ESPN takes the election-night approach, too! (video)

In this clip, Kirk Herbstreit breaks down the H------ Trophy balloting by region, election-night style. Glad to see that our approach is getting out there.

And it's not just the approach - Chris Fowler uses some of our analysis and data in his discussion. We're flattered. (But how about a consulting deal next year? :)

And Kirk, since you're now looking at the regional voting patterns, here's something to ponder: Why does the Far West - with 21% of the population - have the same number of ballots as the Northeast, with only 12% of the population?

If the 870 media votes were distributed fairly, there would be exactly twice as many votes in each state as Members of Congress (435). But that's nowhere near the case.

Oregon has 5 members of Congress, 10 Trophy voters - excellent. Alabama has 7 members of Congress and 24 Trophy voters, ten more than they're due. Nebraska has 3 members of Congress and 16 Trophy voters - also ten more. South Carolina has 6 members of Congress and 24 Trophy voters - 12 more than their population would justify. How does any of this make any sense?

Region-wide, the Far West should have 180 votes, not 145. The Northeast should have 102 votes, not 145. Is it any wonder that the Pac-10 hasn't had a non-USC Heisman winner since 1970?

Kari Chisholm | December 12, 2009 | Comment on This Post (29 so far)
Permalink: ESPN takes the election-night approach, too! (video)



In which region is Bristol, Conn., located? That's what I thought. There's your answer.

Posted by: skippy poopy | Dec 12, 2009 2:29:03 PM

not sure why the heisman has to correlate with US population. is it a constitutionally sanctioned civil right? why not weigh it according to number of schools per region, or number of students, or number of D-I football programs, or number of D-I athletes, or any other metric that is more meaningful for a D-I NCAA football award than US population?

Posted by: blinky | Dec 12, 2009 2:41:05 PM

oh, and to be accurate, there are not 435 members of congress, there are 535. and those 535 are not "fairly" distributed according to population either.

Posted by: blinky | Dec 12, 2009 2:44:37 PM

ironically, the actual congressional numbers (the ones that matter more than football trophy voting) tend to favor sparsely populated western states.

Posted by: blinky | Dec 12, 2009 2:46:28 PM

Blinky, there are 435 members of the US House of Representatives - "Members of Congress". The guys in the US Senate are called "Senators". And those 435 are apportioned by population.

As for the question of whether they should be apportioned by some other factor, like D1 schools, or football programs, or students, etc. -- well, that's a very good question. Given that the Trophy is not actually limited to D1 programs, I think the most fair thing is by population - but I'd be open to other ideas. So far, the Trophy Trust has failed to provide any rationale whatsoever for how its voters are apportioned.

Skippy P, there's a reasonable argument that the national sports media - ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, NBC Sports - oughta be well-represented in any collection of media voters. And it's true that many of them are in New York and Connecticut. Fine. But explain the overwhelming differential between Oregon and Nebraska?

Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Dec 12, 2009 3:04:48 PM

i think there shouldn't be regions period. just give a vote to who you think is qualified and tally them up. if nebraska and alabama are 10x as football crazy as other states of similar population so be it.

Posted by: jason | Dec 12, 2009 3:05:58 PM

blinky, trust me on this: you don't want to debate political minutiae with kari

Posted by: ormark | Dec 12, 2009 3:14:12 PM

not to harp on it, but there is no possible definition of "members of congress" other than "representatives and senators" and i'm frankly surprised a political consultant of all people would think the meaning of "congress" is only the 435 representatives. i mean that is something we learn in middle school. 100 = senators. 435 = representatives. 535 = congress.

but that's neither here nor there. nice work on the prediction!

Posted by: blinky | Dec 12, 2009 3:15:00 PM

Blinky is right, members of congress refers to both the House and Senate. As for Heisman's dependent on coverage. Alabama is football crazy, so they have more people covering the sport than Oregon. Surely you're not going to make an argument that Alabama voters swing the balance, considering Ingram's going to be the first Alabama winner ever...

Posted by: tallguy | Dec 12, 2009 3:39:19 PM


Sorry Kari. Blinky's right. The U.S. Congress is a "Bicameral" Legislature. Bicameral meaning it has 2 chambers or "Houses" The House of Representatives and The Senate. When referring to Congress it means all 535 members.

Posted by: Tommy | Dec 12, 2009 3:39:37 PM

Blinky, don't sweat it. You're correct.

Posted by: cb | Dec 12, 2009 3:44:47 PM


Posted by: obviously | Dec 12, 2009 4:22:58 PM

Ingram leads the nation of runs of 10+ yds, and 20+ yds as a back. He has 18 total TDs, 1000+ yds after contact, played against 6 top 30 defenses, had better production per carry as measured in YPC (can't look at YPG because be played so little in some games against lesser competition unlike Gerhart) and still has only 21 fewer total yards than Gerhart with 40+ fewer carries. Suh is deserving...but if its between Ingram and Gerhart...Ingram is the more well-rounded and deserving offensive candidate.

Posted by: josh | Dec 12, 2009 4:39:07 PM

You can't pull stats out of your (somewhere) here without having us call you on it. Gerhart led the nation in carries of 10+ yards with 50. look it up. The other stats I am not sure about but I am pretty sure that you are just assuming that all SEC defenses that Ingram faced were "top 30" which is a bit of a stretch.

Posted by: Robbie | Dec 12, 2009 4:56:54 PM

Ingram is not the best player on his own team (McClain). It's time for college FB to catch up with baseball and other sports which make informed decisions in the information age. If Lincecum and Greinke can win the Cy Young, then a team with 2+ losses can take the Heisman.

Gerhardt or Suh need to win this thing.

Posted by: Robbie | Dec 12, 2009 4:58:14 PM

Alabama and Nebraska get extra votes because they have so many former winners

Posted by: Tucker Rofkahr | Dec 12, 2009 5:38:59 PM

Of course Blinky's right, there are 535 members of Congress (435 Representatives and 100 Senators). I think the confusion comes from us referring to a Senator as Senator Jones, while a Representative is Congressman Jones. Easy mistake, and I'm sure Kari knows this.

Kari, you're gonna be rich if you nail this one. If you're not already.

Oops, it is official. You called it. Well done.

Posted by: Thomas | Dec 12, 2009 5:55:48 PM

Well, Stiffarm was a bit off, as Colt EASILY took 3rd and was closer to 2nd than he was to 4th.

Posted by: Nsight7 | Dec 12, 2009 6:06:00 PM

Just a though. Maybe USC is getting the stiff arm recruits out there. Yell at them, tell them to share some. hahaha, SEC, SEC, SEC.

Posted by: Gamecocks | Dec 12, 2009 6:26:20 PM

Mc Coy must have gotten a lot of votes before that last game....

No reason to go with the Electoral College idea on this distribution. Go straight population representation, and THAT isn't even shown within the House.

California alone should get 10% of the votes. Now, if we did that, would it be fair?

Even so, I can imagine what would have happened had Toby found a few more votes (perhaps without that 13th game for the others...) with the huge "bias" of the West.

Hopefully Toby will overtake OJ and Reggie Bush in rushing yardage with another 100 yard game at the Sun Bowl, and we'll always be able to look back to say, what if? OR... Remember when!?

McCoy has to come back to regain his "history", so look at Alabama. Good luck to all. No injuries!

Posted by: Pete | Dec 12, 2009 6:37:27 PM

Congrats kari!!! Great work. I am not surprised Colt McCoy showed better in the actual vote. He no doubt had the lead with the 10% of the Heisman voters that voted before the conference championship games. Most of those 10% would have been too embarrassed to publicly disclose their votes.

Posted by: Dave | Dec 12, 2009 6:38:43 PM

Mandating dispersion of voters a la congressional vote doesn't really make any sense either because teams are not dispersed in the same manner. Another thing that would mess up that type of mandate is having two or more candidates in one region...should a region's voters be mandated to have a "double vote" in that instance?

Posted by: Chip Sahoy | Dec 12, 2009 7:40:18 PM

My question: I'm sure you've already done this, so, IF the voters were allocated as you hypothesized, how would have THIS year's votes changed the outcome, if at all? (Please address any assumptions as well to avoid some of the subsequent questions.)

If you haven't already done it, I'm 99.6% certain someone on your staff has, or will. That idea is just too tempting to not determine within your system, (again mostly certain it has, otherwise the subject wouldn't have been broached) and even if you don't publicly answer the question, please answer me directly as I'm sure you have nothing better to do and I've posted to your site twice, so I deserve it. ;) (BTW - that was sarcasm for the people that didn't get it - yet you didn't read this far and are already firing off an angry reply of some sort... the smart ones already moved on...)

Posted by: DAK | Dec 12, 2009 11:12:10 PM

Blinky et al -

You are technically correct. All Senators and Representatives are members of Congress. However, in political parlance, you would NEVER call a United States Senator a "member of Congress". They're Senators, and they've got no interest in being confused with members of the lower, inferior body.

From Wikipedia: In the United States, the term technically applies to members of both the upper house Senate and the lower House of Representatives. "Congress" technically refers to both houses. In common practice, the term 'Member of Congress' is used to refer to members of the House of Representatives, and "Senator" refers to members of the Senate.'

I work as a political consultant. My mistake was bringing the lingo over to a football site and expecting people to know what I meant.

In any case, setting aside the terminology, my point is that there are 435 U.S. Representatives, apportioned by population. There are 870 Trophy voters. If you're looking for an easy thumbnail to determine if the number of Trophy voters is on par with population, just double it. South Carolina, for one outrageous example, has FOUR times the number of Trophy voters compared to US Reps - rather than the expected 2x.

Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Dec 13, 2009 12:18:33 AM

"Go straight population representation, and THAT isn't even shown within the House."

Pretty damn close. The only variances are with the small one-seat states like Montana and Wyoming. Close enough for our purposes here.

Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Dec 13, 2009 12:40:48 AM

DAK, I'm working on it.

Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Dec 13, 2009 12:40:59 AM

when the lawyers take over the Heisman Trophy ..........

Posted by: nodoginnafight | Dec 13, 2009 6:24:16 AM

Cool. Thanks.

Posted by: DAK | Dec 13, 2009 9:20:12 AM

im curious to see the results of DAK's question...

Posted by: phlevel | Jan 1, 2010 5:40:39 AM

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