The Heisman Trophy Trust, in an effort to shroud the result and build anticipation for its presentation Saturday night, put pressure on its electors this year.
The organization that hands out college football's top individual honor frequently reminded voters that "it is against the Trust's policy for electors to publicly release their ballot selections. Heisman electors should keep their votes confidential until after the Heisman announcement."
As a privileged voter, I respected this request.
The explosion of social media has made it increasingly difficult to keep voting intentions quiet. And someone, somewhere, is always watching.
One website, StiffArmTrophy.com, emails electors in hopes of compiling enough information to correctly predict a winner. This year, they received 180 of the 928 ballots, which was more than enough to accurately call Johnny Manziel's landslide victory.
I, however, voted for the runner-up: Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
Manziel, the Texas A&M quarterback who is the first freshman to ever win the award, had 474 first-place votes. Te'o had 321, so I certainly wasn't alone.
But unlike some electors, I wasn't persuaded by any stigmas attached to being a defensive-only player or a college football rookie.
I figured Manziel would win, and as a voter who agonized over the decision, you'll hear no complaints from me that he did. But it's harder for people to quantify the value of a defender against a quarterback who set the SEC record for total offense.
Here's what factored into my final call ...
Manziel feasted on non-BCS opponents, as you'd expect a good player to do. Texas A&M shellacked a pair of FCS (formerly Division I-AA) opponents in South Carolina State and Sam Houston State. Manziel also put up gaudy statistics on Southern Methodist and Louisiana Tech, the latter of which finished dead last in the FBS in total defense.
Against those four non-SEC teams, Manziel had a 13-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In eight SEC games, he threw 11 touchdowns and six picks, which contributed to him finishing fourth in his own league in pass efficiency.
Of course, in eight SEC games, Manziel still led the SEC in total offense at 373.4 yards per game.
Manziel was an extraordinary dual-threat quarterback. He averaged 120.8 yards on the ground in non-conference play and 87.2 against league opponents. His average yards per carry was 8.63 against the two FCS teams, SMU and Louisiana Tech. Against SEC competition, it dropped to 5.5 per carry.
Much was made of Manziel's historic statistical season, including breaking Cam Newton's SEC record for total offense (4,600 in 12 games).
It wasn't exactly like a decades-long pursuit of Maris' untouchable 61 - Newton set the record in 2010, which was then held by Florida's Tim Tebow, who smashed the record in 2007.
That highlights the era of offensive football that we're witnessing.
Manziel became the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 3,000 yards and eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in the same season.
Impressive, except that it's now happened in three consecutive seasons (Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish did it last season; Nevada's Colin Kaepernick in 2010). All five 3,000/1,000 seasons have occurred since 2005.