Back when I pitched this idea to the Red Cup staff, it seemed like some fun content that would be something worth talking about for a week or two until the dust settled and Matt Corral had exited the limelight. Fast forward six weeks, and here we are still plugging away.
Corral continues to do everything in his power to will this team to victory, and in doing so, position himself for real acclaim at the end of the season. Sure, the team struggled a bit against Alabama, but Corral still played a solid game even against that defensive front.
And then he bounced back against Arkansas, putting up gaudy numbers against a top-10 defense and the No. 13 team in the country. Corral, as anyone reading this knows, is as explosive on the ground as he is through the air, so defensive coordinators have had to pick their poison. So far, no approach has worked other than dominating the Ole Miss offensive line (a task of which only a few teams are capable of completing).
But it’s not totally up to Matt Corral. Other players on other teams are making their own cases for the Heisman, and it’s important to look at those other options Heisman voters will be considering in a couple of months. So let’s break down what the other players in the top four have done to strengthen or hurt their chances.
Bryce Young | QB | Alabama | +175 odds (Bovada)
Young was quite productive in Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M, but he did struggle with his efficiency, turning in the second worst QBR of his season at 73.7. Bama’s domination of Mercer is the only other game this season that saw Young with a QBR worse than 90 (34.5). He did manage to throw three touchdowns and rack up 369 yards through the air, but shouldn’t we expect Alabama’s quarterback to be other worldly, given the talent around him?
CJ Stroud | QB | Ohio State | +700
Stroud accounted for five touchdowns through the air in Ohio State’s 66-17 win over Maryland. It was an incredibly impressive performance. Stroud has a chance to play his way to winning the trophy if he can muster big performances against Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan this year. If Ohio State loses again though, he’s probably out of it.
Bijan Robinson | RB | Texas | +1000
Robinson is killing it this season, averaging 6.3 yards per carry, with his only rough game coming against Arkansas (3.6). Still, it’s tough to imagine a running back from a Texas team with 2 losses winning the trophy.
Desmond Ridder | QB | Cincinnati | +1400
Desmond Ridder is the classic “above average quarterback on a good team playing in a bad conference” who will finish fifth in Heisman voting.
So what does this mean for Matt Corral?
I still think he needs at least one more “Heisman moment” kind of game in which he wills his team to victory against a top-20 opponent. He has some chances coming up though, as he’ll face Auburn, Texas A&M, and a Mississippi State team that could theoretically be ranked.
Oh, and because he doesn’t play for a perennial power, he can’t have an actually bad game.... ever.