HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll: Geno Smith barely holds on to lead over Collin Klein

It looks like West Virginia’s loss to Texas Tech last weekend has shaken up the Heisman race.

The latest edition of the HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll released on Tuesday still has Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith in the lead, but his margin over second-place Collin Klein of Kansas State is now razor thin.

Smith fell from 30 points and 10 first-place votes in last week’s poll to 19 points and four first-place votes this week. Meanwhile, Klein’s total increased from 16 points (with zero first-place votes) to 18 points and four first-place votes.

While the margin is close, the result points to Smith’s staying power in the race: It’s the fifth week in a row he has topped the weekly survey of Heisman voters from around the country.

“One ‘bad’ game — and it wasn’t that bad — does not negate all the good that Smith did in his previous five appearances,” said one voter. “He’s still my No. 1, but the gap has closed.”

Voters will get a good look at the two top candidates this week when Kansas State travels to Morgantown to take on West Virginia.

“I’ll be watching that game very closely,” said another voter. “It could determine how I end up voting.”

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller remained in third but increased his suppport considerably, totaling 13 points and one first-place vote. The sophomore is in good position to move up even further after next week considering that either Klein or Smith could drop following their head-to-head face off.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel was the other big gainer in this week’s poll. He surged into fourth place with seven points (including one first-place vote), and he’ll have a chance to improve upon his standing with a good performance against LSU on Saturday.

Heading into its seventh season, the former HeismanPundit.com Heisman Straw Poll has been reborn as the HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com 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 Tuesday throughout the season at CBSSports.com and at HeismanPundit.com.

The HP/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll, 10-16-2012
Player, total points (first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia — 19 (4)

2. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State — 18 (4)

3. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State — 13 (1)

4. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M — 7 (1)

5. (tie) Marqise Lee, WR, USC — 3 (1)

Manti Te’o , LB, Notre Dame — 3

7. (tie) Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon — 1

Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech — 1

Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama — 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, CBSSports.com Heisman analyst and publisher of HeismanPundit.com, 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 Heismanpundit.com, 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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