Luck Holds Off Weeden and Richardson In Latest Heismanpundit Straw Poll

With less than three weeks to go until ballots are due, the Heisman race is up for grabs.

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck’s once-formidable lead has narrowed considerably in the latest Heisman Straw Poll released on Tuesday (Nov. 15).

Luck (25 points) edged out Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden (21 points) to top the weekly survey, which consists of 13 actual Heisman voters from around the country. It’s the 12-straight week that Luck has led the balloting.

But Weeden–fifth with just 3 points in last week’s poll–won the battle of first-place votes, beating out Luck, 5-4. The Stanford junior was able to maintain his lead based on his appearance on 11 ballots compared to Weeden’s 9.

“This was the toughest ballot of the season,” said one voter.

Still within striking distance of both quarterbacks is Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who tallied 18 points and 2 first-place votes.

Houston quarterback Case Keenum picked up a first place vote and 7 points to place fourth.

A three-way-tie for fifth ensued between Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein and Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, who each totaled 2 points.

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball finished in eighth with 1 point.

Now in its sixth season, the Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for three players each week. Tabulations are made on a 3-2-1 basis, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.  In each of the last three years, the final Heismanpundit poll has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country.

The 2011 Heismanpundit Straw Poll, 11-15-2011
Player, total points (first place votes in parentheses)

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford — 25 (4)

2. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State — 21 (5)

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama — 18 (2)

4. Case Keenum, QB, Houston — 7 (1)

5T. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor —  2

5T. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State — 2

5T. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State — 2

8. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin — 1

About the Voting Panel
The 13 members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan of, Tom Dienhart of The Big Ten Network, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports, J.B. Morris of ESPN the Magazine, Austin MurphyB.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News.  Chris Huston, publisher of, coordinates and also votes in the weekly poll.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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16 Responses to Luck Holds Off Weeden and Richardson In Latest Heismanpundit Straw Poll

  1. Trickster November 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I hope I’m not getting tiresome here, but I just hate it when the Heisman gets decided before the season starts. Based on what has happened on the field in 2011, what is the principled reason for Luck to be ahead of Kellen Moore or Russell Wilson?

    None of them play on a championship contender. All three play for a team that is in the 2nd flight right behind the contenders.

    Stats: Wilson 1st, Moore 2nd, Luck 3rd.
    Strength of schedule: Moore 1st, Wilson 2nd, Luck 3rd.
    Biggest win: Moore 1st (Georgia – 13th in AP); Wilson 2nd (Nebraska – 17th in AP); Luck 3rd (USC – 18th in AP). Moore and Wilson led very solid wins against these teams, while Stanford’s win was in OT.

    I’m not trying to cherry-pick. Seriously, what is the reason for Luck to be ahead of these guys based on 2011 performance? And if it’s to be a career achievement award, then how about Moore, whose career achievements put Luck’s to shame?

    • CowboyKS November 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

      Luck has the tallest longest armed set of receivers the NCAA has ever seem. 7 are 6’4″ or taller, 3 of which are 6’6″ or better.against Oregon, he did have a few dropped balls – balls thrown behind or over his receivers that most receivers would have never reached. Throw better balls and his completion % goes up.
      If Luck were on the OkState squad, he would make 2nd or 3rd string. He doesn’t have the accuracy to hit normal sized receivers in stride.

      • GMan November 16, 2011 at 10:21 am #

        So by your logic, you could have thrown Manute Bol out on to the field as a receiver, and his quarterback would have become a god. Luck’s #1 receiver is a walk-on who played lacrosse for two years.

    • CRSTFR November 17, 2011 at 6:04 am #

      Trickster-you’re wrong!

      SOS was not even invented or thought about when the Heisman started let alone conference affiliation which nowadays dictates that.

      The Heisman is sham in the modern era and the media controls the winner, not the previous Heisman winners whose votes are almost as worthless as the public vote.

      Stats: Keenum-1st

      And for a career achievement award Moore has only the win record and Keenum owns all the others.

      • Trickster November 17, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

        I wouldn’t really argue with Keenum getting it. There’s obviously an argument to be made for him, which is the raw stats.

        You should also acknowledge that there’s also an obvious argument to be made against him, namely, he has not been tested by having to play against a good team or a strong defense.

        I am always willing to hear the siren song of stats, but the Heisman voters usually aren’t. You do get your occasional Ty Detmer or Ed Marinaro, but it’s pretty rare that the voters will stray away from power teams, and usually it’s somebody who plays for a national championship contender.

        Guys like Keenum usually don’t win, and it looks like this year will not be an exception to that. As I said above, I wouldn’t complain if he won, but I also wouldn’t complain if he doesn’t. That would just be normal Heisman arithmetic.

        • Heismanpundit November 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

          I think what everyone forgets in all this back and forth is that all these players are excellent and worthy candidates for the Heisman.

          What it all just boils down to is what voters prefer. It’s just like judging a beauty pageant. Some people like the swimsuit competition, others like evening wear and a few prefer the Q&A.

          It’s all subjective. Voters are tasked with sifting through a lot of conflicting and confusing data at times. There’s no easy way to quantify the ‘most outstanding’ player.

          Voters like Luck because his team has done well, he comes from a great QB tradition, he’s putting up good numbers in a run-oriented offense and he’s being touted as a great NFL talent.

          Voters like Weeden because his team has done well, he’s putting up good numbers in an explosive numbers and his team might play for the national title.

          Voters like Richardson because his team has done well, he’s putting up good numbers in a tough league and he is being touted as a future NFL talent.

          Voters like Keenum because his team has done well and he’s putting up amazing season and career numbers.

          As you can see, there’s really not a WHOLE lot to separate these guys. They probably all deserve to win the Heisman but it’s up to the voters to weight it all and figure out who deserves it the MOST.

  2. TJ November 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Pundit summed it up a few articles ago: “The default choice for the Heisman is Luck. Voters feel safe with him and they know they can’t go wrong choosing him. They know that they are voting for a guy who is a future NFL star at quarterback (or so they have been told). If they are going to pick someone else besides Luck, that guy has to prove himself to be clearly the most outstanding player in college football.”

    — Basically these voters just don’t know what to do, are tired of thinking about it, and are going to “stick with Luck”. Other players have a subpar outing and are permanently eliminated from consideration. Luck has 2 interceptions and a fumble in a late-season loss (at home), and its no big deal, he’ll still win it. It seems its just too late for the voters to change their minds, so what happens in these late games really doesn’t matter.

  3. CM November 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Big game by Trent Richardson in the Iron Bowl on national tv combined with an Oklahoma State loss= Richardson wins the Heisman.

    I think Luck fatigue is setting in out there. He’s been (over)hyped to the nth degree…people became enamored because he turned down the NFL millions to return to school. Great QB…yes, he is. But Stanford finally played a team with a pulse (sorry USC, this isn’t 2005) and he looked barely above average, at best…certainly not all world. Yes, Luck now gets Cal and Notre Dame (both unranked with crappy defenses) to beat up on…and I do think he’s still the default candidate…but it’s definitely wide open now. Weeden is kinda following Luck’s MO…huge stats against absolutely HORRIBLE defenses all season long. To just think, if Bama’s TE catches that pass at the 1 yard line and Trent Richardson likely runs it in for the winning TD over LSU, this isn’t even really a debate anymore.

    • DJ November 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

      Since we’re playing “what if”: if Luck had the receivers that some of these other candidates have, it wouldn’t be a debate either. Look at last game (where he lost his big lead in the polls): there were 5-6 dropped balls, one of which was tipped to a defender for an interception and others that killed drives. Without those, the game is a lot closer plus Luck’s stats look amazing instead of just very good. He did make a couple of uncharacteristically bad decisions and had a below average game for him, but he also didn’t get much help.

      It’s been similar all season — if I remember correctly, 3 of his 7 interceptions actually hit the Stanford receiver in the hands.

      Although Stanford’s talent has gotten a lot better in the past few years, Luck isn’t surrounded by the same talent that many of the BCS contending schools have. This especially plays out toward the end of the season as there is a bigger drop-off if anyone is injured. Against Oregon, he was missing two of his leading receivers (Owusu and Ertz) and unfortunately it showed as the other guys didn’t make enough plays.

      Be honest: if Luck had played for Oklahoma State, Houston or Boise State, which quarterback would you start? It’s admittedly a tougher comparison against Richardson given different positions, but you get the idea.

  4. Thomas November 15, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    It’s really too bad the Heisman is determined before all of the bowl games.

    If Case Keenum carries UH to a BCS game his stock should soar. Doesn’t matter what conference you play in, going 13-0 in FBS deserves some respect. His stats are so far above and beyond any other player that all media outlets and pundits consider him just a cog in the system (or perhaps just a Coog–half humor, half Andre Ware rule).

    It sure would be interesting if the projections hold true and UH plays Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Top FBS defense versus top FBS offense. No one in the media gives UH or Keenum any credit as being a superior top rated team and player. It’s a real shame Keenum will get his real chance after all ballots have been cast and the winner declared.

    Perhaps the best the career leader in total offense, passing yards, and touchdowns can do is NOT get proper consideration from all the talking heads and experts who write off his stats as just part of the system, only to come back in a nationally televised BCS bowl game against the best defense in the nation and demolish a team that even the #1 team in the nation couldn’t muster more than 3 field goals against.

    And perhaps that is why Keenum has no way of possibly winning the Heisman Trophy despite being the statistically best QB in the history of college football–voters have to defend their vote after the fact. A BCS bound UH team with a Heisman winner getting embarassed in the Sugar Bowl would be indefensible by the voters. Credibility would be shot. On the other hand if a non-Heisman winning Keenum takes UH into New Orleans and suprises the nation versus Alabama, there will be an article or two praising the outstanding QB and how he should have won the Heisman, but after a week or two all will be forgotten.

  5. Thomas November 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    It’s a absolute travisty that Keenum gets written off as a “system” QB while Weeden gets so much praise.

    News flash! C-USA and Big XII pass defenses are very comparable statistically, and if you really wanted to nit-pick C-USA has BETTER pass defense than the Big XII. Instead of believing the bias that the Big XII must be better, really look up the facts. C-USA teams allow an average of 247 passing yards per game with Big XII defenses averaging 253 passing yards per game. C-USA teams have 9.66 interceptions and have allowed 16.4 passing TDs on average while Big XII sits at 9.1 int and 16.3 TDs allowed per team.

    Playing against comparable conference defenses Keenum’s statistical performance blows Weeden out of the water both for this season and for his career.

    Keenum has thrown for more than twice as many yards as Weeden in his career. Keenum has the FBS record 144 career TD passes (so far) while Weeden sits at 69 TD passes. This season Keenum has thrown for 316 more yards, 6 more TDs, and 6 fewer interceptions than Weeden despite having thrown 52 fewer passes. Keenum averages more than 2 yards farther than Weeden on every passing attempt thrown (10.51 vs. 8.49). Keenum has a QB rating nearly 30 points higher too (193.3 to 164.2). How about comparing their TD-to-INT ratios, Weeden a respectable 3.4 to 1 while Keenum sits at an astounding 12.3 to 1.

    Exactly how good would Keenum’s numbers have to be to have to break through the UH bias?

  6. Thomas November 15, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Exactly how good would Keenum’s numbers have to be to have to break through the UH bias?

    The best and perhaps only way to understand and legitimize Case Keenum’s oustanding season is by comparing him to himself. UH hasn’t changed their offensive strategy over the past five seasons and therefore their “system” ought to provide similar statistical output. Reasonable arguement, no?

    Previous three seasons with at least 250 pass attempts Keenum had QB ratings of 147.6, 159.9, and 154.8. This season thus far he has put up a QB rating of 193.3.

    Previous three seasons with at least 250 pass attempts Keenum had yards per attempt averages of 8.28, 8.52, and 8.10. This season thus far he has put up 10.51 yards per attempt.

    Previous three seasons with at least 250 pass attempts Keenum had TD-INT ratios of 1.4, 4, and 2.9. This season thus far he has a TD to INT ratio of 12.3 to 1.

    Previous three seasons Keenum was starting QB UH had records of 8-5, 8-5, and 10-4. They are 10-0 so far this season.

    Yes, UH has a system that creates opportunities for QBs to put up good numbers. But Keenum hasn’t put up good numbers this season. He has put up outstanding numbers.

  7. Craig November 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    And Keenum is still the best college QB in NCAA history. He runs the same offense as Weeden, installed by Dana Holgorsen (now head coach at West Virgina, where they run a fledgling version of it until they get the right people in). Holgorsen has said Keenum is the best quarterback he has coached, much better than Weeden.

    Keenum calls far more plays than Weeden and doesn’t stare over at the sidelines as the coaches switch the plays – Keenum handles that. People wanted to knock Keenum for being 23, but I hear nothing about Weeden being the average age of a 6 year NFL player.

    This BCS double standard is crap. Look at Keenum’s number when UH stomped a mudhole in Oklahoma State AT Stillwater in 2009. Look at what Keenum has done to every team he has ever played. He’s had only one bad game in his college career.

    It’s frustrating as Keenum puts up the best numbers EVER in college football, and people want to vote his ass 4th for the trophy. Just sad. If it were so easy to do what he’s doing, why has no one ever done it before?

  8. CRSTFR November 17, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    If Keenum is a “system” QB, then so is Weeden minus the stats.

    Look at the last 9 yrs. of Heisman winners. That’s just 9 fnyrs!

    2002 Carson Palmer* USC Quarterback 1,328
    2003 Jason White Oklahoma Quarterback 1,481
    2004 Matt Leinart USC Quarterback 1,325
    2005 Reggie Bush (vacated)[n 1] [n 2][n 3] USC Running back 2,541
    2006 Troy Smith Ohio State Quarterback 2,540
    2007 Tim Tebow Florida Quarterback 1,957
    2008 Sam Bradford* Oklahoma Quarterback 1,726
    2009 Mark Ingram, Jr. Alabama Running back 1,304
    2010 Cam Newton* Auburn Quarterback 2,263

    USC-2 QB’s
    OU-2 QB’s
    Bama-1 RB in 2009 and now Richardson is up for the Heisman 2 YEARS LATER?

    Those look like “systems” to me.

    And don’t even get me started how every yr. we have to hear about a Michigan or Notre Dame QB is in the mix. They would win b/c they would have pulled those programs out of the ashes of mediocrity the last 10+ yrs.

    • Heismanpundit November 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      You are misunderstanding what the term ‘system’ means here.

      In Keenum’s case, it is that his system is specifically designed to produce QBs with big numbers. One can expect that with that system, so voters take that into account.

  9. Jacob November 18, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Collin Klein for Heisman!

    Here’s why: This award is not about glorifying teams with the best record, instead it is about honoring the single player that makes the largest yearly impact in college football.

    Here’s why part II: He is on track to DESTROY 2001 Heisman Trophy winner, Eric Crouch’s, numbers in all offensive categories.

    To Conclude: Overlooking Klein as a top tier QB because of KSU’s lack of consistent defensive play (resulting in KSU’s only 2 losses) would clearly show a lack of good judgement on behalf of Heisman voters.