The Heisman HYPE Rule of 3

In my years of analyizing Heisman trophy voting and player performances, I have crunched a LOT of numbers. The Heisman Pundit developed his 10 Heismandments “that govern the Heisman race.” While my analysis supports Huston’s rules, I’ve developed some amendments (Heismendments, if you will), which I call the Heisman HYPE Rule of 3. These guidelines are more quantitative than the Heismandments, since I am a statistician after all. Also, while the Heismandments are prescriptive of the winner, the Rule of 3 are stochastic in nature and pertain to the entire collection of players likely to receive Heisman votes. Without further ado, the Heisman HYPE Rule of 3:

  1. A top-10 Heisman finisher returning to school has a high probability of returning to the top 10. Since 1936, the season after Jay Berwanger won the first Heisman trophy, 166 top 10 Heisman finishers (or top 4 or top 8 or top 11 depending on the year) have returned to school. Of those players returning, 123 (.714) finished the top 10 in Heisman voting again.
  2. There will (likely) be one defensive player finishing in the top 10 in Heisman voting. Although defensive players are underrepresented among Heisman winners, they are well-represented among top Heisman finishers. Looking at annual voting, there’s a 50-50 change of a defensive player finishing in the top 10 in Heisman voting (40 out of 80 Heisman voting years have seen a defensive player finish in the top 10). Consider, however, that the first defensive player to garner Heisman votes was Don Moomaw of UCLA in 1952. Considering only 1952-2014 raises the annual probability to .645 (40 out of 63 years). Over that span, there have been 61 defensive players finish in the top 10, giving a player-to-year ratio of .968.
  3. To finish in the top 10 in Heisman voting, a player needs to be going to a bowl game. Since the BCS was introduced in the 1998 season, no player not going to a bowl game has finished any higher than 5th in Heisman voting. Out of 170 players to receive Heisman votes over that same span, only 7 (4.1%) were on teams not going to a bowl (two of were on teams ineligible to play in bowls due to sanctions and two others were from non-AQ conferences). In fact, the last Heisman winner who did not end his season in a bowl game was 1989 winner, Houston QB Andre Ware, due to NCAA sanctions.

2 thoughts on “The Heisman HYPE Rule of 3

  1. Pingback: 2015 Heisman Watch | Heisman HYPE

  2. Pingback: 2016 Heisman Watch | Heisman HYPE

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