When I first wrote this column back in week one, I wasn’t sure how long it would last.
“I’ll keep at it until he drops out of the top five in a few weeks,” I thought.
Well, here we are heading into the final game of the regular season with a quarterback sitting in third place at the moment. If Corral does finish third, he will tie Archie and Eli Manning as the three highest finishes in program history.
Certainly, Ole Miss fans would be happier with a trophy, and there were times when Corral led the pack. After week three, Corral was the betting favorite. When the Rebels lost to Alabama, however, Bryce Young passed him in the pecking order and never really looked back, at least not on Corral. A few weeks later, Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud went on a tear and became a real threat for the award.
It’s difficult to see Corral jumping the other two quarterbacks ahead of him with just one game remaining, regardless of what happens in that game, but it’s still wonderful to see him in the thick of things this late in the year.
As always, let’s take a look at what the other contenders (however few there may be remaining) have done to get to this point.
CJ Stroud | QB | Ohio State | -240
Stroud threw for 432 yards and six touchdowns in a 56-7 win against #7 Michigan State on Saturday. Yeah.... it was just magnificent quarterbacking. He completed 32 of his 35 attempts and, as you might guess from the score, was just dominant all game against a defense many expected to hold him in relative check.
Just a redshirt freshman, Stroud has a chance heading into next season to finish as a two-time winner. I know many Ole Miss fans aren’t really watching Ohio State games, but I encourage you to do so, as Stroud has been exceptional.
Stroud has a chance to ice this Saturday with a strong performance against everyone’s favorite team, #6 Michigan.
Bryce Young | QB | Alabama | +155
Similar to Stroud, Bryce Young had an exceptional game against a top 25 opponent Saturday, passing for 559 yards and five touchdowns against #21 Arkansas in a 42-35 nail-biting win. Without Young, Alabama just might have lost to Arkansas (which would have, theoretically, kept Ole Miss in the hunt for the conference title). He carried the team to a victory, and voters love to see that kind of stuff.
Unfortunately for Young, he doesn’t have another regular season opportunity to overtake Stroud, as no one will care about a Bo Nix-less Auburn unless Alabama somehow loses. While he could regain some footing in the SEC championship with a win over UGA, many Heisman voters will have already submitted their ballots by then.
Matt Corral | QB | Ole Miss | +2200
Corral finished with his worst QBR of the year against Vanderbilt, primarily based on his third interception of the year and poor performance on third downs and in the red zone. He’s an incredible quarterback, but he wasn’t able to take the next step in big games this season to keep his name at the top of the list. A lot of that is due to injuries, but voters aren’t going to know or care about that.