But he is one of just four quarterbacks to beat Alabama in the last three years. So with Ohio State preparing to face the Crimson Tide on Thursday in a College Football Playoff semifinal in the Sugar Bowl, Manziel drew what had to be the softball question of his week from cleveland.com: How do you beat Alabama?
"You absolutely give respect where it's due, and they're a program that has won numerous national championships and been at the top of the SEC. You respect them, but you don't fear them," Manziel said.
Easy enough advice from an approach standpoint, but it will take more than balancing respect vs. fear for the Buckeyes to upset the SEC champions with third-string quarterback Cardale Jones making just his second career start. Jones led a 59-0 thrashing of Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, but benefited from 301 rushing yards, plus a dominant OSU defense, and needed just 17 pass attempts to mark his first start as a win. Alabama will almost certainly put significantly more pressure on Jones to make plays in the passing game.
"My advice to (Jones) is not to try and do too much," Manziel said. "Put the pressure on Coach (Urban) Meyer and Coach (Tom) Herman to put you in good position to succeed and go from there."
Manziel beat Alabama on the road in 2012, piling up 344 total yards in a 29-24 win that took Manziel's college stardom to a different level. Roughly two years later, his NFL game needs to find a new gear, too.