ATLANTA – Johnny Manziel might play his final college game in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
No. 20 Texas A&M, led by the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, will face No. 22 Duke in the first-ever meeting between the schools on New Year’s Eve at the Georgia Dome.
Manziel is a third-year sophomore, making him eligible to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
He hasn’t revealed his plans for next season after guiding Texas A&M to a disappointing 8-4 record, with all four losses coming against fellow Southeastern Conference teams ranked among the top 14 in The Associated Press poll.
Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said Manziel has yet to make a decision on turning pro.
“If he does, he does,” the coach said. “Right now, we’re looking through that and evaluating his future. Then we’ll go from there.”
Duke (10-3) was a surprising division winner in the Atlantic Coast Conference, posting the most wins ever at a school known more for basketball. The Blue Devils are eager to make up for their performance in the league championship game Saturday night, when they were routed by top-ranked Florida State, 45-7.
“The invitation to the Chick-fil-A Bowl is the perfect medicine for us,” coach David Cutcliffe said. “To play a team with the reputation and history and tradition they have at Texas A&M, to play the caliber of team they have, it’s going to revive our guys quickly. It didn’t go like we wanted (Saturday) night, but the nation will be watching this game, so we want to put our best foot forward.”
Manziel will clearly be the star attraction in Atlanta, and Duke could face two straight Heisman winners, in fact.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the overwhelming favorite to win the award this season.
“I’ve coached against other Heisman Trophy winners,” Cutcliffe said. “It’s never easy. They’re Heisman Trophy winners for a reason. They’re great players. That’s why the thing you have to do is focus on yourself. When you’re playing against great people, focus on playing as well as you can play. Your effect on what they do will be minimal.”
The Chick-fil-A picked a couple of teams that have never played in its game, the final season of a 22-year arrangement matching teams from the SEC and ACC.
Duke received the nod from the ACC instead of two more prominent programs, Virginia Tech and Miami, both beat Duke this year.