We did it! Twelve years in a row.
For the twelfth year in a row, we've correctly projected the winner of the Heisman Trophy. Congratulations to Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles!
The final order of finish was Jameis Winston, AJ McCarron, Jordan Lynch, Andre Williams, Johnny Manziel, and Tre Mason.
We projected Winston with 2503 points - 89.9% of those possible. We expected his actual vote total be somewhat less than that, but it was even more so, at 2205 points and 79.2% of the maximum possible. That point total makes Winston the #7 all-time top Heisman Trophy winner, right behind OJ Simpson.
Because of the small number of disclosed ballots we were able to track, we weren't confident in our projection of the order of finish. And sure enough, we had Mason much higher than he turned out to be - and McCarron much lower. That's a very similar effect to what we saw in 2009, with Colt McCoy and Ndamukong Suh. In the Big 12 championship that year, Suh tossed McCoy around like a rag doll. As a result, Suh voters were loudly proclaiming their vote, while McCoy voters kept quiet. Given the outcome of the Auburn/Alabama game this year, it's not surprising (in retrospect) that Mason voters were campaigning, while McCarron voters kept quiet.
Other than the placement of the two bow-tied gentlemen from the Yellowhammer State, we had Lynch, Williams, and Manziel in the correct order relative to each other. (And hey, we also had Bryce Petty and David Carr correctly pegged as the top two non-finalists.)
One note: There's been much made of Winston being "left off" 115 ballots. Some commentators are suggesting that it is evidence that some voters had concerns about the off-the-field issues. There may be some, but the number of ballots he was "left off" of is not unusual -- except that's actually unusually low. Winston appeared on 87.6% of ballots, which is actually the 7th highest number of ballots all-time.
Finally, as noted above, we saw dramatically fewer Heisman voters willing to share their ballots than ever before -- both publicly as well as anonymously. No surprise, as the Heisman Trust has been threatening voters if they declare their ballots in advance. Will we back in 2014? Good question. We'll keep you posted.
But enough of all that. Congratulations to Jameis Winston, your 2013 Heisman Trophy winner.
And a huge thanks to everyone that helped: our tipsters and members of the media who were willing to share their vote with the public. Our projection and the final numbers are below.
Our final projection - and the actual results
Last updated: 12/14/2013 5:52 a.m. Pacific. 119 ballots, 287 votes.
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