Heisman Trophy Voting

A statistical analysis of Heisman Trophy voting

The Heisman Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football. The award draws great publicity and speculation throughout the college football season.
A number of theories regarding voting patterns and who will win the award exist, but little has been done to test these theories. I explore some of the regional and conference voting patterns, as well as the which games are influential in determining which candidates voters will favor. ESPN and StatGeek presented some theories which I considered in my analysis.
Additionally, I propose HYPE (Heirarchical Yearly Prediction Ensemble), class of models for forecasting Heisman Trophy voting which incorporate player information, on-field performance, and media information.

Click here for my weekly Heisman update.

Click here to see my Heisman articles on The Heisman Pundit.

Click here to see my work featured in the Dallas Morning News.

Click here to see my work featured in the Chicago Tribune.

Click here to see my work featured in the Bloomberg Businesweek.

Click here to see a discussion of some of my early research on the topic and some of the findings.


Model Predictions

I first developed my model in 2010 to predict the final Heisman Trophy vote. I have continued to tune the model, as well as make predictions each year since. The results are below. *(Note: At the time, I only modeled offensive players).

2010 Predictions

Predicted Actual
1 Cam Newton, QB, Auburn University Cam Newton, QB, Auburn University
2 LaMichael James, RB University of Oregon Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford University
3 Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford University LaMichael James, RB University of Oregon
4 Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State University Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State University


2011 Predictions

Predicted Actual
1 Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor University Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor University
2 Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford University Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford University
3 Trent Richardson, RB, University of Alabama Trent Richardson, RB, University of Alabama
4 Montee Ball, RB, University of Wisconsin Montee Ball, RB, University of Wisconsin


2012 Predictions

Predicted Actual
1 Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
2* Colin Klein, QB, Kansas State University Colin Klein, QB, Kansas State University
3* Marquise Lee, WR, USC Marquise Lee, WR, USC