Collin Klein takes commanding lead in latest HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll

A seven-touchdown performance in a rout of West Virginia has vaulted Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein into a commanding lead in the latest HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll released Tuesday.

Klein totaled 31 points while capturing 10 of 11 first-place votes from the weekly panel of Heisman voters from around the country. That put him 21 points ahead of his nearest competition, linebacker Manti Te’o of Notre Dame (10 points). The gap between the first- and second-place leaders in this poll is the largest of any of the nine Heismanpundit/CBSSports.com polls released so far this season.

“Klein only had one other scholarship offer — from Colorado State– coming out of high school, but everyone in the offensive-minded Big 12 is salivating over his multi-dimensional offensive talents,” said one voter. “He is playing like the most productive quarterback in the country.”

Te’o’s season to date has also impressed voters.

“He is the inspirational linchpin of Notre Dame’s best defense in 20 seasons,” one voter said.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was third in the poll with six points, followed by a trio of players in a tie for fourth — former straw-poll leader Geno Smith of West Virginia, Kenjon Barner of Oregon and Braxton Miller of Ohio State.

USC wide receiver Marqise Lee received the panel’s remaining first-place vote.

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 during 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, 10-23-2012
Player, total points (first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State — 31 (10)

2. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame — 10

3. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama — 6

4. (tie) Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia — 4

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State — 4

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon — 4

7. (tie) Marqise Lee, WR, USC — 3 (1)

Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech — 3

9. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M — 1

About the Voting Panel

The 11 members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Tom Dienhart of The Big Ten Network, Michael Lev of the Orange County Register, Bruce Feldman, Dennis Dodd and Bryan Fischer of CBSSports.com, Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News, Lenn Robbins of the New York Post, Jenni Carlson of The Daily Oklahoman and Dave Hackenberg of the Toledo Blade. Chris Huston, CBSSports.com Heisman analyst and publisher of HeismanPundit.com, coordinates and also votes in the weekly poll.

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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