The Heisman Trophy race has not been a real exciting one this year; Trevor Lawrence led the pack for much of the season, but not because he was playing so much better than everyone else. No, he was playing well, but there was nothing about his game that was spectacular—which is usually a prerequisite for Heisman contenders.
That allowed Mac Jones to work his way into contention. When the Big Ten joined in on the fun and started playing, Justin Fields joined the conversation and it looked like Fields was destined to win from how he had played in his first three games.
But then Indiana got in his way.
However, in recent weeks, another contender has been working his way into the conversation. After throwing three more touchdowns in a win over Vanderbilt, it appears we have a new frontrunner—Florida’s Kyle Trask.
Will he win, though?
Heisman Trophy Odds: Things Are Starting to Get Interesting…
What was once the Trevor Lawrence Show (+1600; odds via FanDuel) now finds the Clemson quarterback fading into the background. Missing a couple of games because of Covid-19 certainly hurt his case. Assuming the Pitt game happens this week, it will have been over a month since Lawrence last played.
There is bound to be a little rust after such a long lay-off. It would not be shocking if it takes Lawrence a quarter or even a half to get back in the swing of things. If he is going to have a shot at winning the Heisman still, he will have to dazzle voters from here on out.
Justin Fields (+400) had looked like a Heisman winner in Ohio State’s first three games of the season. But with the late start and shorter season, he could not afford to have an off day—which was just what he had against Indiana.
Yes, the Buckeyes won, and he accounted for 378 total yards and three touchdowns, but he has also had three interceptions on the day. With the Hoosiers looking like the most challenging team Ohio State is going to face this year, those three picks will stick out in the minds of voters.
With Fields laying an egg, Mac Jones (+300) had a chance to put some distance between him and Fields. But Alabama didn’t need much out of him against Kentucky. He did not have a bad day (16-24 for 230 yards and two touchdowns with one interception). But in the eyes of voters, it didn’t do much for him.
Then there was Kyle Trask (-140). While he did not have 4+ passing touchdowns for the first time this season, he did complete 26 of 35 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns. With those three, he set an SEC record for touchdown passes in seven games.
But the story on him remains the same. He will need to have a similar type of day over Alabama in the SEC title game if he is going to have a shot at winning.
Don’t Look Now… But BYU and Zach Wilson Are Making a Push
Zach Wilson’s odds improved (+2000) after the BYU quarterback had another big day. But a big day over North Alabama is not going to mean much to voters.
A new player has entered the conversation, Iowa State running back Breece Hall (+2500). Hall is having an exceptional season with 1169 yards and 15 touchdowns in eight games. He has had 100+ in every game this season and has scored at least once as well.
If he is going to be more than just a footnote in the conversation, though, he will have to play even better. But he will likely have a chance to shine on the national stage when Iowa State faces either Oklahoma or Texas in the Big 12 title game– and that could help.
FanDuel has odds listed for a few other guys, but anyone that follows the Heisman race at all knows what kind of shot Devonta Smith (+5000), D’Eriq King, Ian Book, and Kellen Mond (+10000) have. But one guy that should have odds but doesn’t is Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
It would have been nice if Indiana had won, then Penix would be one of the frontrunners. But even though the Hoosiers lost, he played well enough (27-51 for 491 yards and five touchdowns with one interception) for his name to at least be on the outskirts of the conversation.
If he can continue to have big games against Maryland, Wisconsin, and Purdue, he might do more than just enter the conversation.
But the biggest issue facing every contender down the stretch may not be their opponent, but the coronavirus. If more guys start missing games as Trevor Lawrence has, there is no telling who might win this year.