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HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll: Manziel occupies top spot

By Chris Huston | College Football Writer
Johnny Manziel leads the latest HeismanPundit/CBSSports straw poll (US Presswire)

The quest for the 2012 Heisman Trophy took another crazy turn last week and, if the latest edition of the HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll is correct, we've got a new leader in the race with just two weeks left to go.

Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel jumped to the top of the pack after Kansas State and its quarterback, former Heisman front runner Collin Klein, got knocked off by Baylor this past Saturday, 52-24. Manziel picked up seven first-place votes and 26 total points from the weekly survey of 11 Heisman voters from around the country after he and his team defeated Sam Houston State.

"He beat the No. 1 team in the FBS and the No. 3 team in the FCS in consecutive weeks," said one voter. "What's next, the Cowboys?"

If Manziel hangs on, he'd be the first freshman to win the Heisman in the 78-year history of the award. All votes are due by Dec. 3.

In second place behind Manziel was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who collected two first-place votes and 17 total points. He's trying to make history, too, as the best-ever finish by a pure defender was a runner-up showing from Pittsburgh's Hugh Green in 1980.

Klein, who led the poll for the previous four weeks, dropped to third place with nine points. Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller garnered a first-place vote and was fourth with seven points, while USC wide receiver Marqise Lee took fifth with five points, including the panel's last first-place selection.

Now in 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. Check out previous polls for this season here.

The HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw Poll, 11-20-2012
Player, total points (first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M -- 26 (7)

2. Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame -- 17 (2)

3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State -- 9

4. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State -- 7 (1)

5. Marqise Lee, WR, USC -- 5 (1)

6. (tie) Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon -- 1

Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson -- 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 and Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com, Bryan Fischer of the Pac-12 Network, 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.

Past 2012 Poll Leaders

Date/Leader
Preseason, Matt Barkley
Sept. 4, Matt Barkley
Sept. 11, Matt Barkley
Sept. 18, Geno Smith
Sept. 25, Geno Smith
Oct. 2, Geno Smith
Oct. 9, Geno Smith
Oct. 16, Geno Smith
Oct. 23, Collin Klein
Oct. 30, Collin Klein
Nov. 6, Collin Klein
Nov. 13, Collin Klein

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