Manziel adds Player of the Year, Sanchez benched, Lakers survive Bobcats, NCAAB ranked teams roll, US 28th in final 2012 FIFA rankings + Free Play for Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Johnny Football adds AP Play of the Year to his Heisman

Two weeks ago, Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Tuesday, Manziel became the first freshman to win the AP Player of the Year award. Manziel’s 31 votes were more than twice that of second place finisher Manti Te’o, Notre Dame’s linebacker. He is the third straight Heisman-winning quarterback to receive the honor, following Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton. The 6-foot-1 Manziel threw for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 1,181 yards and 19 more scores to help the Aggies win 10 games for the first time since 1998.

South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney thinks he can win Heisman

Manti Te’o almost became the first true defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy this year. Gamecock pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney finished sixth this year and has his eyes set on the 2013 Heisman. Clowney was a consensus All-American and also won the Hendricks Award this year as the best defensive end in college. Mel Kuiper Jr says that if Clowney was eligible to come out this year, he’s be the first player taken in the draft. Here is ESPN’s take.

McElroy to start for the Jets, Tebow expected to ask for trade

With the Jets officially eliminated from the playoffs, head coach Rex Ryan has officially pulled the trigger in benching Mark Sanchez. Greg McElroy will start on Sunday vs the Chargers. Sanchez was intercepted four times and fumbled in the final 30 seconds of Monday’s 14-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans. In related Jets news, multiple sources have Tim Tebow requesting a trade from the Flyboys in the off-season after not being named to replace Sanchez.

Lakers come from 18 down to edge Bobcats, Noah triple-double

Teams coming home off long road trips generally don’t play well and are generally put on upset alert or at least rate a fade at the betting window. That’s exactly what happened to the Lakers on Tuesday in a 101-100 victory over the Bobcats, a team that has traditionally given them fits. Even with Pao Gasol back in the lineup, the Lakers found themselves down by 18 (80-62) in the third quarter and staring down the barrel of an 0-12 mark when trailing after three quarters but …. a big fourth quarter led by Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace saw the Lake Show through.

All four NCAAB ranked teams win by double-digits

Four ranked teams played in college hoops on Tuesday and all four came away with easy victories. Fourth-ranked Arizona spanked Oral Robets 89-64, No.7 Ohio State extended late to beat Winthrop 65-55, No.9 Kansas rock chalked Richmond 87-59, and No.18 San Diego State won their money game with Point Loma 76-49. There is a full slate of college hoops tonight including the first Xavier/Cincinnati meeting since last year’s brawl.

FIFA releases 2012 year end soccer rakings, Spain reigns

After capturing Euro 2012 over the summer, Spain maintained it’s stranglehold on FIFA’s top ranking for the fifth consecutive year. Germany and Argentina stay in second and third place respectively, while Euro 2012 finalists Italy move up one place to fourth and Colombia – who had been 36th a year ago – are up to fifth. There were no new entrants to the top ten, which also features England, Portugal, Netherlands, Russia and Croatia.

Ivory Coast are the highest-ranked African team in the list, while Brazil, whose status as World Cup hosts has meant a lack of competitive action, drop to 18th. Japan is the highest ranked Asian team at 22nd.

In North and Central America, Mexico dropped a spot to 15th, the US fell to 28th and Haiti became the third best-ranked CONCACAF side as they moved up 18 places to an all-time high of 39th.

The FIFA World Ranking is based on a four-year cycle, taking into account results, status of matches, the strength of the opposition and the strength of football in the region.

1 Spain 1606
2 Germany 1437
3 Argentina 1290
4 Italy 1165
5 Colombia 1164
6 England 1151
7 Portugal 1144
8 Netherlands 1124
9 Russia 1070
10 Croatia 1064
11 Greece 1033
12 Switzerland 1004
13 Ecuador 999
14 Côte d’Ivoire 995
15 Mexico 994
16 Uruguay 975
17 France 949
18 Brazil 946 -5
19 Algeria 887
20 Sweden 870
21 Belgium 868
22 Japan 840
23 Denmark 821
24 Norway 810
25 Mali 809
26 Chile 793
27 Bosnia-Herzegovina 788
28 USA 782
29 Czech Republic 781
30 Ghana 777
31 Montenegro 756
32 Hungary 750
33 Romania 700
34 Zambia 697
35 Korea Republic 686
36 Australia 668
37 Paraguay 666
38 Serbia 659
39 Haiti 650 18
40 Turkey 627
41 Egypt 615
42 Bolivia 609
42 Gabon 609
42 Republic of Ireland 609
45 Tunisia 606
46 Peru 603
47 Slovakia 595
47 Ukraine 595
49 Slovenia 591
50 Bulgaria 585

Free Play

(NBA) Charlotte +9.5 over Phoenix (Wednesday, December 19, 9:05 PM EST)

Free Pick record in December: 8-9