December 16, 2013

Heisman Voting Protocol Needs to Be Revamped

By - Benjamin Lincecum

Jameis Winston deserved to win the Heisman Trophy. It's that simple. No one had a better season than he did. He was consistent all year long, and played even better in big games. The Seminoles wouldn't have been the same team without him, and even though that isn't taken into consideration (or at least, it shouldn't be) for the award, it certainly means something.

Photo by: Adam Hunger
Yes, Tre Mason came on at the end and deserved his invitation. Yes, AJ McCarron was worthy of being one of the finalists because he's played well and stayed out of trouble. However, it would be irresponsible to judge Winston without the whole story being told, and the decision to not go to trial by the Florida DA should further the idea that Winston's reputation shouldn't suffer from the accusations that were basically legally groundless.

In a word, Winston's numbers are spectacular. In fact, his stats are better in several areas when compared to Johnny Manziel's 2012 statistics. He logged one of the best overall efficiency ratings ever (190.2), less than 2 points shy of Russell Wilson's mark of 191.8 set two years ago, though he is nowhere near the running threat that Manziel was last season. Still, Winston's passing numbers are fantastic, and stack up against virtually any quarterback in history. The only knock, football wise, was Florida State's somewhat easy schedule, but in big games against good defenses, Winston was at his very best, and against lesser opponents, he was often pulled as early as the third quarter because the games had long since been decided.

The 19-year-old freshman phenom is also one of the leaders on his team. He routinely displays characteristics that Heisman voters should value, and when plagued by accusations of a serious crime off the field, he handled it as professionally as any college player possibly could have. His undefeated regular season saw him display an inordinate amount of poise.

Specifically what concerns me is the fact that Winston posted the seventh-highest total margin of victory in the history of the award, yet 115 ballots that were cast in this year's Heisman voting not only didn't have him as the winner, they didn't have him on the ballot at all.

As far as I'm concerned, that is indefensible.

I'm not crying for these voters to be tarred and feathered by any stretch, but I do believe they need to explain themselves to the masses. AP voters must reveal their votes to the public, so must coaches in the coaches' poll. This encourages honesty and reflection in the voting process. Had the voters been made to reveal who they cast their vote for, I guarantee you Jameis Winston wouldn't have been left off anywhere near as many ballots.

Point is, voters shouldn't be able to hide behind anonymity. It's a disservice to the fans, the athletes who are up for the award, as well as their peers.

The powers that be finally decided to get together and bring us the playoff system we all longed for (despite the fact it is far from ideal). Perhaps the manner in which the ballots are cast in the Heisman Trophy voting should be the next issue they look to rectify.

In this particular case, 115 people can be wrong.


  1. Who cares
    He still won by a landslide
    You're just looking to make something out of nothing
    Those people clearly looked at the off the field issues.
    No need to know who they were if you already know why they voted like that

    -your friendly neighborhood mexican

  2. That's not the point, Cruz. The point is that they did look at the off the field issues, and if they hadn't they would have had Jameis better ranked. It is a disservice to Jameis and us and their comrades that they exercise their vote in such a way.

    1. Of course they looked at off the field issues. This is the HEISMAN
      The most prestigious award in college football. You're supposed to be good off thr field too
      Why do you think everybody is all dressed up in tuxedos and suits for this presentation?
      It has its own award show. Just for this one
      Look at Manziel. He finished 5th. Why? because voters didn't wanna give him 1st place votes due to all the shenanigans he was up to last summer.
      Heisman represents greatness on and off the field. Its what separates it from the Maxwell award

  3. Nice article. Couldn't agree more. Half the sports writers that have a vote have no business having one to begin with. They can't even do their 9 to 5 jobs effectively.

  4. Plenty of other previous winners have had their names completely left off the ballot as well. I think it's more regional biasness more than anything else. Personally I don't care what the final numbers are so long as the right guy wins. Manziel finishing 5th was a joke though.