For those assuming that BYU quarterback Ty Detmer has the Heisman Trophy pretty much locked up, think again.
Not only is Detmer not a shoo-in, he's not even the favorite right now according to a poll out of Washington D.C.The Gannett News Service polled 108 Heisman voters last weekend and the results released today show Virginia quarterback Shawn Moore No. 1, Detmer a fairly close second and Notre Dame's Raghib Ismail third.
Every year at this time, Gannett conducts a nationwide poll of Heisman voters to get an idea of how the voting is going. A little more than 10 percent of the 900-plus voters participated in the poll asking how they would cast their Heisman vote now.
On a 3-2-1 scoring basis, the same used in the real Heisman voting, Moore had 1971/2 points to Detmer's 167. Ismail, who has come on strong with three straight impressive games, had 101 points, followed by Houston's David Klingler with 51 and Colorado's Eric Bieniemy with 23.
The votes came from all sections of the country, although the West was a little weak, according to Jerry Langdon of Gannett.
"We didn't do as well in California and Texas as we'd like," said Langdon
Moore carried the East and South rather handily while Detmer was tops in the Midwest by a substantial margin but just barely ahead in the West.
So what should one make of the poll?
For one thing is isn't too scientific. Twenty-five votes came out of both the East and the South, 38 from the Midwest and just 20 from the West. With more votes counted from the West, Detmer would likely do better and close the gap on Moore. However six of the West votes came from Utah, with five voting Detmer No. 1. That's 5 percent of the votes in this poll, while in the real Heisman poll, Utah comprises a little more than 1 percent of the vote.
So why would Moore be ahead of Detmer right now? Three possible reasons. One, he is No. 1 in the country in passing efficiency. Two, his team is No. 1. And three, he is a senior, while Detmer is a junior.
One thing mentioned by several of the voters was that Moore's performance this week against Georgia Tech is "crucial." A great game could send him on his way, while a bad game could put Detmer back in the driver's seat.
While most folks around here have figured it was a Detmer-Moore duel all the way, Langdon feels it could be a four-man Heisman race. He said a lot of votes came in before Ismail had another great game Saturday night. And he figures Klingler, if he keeps piling up the numbers will get a lot of support from the Southwest, where few votes were counted.
Although many fans in Utah will be disappointed to hear it, Langdon is probably correct when he said of the Heisman race, "It's still wide open."
Gannett Heisman Poll
1. Shawn Moore, Virgina (43) 197 1/2
2. Ty Detmer, BYU (33) 167
3. Raghib ismail, Notre Dame (19) 101
4. David Klingler, Houston (4) 51 1/2
5. Eric Bienemy, Colorado (3) 23