As we get later into the season, the Heisman picture is starting to take shape, though it’s certainly not settled yet. There are five primary contenders for the award, and after those five there’s a steep drop-off.
While you’ll always hear that this could be the year for a defensive player (every season), that just won’t happen in modern college football.
Similarly, the Heisman winner is going to be a quarterback. While the most recent Heisman selection was a receiver in Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, the top six contenders according to Bovada are all quarterbacks.
We’ve reached the point in the season at which the time is right for one contender to separate himself, as there’s still a cluster of reasonable contenders. Perhaps some previous winners have won the award simply by being the last man standing so to speak, that won’t be the case for Matt Corral. He’s going to have to rise up and dominate on a big stage to win this thing. This weekend is a great opportunity.
Still, it’s worth looking at what the other contenders have been doing recently. Corral’s odds are at +300 for the sake of comparison.
Bryce Young | QB | Alabama | +160
Young has played two consecutive excellent games at quarterback with an average QBR of 93 over wins against Tennessee and Mississippi State. In terms of simple production, Young is likely outperforming Corral at the moment. To a point Lane Kiffin made earlier this week, however, Matt Corral doesn’t have the benefit of being able to sit in the pocket for seven seconds and throw to a wide open receiver. Will the Heisman voters pay attention to that? Maybe not, but it’s certainly a reasonable argument.
CJ Stroud | QB | Ohio State | +400
Stroud has passed for 14 touchdowns over his past three weeks, helping Ohio State obliterate Rutgers, Maryland, and Indiana. Like the argument against Young, I wonder whether crushing teams with inferior talent to your own is enough to win the Heisman. Maybe the answer is predicated on how much another player does to distance himself in big games.
Caleb Williams | QB | +900
Williams has thrown 79 passes this season. He’s not winning the Heisman....especially after an abhorrent half of football against Kansas.
Kenny Pickett | QB | Pitt | +1200
Honestly, I don’t understand why Pickett isn’t higher up this list. He has thrown 23 touchdowns and one interception for a Pitt team that definitely should not be 6-1. His average QBR for the entire season is 88.1! Why is he being discounted so much?
Desmond Ridder | QB | Cincinnati | +2000
Ridder’s QBR on the season, on the flip side, is 71. I get it. Cincinnati is undefeated. That doesn’t mean we have to pretend it has a Heisman candidate on its team.