Remember the regions


Barring a late surge toward one of the remaining candidates, I foresee this Heisman race ended up with the most evenly distributed results in recent memory.

By that I mean that we could very well see a relatively small gap between the point total of the winner and the point total of, say, the sixth or seventh-place finisher.

The most recent example of this was in 2001, when Eric Crouch won the Heisman with 770 points, just 503 points ahead of sixth-place Antwaan Randle El of Indiana. In 1962, Oregon State’s Terry Baker won the award with 707 points, just 453 points ahead of seventh-place George Saimes of Michigan State.

To provide a bit of perspective on this, here is the point gap between 1st and 6th for the other races since Crouch’s win:

2012 — 1,968

2011 — 1,534

2010 — 2,179

2009 — 1,081

2008 — 1,661

2007 — 1,807

2006 — 2,338

2005 — 2,512

2004 — 1,138

2003 — 1,545

2002 — 1,176

When Crouch won in 2001, he did so while capturing just one of the six Heisman-voting regions, the Southwest (since Nebraska was in the Big 12 then). Miami’s Ken Dorsey won the North East, Florida’s Rex Grossman won the Mid-Atlantic and the South, Oregon’s Joey Harrington won the Far West and Randle El won the Midwest.

Crouch ended up nipping Grossman by 62 points due to his taking second in the Northeast, MidWest and Far West and third in the Mid-Atlantic and South. Grossman’s fourth-place finish in the SouthWest and West accounted for the small difference between the two.

In 2013, we could see a similar distribution throughout the regions, which is why I think we might see a similarly small gap between the eventual winner and the players further down in the results column.

Here are the regions and the candidates that hold the most natural advantages in them, whether due to their schools existing in that region, their conference playing games in that region, or having hailed from that region.

Far West — Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr, Ka’Deem Carey

Southwest — Bryce Petty, Johnny Manziel

South — Jameis Winston, AJ McCarron, Manziel

Mid-Atlantic — Winston, Andre Williams

Mid-West — Jordan Lynch, Braxton Miller

Northeast — Williams, Winston

It’s ironic that the ACC, which hasn’t had a Heisman finalist since 2000, might suddenly be in the driver’s seat in determining this year’s winner. The fact that the conference snakes from Massachusetts in the Northeast through Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas in the Mid-Atlantic and then into Florida in the South should give Winston and Williams a distinct advantage in a close race. Heisman voters in these regions have either seen these guys up close, or have covered them when their teams have come to play.

Even if he does win the South, however, Winston’s point total there is not likely to be great due to the presence of McCarron and Manziel (Winston could also conceivably finish third there). If Williams wins the Northeast, it probably won’t be by a great margin since Winston is likely to do well there, too. The Mid-Atlantic could be a true dogfight between the two ACC stars. Of course, all these assumptions must be taken with a grain of salt since the potential strength of Winston and Williams remains tempered by the investigatory cloud hanging over the former and the lack of name recognition by the latter.

In the end, I suspect that the MidWest — and to a lesser extent the Far West — is going to be the kingmaker in this race. The eventual winner may not capture those regions, but he’ll probably have to finish a strong second or third in them in order to eke out a win.

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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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2 Responses to Remember the regions

  1. DannyAdelante November 26, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    “his status as the quarterback for the No. 1 team going for its third-straight national title gives him substantial leverage in this race.”

    The fact that his team is awesome is not a reason that he should eb considered for this award, He’s having a good year, but it’s not good. It just feels like people want to give him some kind of lifetime achievement award. He has not had a better season than most on that Top 10 list.
    How many people have said “man, did you see McCarron out there today? Incredible!”

    In the SEC alone, I would place him either third or fourth, behind Manziel, Murray and maybe Mettenberger at this point in the season.

    He’s a good QB on a great team. He’s not Heisman worthy. It’s the same reasoning that got Tebow some consideration in 2009. Phenomenal in 2007 and 2008. Not so much in 2009, but name recognition got him buzz, because people can’t be bothered to watch actual games.


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