UCLA fans might understand why Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee are leading UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin in this week’s HeismanPunditCBSSports.com poll.
But a former USC linebacker?
What’s clear so far is that Barkley, USC’s senior quarterback, is the man to beat in this year’s race and that the Heisman poll’s 11-member panel may have slept through UCLA’s big win over Nebraska.
Barkley is the runaway leader with nine first-place votes and 28 overall points. He’s followed in the poll by West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith (14 points).
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein and Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas are tied for third.
Wait ... where is UCLA’s Franklin, the nation’s leading rusher?
Keep reading. Be patient. Hold your 8-clap horses.
Lee, USC’s sensational sophomore, is fifth in the poll, followed by Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
Franklin, who rushed for 217 yards against Nebraska as he closes in on Gaston Green’s all-time school rushing record, is tied for eighth.
Jones, UCLA fans might want conspiracy theorists to consider, transferred to Georgia from USC.
So has the poll been rigged by a former USC assistant SID, Chris Huston, who operates @HeismanPundit?
We’re going to say “no.” But the voting panel can be admonished for not paying enough attention to Franklin’s big day/career.
Could you imagine a USC tailback being so ignored after rushing for 217 yards against Nebraska?
Part of this is UCLA’s fault for falling off the football map.
“UCLA is just a big unknown nationally,” Huston said in an email response. “Franklin has toiled in obscurity for bad teams but I think the Nebraska game was very good for him, even if it hasn’t shown up in the poll yet.”
Huston said he thinks UCLA’s Sept. 22 home game against Oregon State will be a huge Heisman testing ground.
“There is a lot of potential there for a Franklin candidacy,” he said. "But it takes time to build up momentum.”