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The 2014 HP All-American team

Now that the season is finally over, it’s time for the latest edition of the very prestigious HP All-American team.

First, the offense:

QB

1st team – Johnny Manziel, So. Texas A&M

2nd team – Jameis Winston, Fr. Florida State

3rd team – Marcus Mariota, So. Oregon

Honorable Mention: Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois; Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville; Bryce Petty, Baylor; Derek Carr, Fresno State.

RB

1st team – Andre Williams, Sr., Boston College; Tre Mason, Jr. Auburn

2nd team – Bishop Sankey, Jr., Washington; Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona

3rd team –  Melvin Gordon, So., Wisconsin; Kapri Bibbs, So, Colorado State

Honorable Mention:  Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska; Carlos Hyde, Ohio State; Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky; Tyler Gaffney, Stanford; Jeremy Hill, LSU

WR

1st team – Brandin Cooks, Jr., Oregon State; Sammy Watkins, Jr., Clemson

2nd team – Devante Adams, So., Fresno State; Mike Evans, So., Texas A&M

3rd team – Antwan Goodley, Jr., Baylor; Paul Richardson, Jr., Colorado

Honorable Mention: Allen Robinson, Penn State; Tyler Lockett, Kansas State; Odell Beckham, LSU; Willie Snead, Ball State; Kelvin Benjamin, FSU; Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

TE

1st team – Eric Ebron, Jr., North Carolina

2nd team – Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jr., Washington

3rd team – C.J. Fiedorowicz, Sr., Iowa

Honorable Mention: David Funchess, Michigan; Nick O’Leary, FSU; Troy Niklas, Notre Dame; Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State.

OFFENSIVE LINE UNIT

Per HP tradition, we will not choose individual All-Americans, but rather a single unit for our offensive line honors.

Face it: There are no individual stats to go by. Highlights rarely show what they do. We could go purely off of hearsay, but wouldn’t that be dishonest? What’s more, there are 600 starting offensive linemen in Division One. It’s almost impossible to have seen enough of them to know who is really the best.  So, while other All-American teams choose linemen based almost solely on reputation, we will not.  Instead, we look at a combination of factors, including sacks allowed, rushing offense, tackles for loss allowed, etc., to come up with our All-American unit.

1st team – Arkansas

2nd team – Stanford

3rd team – Notre Dame

Honorable Mention: Florida State; Alabama; Oregon; Toledo; Baylor

Now, the defense:

DE

1st team – Michael Sam, Sr., Missouri; Vic Beasley, Jr., Clemson

2nd team – Jackson Jeffcoat, Sr., Texas; Leonard Williams, So., USC

3rd team – Shilique Calhoun, So., Michigan State; Trevor Reilly, Sr., Utah

Honorable Mention: Kareem Martin, North Carolina; Marcus Smith, Louisville; Scott Crichton, Oregon State; Dee Ford, Auburn; Noah Spence, Ohio State; Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State

DT 

1st team – Aaron Donald, Sr., Pittsburgh; Kelcy Quarles, Sr., South Carolina

2nd team – Ra’Shede Hageman, Sr., Minnesota; Tim Jernigan, Jr., Florida State

3rd team – Will Sutton, Sr., Arizona State; Michael Bennett, Jr., Ohio State

Honorable Mention: DaQuan Jones, Penn State; Ego Ferguson, LSU

OLB

1st team – Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford; Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA

2nd team – Ryan Shazier, Jr., Ohio State; Khalil Mack, Sr., Buffalo

3rd team – Kyle Van Noy, Sr, BYU; Denicos Allen, Sr., Michigan State

Honorable Mention: Shaquil Barrett, Sr., Colorado State; Eddie Lackey, Baylor; Telvin Smith, Florida State; Myles Jack, UCLA; Devon Kennard, USC

ILB

1st team – C.J. Mosley, Sr., Alabama; Chris Borland, Sr., Wisconsin

2nd team – Shayne Skov, Sr., Stanford; Lamin Barrow, Sr., LSU

3rd team – Preston Brown, Sr., Louisville; Stephone Anthony, Jr., Clemson

Honorable Mention: AJ Tarpley, Stanford; AJ Johnson, Tennessee; Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut; Dee Dee Lattimore, South Florida

CB

1st team – Darqueze Dennard, Sr., Michigan State; Lamarcus Joyner, Sr., Florida State

2nd team – Justin Gilbert, Sr., Oklahoma State; Jason Verrett, Sr., TCU

3rd team – Vernon Hargreaves, Fr., Florida; Aaron Colvin, Sr., Oklahoma

Honorable Mention: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon; Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech; Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska; Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon State

SS

1st team – Deone Bucannon, Sr., Washington State; Ahmad Dixon, Sr., Baylor

2nd team – Anthony Harris, Jr., Virginia; Jimmy Ward, Sr., Northern Illinois

3rd team – Landon Collins, So., Alabama; Hakeem Smith, Sr., Louisville

Honorable Mention: Alden Darby, Sr., ASU; Craig Loston, LSU; Brock Vereen, Minnesota; Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State; Sean Parker, Washington.

FS

1st team – Ha Ha Clinton Dix, Jr., Alabama; Calvin Pryor, Jr., Louisville

2nd team – Karl Joseph, So., West Virginia; Ed Reynolds, Jr., Stanford

3rd team – Terrance Brooks, Sr., Florida State; Derron Smith, Jr., Fresno State

Honorable Mention: Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State; Dion Bailey, USC; Tra’Mayne Bondurant, Arizona.

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Week 13 picks

Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by DocSports. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later. After going 7-3 a couple weeks ago, I fell back to 4-7 last week. However, I’m hitting 56.3% on the season (67-52-2), so heed my advice!

I did better when I just laid out the picks with no explanation, so here we go:

Ohio State -35 vs. Indiana

Michigan State -7.5 at Northwestern

Minnesota +17 vs. Wisconsin

UCLA +3 vs. Arizona State

Oregon -21 at Arizona

Baylor -10 at Oklahoma State

Kansas State -5 vs. Oklahoma

Missouri -3 at Mississippi

Washington State -1.5 vs. Utah

Louisville -23 vs. Memphis

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Week 12 picks

Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by DocSports. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later. I had a great week last week, going 7-3, and I’m hitting 58.3% on the season (63-45-2), so heed my advice!

UCLA -3 vs. Washington

I see this game as being a bit of a shootout, with Hundley and Crew coming out on top with a great second half.

UCLA 41, Washington 31

Ohio State -33.5 at Illinois

The Buckeye offense will continue to be in juggernaut mode, with Braxton Miller playing like the Heisman candidate he could’ve been.

Ohio State 56, Illinois 17

Stanford -4 at USC

The Cardinal front seven will be too much for the USC offensive line and Cody Kessler will struggle, resulting in another smothering win for Stanford.

Stanford 23, USC 9

Kansas State -11 vs. TCU

Kansas State has things figured out and is playing as well as anyone in the Big 12 right now. This should be another fine game for Sams and Waters and the Wildcats roll.

Kansas State 38, TCU 21

Miami -3.5 at Duke

The Hurricanes won’t have Duke against Duke, but they will have Stephen Morris, who should have a huge game and get Miami back on the winning track.

Miami 34, Duke 23

Vanderbilt -13 vs. Kentucky

Another scrappy win for the Commodores thanks to a big game from the defense and steady running from Jerron Seymour.

Vandy 31, Kentucky 14

North Carolina +1 at Pittsburgh

Marquise Williams continues to play well and leads the Tar Heels to their fourth-straight win.

North Carolina 27, Pitt 23

Central Florida -17 at Temple

Too much Blake Bortles for the Owls as the Knights roll.

Central Florida 45, Temple 21

South Carolina -12.5 vs. Florida

This one could get ugly as the Gators will start freshman Skyler Mornhinweg at quarterback on the road. Mike Davis plows his way to 100-plus yards and the Gamecocks cruise.

South Carolina 42, Florida 10

West Virginia -7 at Kansas

The Mountaineers crawl closer to bowl eligibility by beating the Jayhawks on the road. Should be a productive day for Paul Millard.

West Virginia 48, Kansas 28

Baylor -27.5 vs. Texas Tech

Texas Tech’s collapse continues as Bryce Petty throws for 300 plus yards and accounts for at least four TDs as Baylor moves to 9-0.

Baylor 66, Texas Tech 31

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Week 11 picks

Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by DocSports. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later. Now, I had my first bad week of the season last week, going 3-6-1, but I’m hitting 57.1% on the season (56-42-2), so heed my advice!

Just my quick picks today.

Florida State -35 at Wake Forest

Miami -7 vs. Virginia Tech

Minnesota -3 vs. Penn State

Missouri -14.5 at Kentucky

Vanderbilt +10.5 at Florida

Texas -6 at West Virginia

Arizona State -7 at Utah

Texas A&M -20 vs. Mississippi State

UCLA +2 at Arizona

Auburn -8 at Tennessee

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Week 10 picks

Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by DocSports. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later. I went 6-2-1 last week (I had accidentally picked 11 games the week prior) and I’m hitting 59.5% on the season (53-36-1), so heed my advice!

Oregon State -4.5 vs. USC

This is probably my lock of the week. USC’s secondary can’t match up with the OSU passing attack and the Trojan offense plods too much to keep up. Huge game for Mannion and Cooks.

Oregon State 38, USC 24

Tennessee +10 at Missouri

Missouri should be deflated after last week’s tough loss to South Carolina, while Tennessee is undervalued because it went into a buzzsaw at Alabama and will now be starting a freshman QB named Josh Dobbs, who’s a talented player. The Vols have a chance to win this one outright.

Missouri 24, Tennessee 21

Georgia -3 vs. Florida

I think the return of Todd Gurley will be the difference in this one and the Bulldogs win easily.

Georgia 27, Florida 16

Michigan +4.5 at Michigan State

These two teams always seem to play it close, but the Spartans aren’t used to being the favorites. I expect the Wolverines to come out of the gate playing at a high level, then hold on for the win.

Michigan 20, Michigan State 17

Minnesota +8 at Indiana

The Gophers are a tough, hard-nosed team and I think they’ll pull the mild upset on the road.

Minnesota 31, Indiana 28

Auburn -8 at Arkansas

Even without Nick Marshall, the Tigers should be fine on offense and move the ball well against a very suspect Arkansas defense.

Auburn 38, Arkansas 27

Hawaii +24 at Utah State

I don’t think Hawaii is going to go winless and the Warriors have been coming close the last three weeks. No win this time, but another close one for Norm Chow’s troops.

Utah State 28, Hawaii 25

Ohio State -32.5 at Purdue

The Buckeyes are in juggernaut mode on offense and will make quick work of the Boilermakers.

Ohio State 52, Purdue 17

Arizona -16.5 at Cal

The Bears continue to be decimated with injuries on defense and the Wildcats will take full advantage behind Ka’Deem Carey and BJ Denker.

Arizona 42, Cal 21

Nebraska -6 vs. Northwestern

I think the Cornhuskers bounce back from last week’s loss and easily handle a Northwestern team that just isn’t the same without a healthy Kain Colter or Venric Mark.

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Week 9 picks

Time to reveal my plays of the week. These are the 10 games I would bet on if I were a degenerate gambler. For those who don’t know already, the first team listed is my pick, unless it’s an over/under selection. Odds provided by DocSports. If I were you, I’d bet on these games. You can thank me (or hate me) later. I went 7-4 last week (I accidentally picked 11 games) and I’m hitting 59% on the season (47-34), so heed my advice!

Note: Because I accidentally picked 11 games last week, I’m picking 9 this week.

Auburn -24 vs. Florida Atlantic

The Tigers keep the offense rolling as Nick Marshall has another big day.

Auburn 56, FAU 21

Tennessee +28 at Alabama

This should be an easy game for Bama, but the Vols play hard and should keep this loss fairly respectable.

Alabama 31, Tennessee 10

Texas +2 at TCU

The Longhorns win their fourth in a row as their ground game pounds the Horned Frogs.

Texas 31, TCU 21

Stanford -4 at Oregon State

Sean Mannion comes down to earth a bit and the Cardinal suffocate the Beavers in Corvallis.

Stanford 29, Oregon State 17

Louisiana-Monroe -12 vs. Georgia State

The Panthers remain winless as Brayle Brown has his first stellar game for the Warhawks.

ULM 35, Georgia State 18

Baylor -35.5 at Kansas

If any team stops Baylor this year, it’s not going to be Kansas. I think we’ll see another 60+ point effort.

Baylor 66, Kansas 21

Hawaii +3 vs. Colorado State

After just falling short last week, the Warriors get their first win of the season against the Rams.

Hawaii 34, Colorado State 27

Iowa -4 vs. Northwestern

The Wildcats are reeling and might be without Kain Colter again. Hawkeyes get the win after playing Buckeyes tough last week.

Iowa 24, Northwestern 17

NC State +32 at Florida State

The Wolfpack always seem to play the Seminoles tough and have won two of the last three meetings. FSU will get the win, but won’t cover.

Florida State 41, NC State 14

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The role of conference realignment in Heisman voting

Last year, Heisman Pundit wrote about how conference realignment gave West Virginia’s Geno Smith a unique advantage in the Heisman race.

While Smith failed to finish in the top 10 of Heisman voting due in large part to a poor showing in a week 8 matchup against fellow Heisman hopeful Colin Klein and Kansas State, one player did end up as the beneficiary of conference realignment in last year’s Heisman voting: Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M.

Heisman balloting is divided into 6 geographic regions: Far West, Mid Atlantic, Mid West, North East, South and Southwest. When the BCS was introduced in 1998, the 6 BCS automatic-qualifying conferences were each mostly contained within a single region: the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) was in the Far West, the ACC mostly was in the Mid Atlantic, the Big 10 was mostly in the Mid West, the SEC was mostly in the South and the Big 12 was mostly in the Southwest. The Big East was more spread out across the east coast.

BallotingRegions

As discussed before, voters have a tendency to vote for players from their region. Looking at voting from 1998 through 2012, with the exception of the North East region, which has had only two finalists in that span, every region on average gives the highest vote totals to players from within that region.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 10.29.57 AM

Examining a conference breakdown of regional votes over the same period, we see a similar pattern of conference preference by region.

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 10.28.09 AM

Conference realignment has adjusted the relationship between region and conference. More schools are playing in conferences that are concentrated in regions different from where the school is located.  So, in addition to writers and reporters in their school’s region, players now receive more media exposure in their conference’s region.

1998Regions

2013Regions

Texas A&M’s move to the SEC put it in the unique position of being located in Texas, the major media outlet center of the Southwest region, while playing in the SEC, concentrated in the South region.

The Aggies’ conference schedule set up some high profile games played in the South region, namely a marquee match-up with Alabama in Tuscaloosa, which earned Manziel major support in the South region, and nationwide. With no offensive Heisman candidates from the South region and no other candidates from schools in Texas, Manziel was the clear standout candidate in two regions. Manziel went on to receive the highest vote total in every balloting region except the Mid West, where Manti Te’o of Notre Dame (located in the Mid West region) received the highest total. With all of these schools changing conferences, which ones are in the best position to benefit?

Missouri and Texas A&M moving to the SEC, West Virginia moving to the Big 12 and Colorado moving to the Pac-12 provide the most exposure for these schools in a new region. With the structure of the ACC and American Athletic Conference, moves to these conferences does less to help players’ exposure within a region outside of their own. Of course, regardless of realignment, players have to perform well enough to garner Heisman consideration.

Let’s see if anyone steps up to take advantage of the changing landscape.

* * *

The author of this post, Daniel Heard, is a PhD candidate in Statistical Science at Duke University. He has dedicated a significant portion of his research to examining trends in Heisman Trophy voting and developing a model to forecast the voting each year.

You can contact Daniel at danielpheard@gmail.com.

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