The Heisman electorate is made up of 870 media members plus 56 former winners. It’s a bit of a fun exercise to try to figure out where those 56 votes will end up. Here’s a few assumptions we can make:
— Notre Dame’s four living Heisman winners will vote for Te’o.
— Ohio State’s four living Heisman winners will vote for Miller.
— USC’s six living Heisman winners will vote for Lee.
— Texas A&M’s one living Heisman winner will vote for Manziel.
That leaves 41 more winners up for grabs.
In keeping with the fun of this excercise, here’s how I think the remaining Heisman winner votes might be apportioned and why:
Robert Griffin III — RG3 was recruited by Kevin Sumlin at one point, so I think he’ll go with a fellow Texas spread quarterbacking legend.
Cam Newton — He’ll go with the guy who broke his SEC total offense mark, I would think.
Sam Bradford — Another guy from the Sumlin school.
Charlie Ward — He would appreciate his fellow undersized, dual-threat quarterback.
Ty Detmer — Another undersized quarterback with Texas high school origins.
Andre Ware — A former Houston quarterback, where Sumlin used to coach.
Bo Jackson — I think he’ll go with the guy who knocked off his arch-rival, Alabama.
Doug Flutie — Um, do we need to wonder why here?
Herschel Walker — He couldn’t win it as a freshman. Maybe he wants someone to finally break that barrier. Or does he?
George Rogers — He’ll stick with the SEC candidate.
Earl Campbell — His affinity for a fellow Texas high school legend will overcome his hatred of the Aggies.
Steve Spurrier — He saw Manziel up close and will no doubt select him.
Roger Staubach — Another mobile quarterback from back in the day with a close-cropped haircut.
Billy Cannon — He’ll go with the SEC candidate.
Tim Tebow — Klein has been called “another Tebow,” and not just because of his style of play.
Jason White — I think he’d be the type who appreciates what Klein has accomplished in his career.
Eric Crouch — A very similar player to Klein who would probably be loyal to his Big 12 roots.
Danny Wuerffel — Another clean-living quarterback with a funky throwing motion.
Steve Owens — The grind-it-out fullback made his living near the goal line, like Klein.
Gary Beban — A multi-purpose quarterback who beat out the flashier O.J. Simpson in 1967.
Desmond Howard — Exciting all-purpose player picks another?
Ron Dayne — That Badger loyalty will kick in.
Alan Ameche — More Badger loyalty.
Joe Bellino — This is a stretch, but a service academy winner might relate more to a player from long-time foe Notre Dame.
Pete Dawkins — Another player who might have a soft spot for academic-minded Notre Dame.
So that gives us this total from the former winners:
Manziel — 15 votes
Lee — 7 votes
Klein — 6 votes
Te’o — 6 votes
Miller — 4 votes
Ball — 2 votes
That leaves the following 11 winners for whom I can’t discern a connection with any of the major contenders:
Chris Weinke, Florida State
Ricky Williams, Texas
Charles Woodson, Michigan
Rashaan Salaam, Colorado
Gino Torretta, Miami
Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State
Vinny Testaverde, Miami
Mike Rozier, Nebraska
Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh
John Cappalletti, Penn State
Terry Baker, Oregon State
Even if we give these votes out evenly amongst all the contenders, it looks like Manziel is the candidate most likely to win the plurality of Heisman winner votes. In a close race, it could make all the difference.