By TPR Staff

The Discover Fan Loyalty Poll continues to prove on a weekly basis that the fans know college football. They know who the best teams are, they know which teams most deserve to play for the BCS National Championship and they know what teams they want to see play, as well as where they want to watch them. After so many key games that have changed the landscape of the 2012 college football season, many players were considered front runners to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy award. But now that we are just past the half way point, some players are finally beginning to separate themselves from the rest of the contenders.

Simply put, the contenders are starting to distance themselves from the pretenders.

As for some of the early season favorites and contenders who now seem like pretenders, quite a few quarterbacks top this list. Forget about USC Trojans QB Matt Barkley. Coming into this season, USC was a national championship favorite and Barkley was thought of as close to a lock to at least be one of five Heisman Trophy finalists in 2012. Neither appears at all likely.

You can also add West Virginia Mountaineers QB Geno Smith to that list. If the season ended in September, Smith would have won the Heisman and West Virginia may have been close to playing for the championship. A month later, both are pretty much no longer an option.

But as for which players have began rising from the rest into clear cut candidates, you must first look at Kansas State Wildcats QB Collin Klein. As of this minute, the award appears to be Klein’s to lose. He has played phenomenal for the No. 2 team in the current BCS Standings, and appears to be on a similar track that Robert Griffin III took with the Baylor Bears last season on his way toward surprisingly taking home college football’s top honor. Perhaps it has something to do with superstitions?

Then again, perhaps not. Fans in the Big 12 conference are not overly superstitious. Not openly, at least.

But fans of of the Independent teams do let their friends and families know about their superstitions and pregame rituals. Whether or not they play a part in the Heisman Trophy voting will remain to be seen. If they do, we could see a defensive player strike the famous Heisman pose in early December.

If that is the case, it would be because of Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o, who has had one of the best seasons for any defensive player in recent memory. Te’o is not only an inspiration for what he has overcome off the field this season, but his hard play and dedication is keeping him toward the top of many people’s list in the Heisman race. he has been that important to the Fighting Irish in their undefeated 2012 campaign.

And if we are looking at the teams who fans say are the bets in the Discover Fan Loyalty Poll, the Wildcats and Irish were No. 4 and No. 5 last week, but are almost guaranteed to rise in the polls after impressive victories last Saturday.

The No. 1 team currently has one strong candidate, although he is not as hyped as other players. The Alabama Crimson Tide are the top team in America, and A.J McCarron has done a fantastic job at the starting QB. But he would still probably be around the fourth or fifth player in terms of who has the best chance to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

But if you want another player from toward the top of the fans’ poll, look no further than Oregon Ducks RB Kenjon Barner, who may be one of the most exciting players in the game in 2012. The Ducks have plenty of offensive weapons, but none may be faster than Barner.

With four or five games remaining for many teams in the regular season, many things can still change. That pertains to the BCS Championship race, as well as the chase for the Heisman Trophy award.

As always, make sure to check back throughout the 2012 college football season at The Pigskin Report for the latest results in the Discover Fan Loyalty Poll.. While you are at it, check out Discover on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure you Like them on one and follow them on the other!


* The 15-week Discover Fan Loyalty Poll is conducted by Rasmussen Reports, a nationally recognized leader in polling, who gathers sentiment by phone from 800 college football fans who follow games at least once per week on television, radio, in person or online.

Discover launched the Fan Loyalty Poll to give die-hard fans a platform to showcase their dedication and love for their favorite college football team leading up to the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game and 2013 Discover Orange Bowl. Each week the poll will offer new questions about what college football fans are thinking this season.

Beyond title sponsorship of the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship Game and 2013 Discover Orange Bowl, Discover’s commitment to college football includes relationships with ESPN and Notre Dame Football on NBC.





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