What is this?

Really, it's quite simple. There are 923 official voters for the Trophy. 870 of them are sportswriters, and 52 of them are former winners (and one fan vote). Many of those voters will publicly declare their votes - in print, on TV, on the radio, on the net - and if we count enough of them, we'll know who the winner will be.

It takes a little math (which we're happy to do) but mostly, it takes your help - if you hear a Heisman voter go public, tell us at stiffarm (-at-) mandatemedia (dot-com!)

Our methodology

Here's how it works:

  • We count actual votes. We count only the picks from people who claim to be actual voters. (The organization doesn't release a list of voters, so we can't verify.)
  • We make two assumptions. 1) That the voter turnout in each region will be equal, and 2) that the undisclosed votes in each region will mirror the publicly disclosed votes,
  • Based on those assumptions, we total up the votes in each region and then extrapolate the totals.
  • We continually update as more information comes in.

Dude, it looks screwed up. Sometimes, especially early on, the total actual votes don't seem to correlate to the projected totals. Not to worry - that's usually because there's a huge disparity between the regions in the number of ballots we've found. Also, if we don't know what region a voter belongs in (often, network TV guys) we assign a fraction of that vote to each region.

When's the projection good enough? Not sure, but we got it right in 2002 with just under 14% of the voters counted. We also got it right in 2003 with just under 19% of the voters counted. (FYI - voter turnout has been pretty consistently right around 85%.)

Early in the data collection process, we expect the numbers to be off somewhat - since people who are promoting underdogs often will talk about their pick early. The more data that arrives, the better the projection gets - so if we're missing a voter, let us know at stiffarm -at- mandatemedia .dot. com.

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