If an extensive poll taken this week is any indication, BYU's Ty Detmer should be celebrating as the Heisman Trophy winner on Waikiki Beach come this afternoon.
A poll just completed by Gannett News Service shows Detmer with a fairly good lead over Notre Dame's Raghib Ismail, considered by many to be the Heisman frontrunner.The poll of 265 Heisman voters, nearly one third of the 917 total, shows Detmer with 111 first-place votes to 91 for Ismail. Adding second and third-place votes in a 3-for-first, 2-for-second, 1-for-third voting basis similar to the actual Heisman voting, Detmer's lead stretches to 562 to 464.
Just two weeks ago in a similar poll taken by Gannett of 211 voters, Ismail had a slight edge over Detmer. Another poll in late October, showed Detmer second behind Virginia's Shawn Moore.
Moore's support has dwindled considerably since Virginia's late-season slide (three losses) and his injury two weeks ago. Moore is fourth in this poll with just 12 first-place votes and 160 points.
Colorado's Eric Bieniemy is the solid third pick with 38 first-place votes and 238 total points. Houston's David Klingler, once a hot candidate, received almost no support with 2 first-place votes and 26 points.
Breaking the vote down by regions, Detmer leads in five of the six regions, trailing only in the Midwest. But even there, Ismail only received two more points, 89 to 87. Detmer also trailed in the vote of 17 past Heisman winners (each of the past Heisman winners has a vote), who gave Ismail 9 firsts to 8 for Detmer, 39 to 32 overall.
Detmer got his biggest share of support in the Southwest region, from which he hails. The West vote was the smallest, which should be even more good news for Detmer, because he should get good support from the Western voters not contacted, who are more familiar with his exploits. Just 22 voters from the West were surveyed and they gave Detmer a 49 to 33 total edge over Ismail. Bieniemy, suprisingly received little support from Western voters with three firsts and 17 points.
The biggest boost to Detmer's candidacy came Sept. 8 against the No. 1-ranked University of Miami Hurricanes. It was during BYU's 28-21 conquest of the Hurricanes before more than 300 members of the national media that he convinced a lot of voters he and BYU are for real.
"His performance against Miami convinced me he could get the job done," said Andy Gardiner of The Burlington Free Press (Vermont).
"Normally I'm skeptical of BYU numbers. But when I saw Detmer play, I got the feeling he had that Doug Flutie on-field charisma. I liked his on-field presence," said Scooter Hobbs of the Lake Charles American Press (Louisiana).
Detmer's biggest obstacle, besides Ismail, has been television. Notre Dame's high TV profile is a plus for any Fighting Irish candidate. And because of that, some in the media are openly pulling for Detmer.
Writes Tom Weir in today's USA Today:
For once, there's no shame in rooting for a Ty.
That would be Brigham Young's Ty Detmer. If he's announced as the Heisman winner Saturday, it will be proof that Notre Dame and television don't run the world of college football after all.
No offense to Notre Dame's Rocket Ismail, because it's not the fault of the most brilliant part-time player in college football. But he shouldn't be in the top three.
If Ismail wore any uniform but Notre Dame's his television time would have been cut by 90 percent - and his Heisman votes maybe by half. A vote for Detmer is a vote against this age in which the tube has taken over our thought process. The Heisman needs to be won on the field, not in the offices of the executives who make up the network schedules.
Poll of 265 Heisman voters by Gannett News Service. Total points on 3-for-1st, 2-for-2nd, 1-for-3rd basis. First-place votes are in parentheses.
Ty Detmer (111) 552
Raghib Ismail (91) 464
Eric Bieniemy (38) 238
Shawn Moore (12) 160
David Klinger (2) 26