziel's play was down in a season-ending loss to Missouri. He threw for just 195 yards, rushed for just 21, and struggled to hook up with star receiver Mike Evans (four catches, 8 yards). The result: Missouri now crashes the SEC Championship Game party as SEC East champs, and Johnny Football's legacy at Texas A&M lost just a bit more shine. No doubt, it was Missouri's night:
- Johnny Football's place on the bowl tier is on the way down with back-to-back losses to end the season. Not long ago, a second straight trip to the home-state Cotton Bowl for Johnny Football looked like a solid prospect. Now, not so much. A look around the latest bowl projections has Johnny Football finishing his season on smaller stages. Bowl pundits now have the Aggies in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta against Duke or Miami, or perhaps the Outback Bowl against a Big Ten team. In other words, matchups with little to offer excitement-wise except Johnny Football running around for one last time.
*Manziel turns 21 today, so *Chronicles takes a festive turn for the moment.
» The bloggers over at bustedcoverage.com seem to think Manziel celebrated #21 in Vegas Thursday night and is opening the wallet for proof. So far? A couple of vague Tweets from friends that don't reveal too much. UPDATE: Leave it to TMZ to beat bustedcoverage.com to the punch. The celebrity news and gossip site claims this photo with a fan was taken at a nightclub in Vegas. Not exactly evidence of a raucous, off-the-hook party, but for now, Manziel has at least been placed in Sin City.
» By the way, could Manziel's birthday have possibly fallen at a worse time for Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin? A week earlier, and Manziel would have had to keep things subdued with another game left to play. A week later, and bowl preparations might have called for something nearly as low-key. But no -- it fell perfectly into a brief window in which players have a little respite between the season and bowl prep. Almost as if Manziel planned it that way.
» Remember when Manziel's constant refrain in front of every microphone at SEC Media Days, while trying to explain the Manning Passing Academy debacle, was "I'm a 20-year-old kid, I'm still learning"? Well, Johnny, you're not 20 anymore. [Insert maturity joke here].
» Manziel himself broke months of Twitter silence on his birthday, acknowledging the milestone. But there wasn't much sense to be made of it:
Alas, no details provided on any wild junkets to Sin City.
» In honor of his 21st, businessinsider.com posted a nice pictorial recap of Johnny Football's knack for having a good time. Yep, businessinsider.com. Inside Johnny Football's business.