Heisman Voting Math: How it could help (or hurt) Kyle Trask’s chances at winning the Heisman Trophy

Credit: CNN

Two weeks ago, we published an article on the final case for why Kyle Trask should win the Heisman Trophy. That was the first of two articles in this series. If you haven’t read it, I would encourage you to do so.

In this article, we will take a dive deep into Heisman Voting math and who we think will win- rather than should- win the Heisman Trophy.

KYLE TRASK’S LEGACY

Before diving into the math and predictions, I first want to discuss the accomplishments of Kyle Trask. On December 24th, 2020, Kyle Trask was announced as a Heisman Finalist. Just a week later, we found out, officially, Trask would be declaring for the NFL. So here we are. We can look back at the season riled with controversy and three heartbreaking losses (and one downright embarrassing one), however, he and the Gators have been through the ringer enough for that calamity, so instead, let’s honor the now legacy of Kyle Trask.

Kyle Trask had a phenomenal season. He finished the year with a nation-leading 43 passing touchdowns and 4,283 passing yards. He also broke every nearly every single major passing record at the University of Florida. Yes, he had more passing yards and touchdowns than Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel, and even Rex Grossman.

Not only this, but Kyle Trask led this Florida Gator team to an offensive explosion that we haven’t seen at the University of Florida since the 2008 National Championship season. Kyle Trask’s story is one that will be told and retold for years to come.

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BACK TO REALITY

Unfortunately for Trask, he did not have even close to the defense this Championship team had. Even still, Trask garnered immediate national attention. All the way up to the LSU loss, in which Kyle Trask had his worst game of the season, Trask was the Heisman Front Runner. If it weren’t for that performance and loss to LSU, we might very well be telling you in this article that we think Kyle Trask will win the Heisman, however, unfortunately, that is not the case. We think it is very likely that one of the Alabama standout players win the trophy.

SO, DOES KYLE TRASK STILL HAVE A CHANCE?

Does Kyle Trask have a chance? Of course, he does. He’s a finalist, so obviously he has a “non-zero” chance to win the award however his chances are very minuscule. To put it into perspective, we believe Kyle Trask has about the same chance to win as Justin Fields, the Ohio State Quarterback ( 238 Cmp, 354 Att, 3,273 Yds, 41 TD, 3 Int ) had last year.

I’m approaching this hard truth upfront so you know that although we sincerely believe Trask most certainly deserves the Heisman, his historic performance has been overshadowed by Gator defeats and the historic performance of the Alabama Crimson Tide. This is why we are projecting DeVonta Smith or Mac Jones to win the Heisman.

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HEISMAN VOTING MATH

According to heisman.com there 926 total voters including 145 voters from each of 6 regions, and 56 former Heisman winners. One more vote that is tallied comes from the Nissan Heisman House fan poll. This brings the total to 927 votes.

Heisman Region Map // Credit: heisman.com

Each voter gets 1 vote for their top 3 finalists. This is unlike many other awards where the voter chooses one selection. They rank each of their top 3 finalists with “first”, “second”, and “third”.

So how is the Heisman Votes Calculated? Each voter will submit their ballots via a secure online form. Accoriding to heisman.com, the independent accounting firm of Deloitte tabulates ballots. This is done in the following manor:

Each first place vote gets three points.

Each second place vote gets two points.

And each third place vote gets one point.

All the points are tallied up and accumulate for each finalist. Over the past 5 years, the winner has averaged about 2,200 total points, while second place has averaged 1,400 points, and the third place total averaged 770 points.

PREDICTION TIME

Using these averages and the current top 10-6,

10Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)
9Ian Book (QB, Notre Dame)
8Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)
7Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)
6Breece Hall (RB, Iowa State)
5Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)
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As well as the 4 finalists

FMac Jones (QB, Alabama)
FTrevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)
FDeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)
FKyle Trask (QB, Florida)

And using a combination of Google Trends, Regional Bias, and Vegas Odds, I came up with the Following Projection for how the numbers will shake out based on a mathematical model:

RANKNAMEPOINTS
1Mac Jones (QB, Alabama)1850
2DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)1550
3Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)705
4Kyle Trask (QB, Florida)575
5Najee Harris (RB, Alabama)210
6Breece Hall (RB, Iowa State)110
7Justin Fields (QB, Ohio State)85
8Zach Wilson (QB, BYU)70
9Ian Book (QB, Notre Dame)40
10Kyle Pitts (TE, Florida)25

According to my model, I have Mac Jones coming out on top as the 2020 Heisman Trophy Winner with a total of 1,850 points, narrowly edging out teammate DeVonta Smith by 300 points. Based on the uncertainty of the model, either Alabama standout could win.

MY PREDICTION

The mathematical model is just one way to look at it.

At this point you know how I would vote, given the opportunity. Kyle Trask would most certainly be be my number one. Followed by DeVonta Smith and Najee Harris, in some order. But how do I think the Heisman will shake out?

Here is my final prediction for the Heisman Trophy:

RANKNAMEPOINTS
1DeVonta Smith (WR, Alabama)2050
2Mac Jones (QB, Alabama) 1125
3Kyle Trask (QB, Florida) 950
4Trevor Lawrence (QB, Clemson)575
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I project DeVonta Smith to crush the Heisman Trophy Voting. I also expect Mac Jones and Kyle Trask to be narrowly separated at 2 and 3. I predict this largely due to the national narrative, and how flawless DeVonta Smith has been all season.

CLOSING STATEMENT

In conclusion, while I greatly believe Kyle Trask is the most outstanding player in the country, I also believe that each has their own case for why they should win.

Kyle Trask is the most valuable and most storied player in college football.

Trevor Lawrence is the most popular player in college football.

Mac Jones is the quarterback of the best team in college football.

DeVonta Smith is the most electric player in college football.

However when its all said and done, based on the math and national narrative, I project DeVonta Smith to win the Heisman.

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