Matt Barkley holds off Geno Smith to lead season’s first Heismanpundit/ Heisman Straw Poll

USC quarterback Matt Barkley held off a surge from West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith to once again top the Heismanpundit/ Heisman Straw Poll, a survey of Heisman voter sentiment released every Tuesday.

Barkley, the leader in the preseason edition of the straw poll, collected nine out of a possible 11 first-place votes and totaled 28 points after throwing for 372 yards and four touchdowns against Hawaii on Saturday.

The gap between Barkley and his nearest challenger narrowed a bit this week, however, as Smith’s five-touchdown performance against Marshall pushed him into second place with 17 points. Smith nearly tripled his point total since the preseason poll, when he was third with six points.

Michigan State running back Le’Veon Bell made his first appearance in the survey, landing in third place on the heels of a 210-yard rushing game against Boise State, a feat that impressed some on the panel

“Boise State plays really tough, fundamentally sound defense but Le’Veon rung their bell,” said one voter.

Other notable moves in this week’s poll: Oregon sophomore running back De’Anthony Thomas grabbed a first-place vote to finish fourth with five points and USC sophomore wide receiver Marqise Lee captured the panel’s final first-place vote to debut in sixth place with three points.

“The Marqise of USC might be the best player in the country at every position,” a panelist noted.

Heading into its seventh season, the former Heisman Straw Poll has been reborn as the HeismanPundit/ Heisman Straw Poll. It has been the most accurate Heisman poll in the country the last five seasons, with the final 2011 poll correctly picking the top seven finishers. It is made up of 11 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for three players each week. Tabulations are made on a 3-2-1 basis (just like a real Heisman ballot), with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.

Each week’s poll will be released on Tuesdays throughout the season at and at

The HP/ Heisman Straw Poll, 9-4-2012
Player, total points (first place votes in parentheses)

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC — 28 (9)

2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia — 17

3. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State — 6

4. De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon — 5 (1)

5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin — 4

6. Marqise Lee, WR, USC — 3 (1)

7. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina — 2

8. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson — 1

About the Voting Panel

The 11 members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando SentinelTom Dienhart of The Big Ten NetworkMichael Lev of the Orange County RegisterBruce FeldmanDennis Dodd and Bryan Fischer of CBSSports.comDick Weiss of the New York Daily NewsLenn Robbins of the New York PostJenni Carlson of The Oklahoman and Dave Hackenberg of The Toledo BladeChris Huston, Heisman analyst and publisher of, coordinates and also votes in the weekly poll.


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About Heismanpundit

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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One Response to Matt Barkley holds off Geno Smith to lead season’s first Heismanpundit/ Heisman Straw Poll

  1. Carlos September 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Laughable. No Johnathan Franklin? He’s pretty much out-performed Matt Barkley and De’Anthony Thomas.