FanPost

A Deeper Look Into the 2013 Heisman Vote

Consistent with history, Jameis Winston's selection as the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner featured controversy concerning the voting process. Yet, the 2013 results show fewer signs of the commonly present regional media biases, at least with respect to the points Winston received across the country:

PLAYER

SCHOOL

NORTHEAST

MID-ATLANTIC

SOUTH

SOUTHWEST

MIDWEST

FAR WEST

Jameis Winston

Florida State

339

366

390

395

353

362

AJ McCarron

Alabama

130

112

128

104

102

128

Jordan Lynch

Northern Illinois

88

80

69

93

116

112

Andre Williams

Boston College

132

89

65

56

72

56

Johnny Manziel

Texas A&M

56

63

93

105

50

54

Tre Mason

Auburn

44

71

106

91

57

35

Brian Favat, 2013 Heisman Trophy: Full Breakdown of Heisman Voting Trophy, BC Interruption, Dec. 15, 2013 available at http://www.bcinterruption.com/andre-williams-heisman-trophy-boston-college/2013/12/15/5212130/2013-heisman-trophy-final-vote-jameis-winston-florida-state

Instead, heated debate has focused on the 115 voters whose ballots were void of Jameis Winston's name altogether. While the national media can easily articulate an explanation for each candidate's presence at the award ceremony, it is infinitely more difficult to justify the conclusion that three candidates' 2013 performances better exhibited the "pursuit of excellence with integrity."

Fueling Seminole fans' frustration and perhaps other college football fans' as well, many analysts conjectured that Winston might win the Heisman Trophy by the largest margin of victory ever-just another compelling statistic to sell to recruits or tout to family, friends, and coworkers. The aforementioned 115 ballots presented a sizeable disadvantage for Winston, who ultimately won with the fifth-largest percent of total points in history.

Eric Crouch, the 2001 Heisman winner, "cited ‘the unknown' regarding allegations of sexual assault against Winston for the reason he left him off his ballot." Instead, Crouch voted: (1) Ka'Deem Carey, (2) Jordan Lynch, and (3) Marcus Mariota. Crouch stated that "it kind of hurt [him] putting [Winston] on the ballot." After meeting Winston in person, Crouch questioned his own ballot while also indicating that he watched very little of Winston's film throughout the season. (click the link for the interview).

Crouch's rationale largely explains the 115 ballots. While the allegations against Winston probably influenced most of these voters, Crouch's ballot also deserves criticism concerning its West-centric nature (players from Arizona, Illinois, and Oregon). Despite these obstacles, at least the most deserving candidate actually won.

However, because the margin of victory storyline piqued my interest I felt compelled to consider the Heisman results without including these 115 (in my opinion) suspect ballots. Because the total possible points change annually based on the number of ballots, the best metric to use seems to be the percentage of possible points. Points allocations are: (1) first place = 3 points, (2) second place = 2 points, (3) third place = 1 point. After throwing out the 155 ballots, we are left with 785 ballots:

1st

2nd

3rd

Totals

Votes

668

84

33

785

Points

2004

168

33

2205

Given 785 voters, a Heisman candidate could receive a maximum of 2355 points. Based on his 2205 points, Jameis Winston received 93.6 percent of the total possible points. Without including the 115 Winston-less ballots, Winston did receive the largest percentage of possible points-overtaking Reggie Bush, who received 91.77 percent of possible points. For those of you who do not consider Bush a Heisman winner (see "integrity"), Troy Smith is the current number 2 (or number 1) at 91.63 percent. http://www.stiffarmtrophy.com/topwinners/.

In 2006, 48 Heisman voters of 924 did not include Troy Smith on their ballots. Unlike the Winston vote, I am not aware of other factors that may have contributed to these 48 voters determining that a combination of Darren McFadden, Brady Quinn, Steve Slaton, Michael Hart, or Colt Brennan were more deserving of the award. Perhaps those of you more familiar with that year can provide insight. However, I would assume the same regional bias that partly influenced Crouch also contributed to these Smith-less ballots.

After writing all this, I decided to consider how many ballots failed to feature the ultimate winner over the last several years. It may be more prevalent than you would suspect:

Year

Player

Ballots Included

Possible Ballots

Left Off

2006

Troy Smith

876

924

48

2007

Tim Tebow

804

925

121

2008

Sam Bradford

811

926

115

2009

Mark Ingram

614

925

311

2010

Cam Newton

781

925

144

2011

RGIII

709

927

218

2012

Johnny Manziel

829

928

99

2013

Jameis Winston

785

900

115

Yet, certain years easily explain themselves. In 2009, Mark Ingram beat out Toby Gerhart, Colt McCoy, Ndamukong Suh, Tim Tebow, and C.J. Spiller. In 2011, RGIII bested Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, Montee Ball, and Tyrann Mathieu. In 2012, Johnny Manziel won over then-scandal-free Manti Te'o and Collin Klein, while facing doubts arising from his arrest. As you can see, many of these Heisman races were much more competitive than the Heisman competition this year, thus offering a good explanation as to why some voters left the winner off their ballots in years past.

While tossing out the 115 Winston-less ballots will never rewrite the record books, I did find it compelling to look at his percentage of total possible points. To help quantify this figure, Troy Smith would have a 96.6% of total possible points if you throw out the Smith-less ballots (compared to Winston's 93.6%). Although Winston may have won the Heisman with the largest percentage of total points without the off-field allegations, it turns out that Troy Smith's margin of victory set the bar extremely high. Additionally, looking at these stats demonstrated that the ultimate Heisman winner is often not included on a large portion of the ballots-though Winston's case is unique, since his performance on the field so overwhelming surpassed the competition.

At his current pace (~85% first, ~10% second, and ~4% third place) 102 voters of the 115 would have needed to include Winston on their ballot (77 first place, 14 second place, and 11 third place votes) for him to obtain 270 additional points to eclipse Troy Smith's percentage. Given his current pace (which feels accurate, since voters that included him would likely rank him without respect to the off-field incident), how likely is it that Winston would have reached this threshold?

Last, but not least, congratulations to Jameis and all the players, coaches, and staff that have returned FSU to greatness!

Looking forward to the comments and (probable) corrections.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Tomahawk Nation

You must be a member of Tomahawk Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Tomahawk Nation. You should read them.

Join Tomahawk Nation

You must be a member of Tomahawk Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Tomahawk Nation. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker