|West Virginia's Tavon Austin is our Heisman Player of the Week (US Presswire)|
Some random Heisman thoughts heading into this week:
1. The regions, the regions
Here's a stab at how the six Heisman voting regions would look like if the vote was held today:
Southwest: (1) Manziel (2) Klein (3) Manti Te'o
Far West: (1) Manziel (2) Marqise Lee (3) Te'o
Midwest: (1) Te'o (2) Braxton Miller (3) Klein
Mid-Atlantic: (1) Manziel (2) Te'o (3) Klein
Northeast: (1) Manziel (2) Te'o (3) Lee
I think we have a good feel for how the South, Southwest and Midwest will vote. The real wild cards in this race are the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and the Far West. How these regions fall will likely decide the outcome. There are obviously a lot of Notre Dame connections in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, but the Northeast in particular tends to shy away from regionalism since its Heisman voter contingent is made up of a lot of national-level writers and television types. Regions that lack strong favorite-son candidates almost always go with the consensus national leader, and that's why Manziel gets the nod in those regions for now.
It all points to this type of finish ... again, if the vote were held today (which it isn't):
1. Manziel, Texas A&M
2. Te'o, Notre Dame
3. Klein, Kansas State
4. Lee, USC
5. Miller, Ohio State
2. Alternating alternate scenarios for how each player can win
Here's a look at what has to happen for each of the remaining candidates to win:
Manziel -- He must have another strong, Manziel-like game in beating Missouri, then make sure not to say or do anything stupid before Dec. 3.
Klein -- He must first hope Manziel stumbles badly in a loss to Mizzou, then come out against Texas and lead Kansas State to a resounding victory while having a stellar game passing and rushing.
Te'o -- He must play, by far, his best game of the season in a win over USC, producing some remarkable highlight-reel plays while Manziel has his absolute worst game in a loss to Missouri and Klein gets stopped cold vs. Texas.
Lee -- He must single-handedly defeat Notre Dame in resounding fashion, ripping off 400-plus yards of all-purpose yardage while scoring as a receiver, a rusher and a kick returner. Then, Manziel and Klein both must play horribly in losses against their respective foes.
Miller -- He must pass for more than 300 yards and rush for more than 200 yards in a dramatic, come-from-behind win over rival Michigan while hoping Manziel, Klein and Lee all play horribly (or get arrested) sometime in the next couple weeks.
3. How will the Heisman winners vote?
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.
Heisman Player of the Week -- Tavon Austin of West Virginia
Austin set a Big 12 record by accumulating 572 all-purpose yards in West Virginia's 50-49 loss to Oklahoma this past Saturday.
Part of that total was a school-record 344 yards rushing on just 21 carries. Austin also had 82 yards receiving and 146 yards on kick returns.
For this, he is our Heisman Player of the Week. While he might not make much noise in the final vote, this was definitely a Heisman-esque peformance.
Austin is averaging 232 yards all-purpose yards per game and would without a doubt be a strong Heisman candidate if not for his team's five losses.
But maybe those voters still unsure of whom to pick would be well-served by looking his way.