A few questions about the Heisman Trophy have gone unanswered this season—until recently, that is. With every conference getting off to a late start this season, the original trophy presentation date just did not make sense. As more conferences returned to play and pushed the end of the regular season a couple of weeks beyond that date, one thing was clear.
The date was going to have to change—and now it has.
Over the weekend, the Heisman Trust announced that trophy presentation would be virtual on January 5th, with votes due by December 21st. The three finalists will be announced on Christmas Eve.
Okay! So, now we know the when and the how, but one question remains—who. Who will win the Heisman this year?
For most of the season, popular opinion has had the race down to two or three guys. But it appears that a case for a fourth candidate is starting to gain steam.
Heisman Trophy Odds: And the Plot Thickens…
The Heisman was widely considered Trevor Lawrence’s to lose for most of the season. While Clemson’s quarterback has played well this season, he has not had the kind of game that could lock the award down for him. He could have had such a game against Notre Dame, but the coronavirus had him sidelined.
He has not played poorly; he just hasn’t ‘wowed’ us this year. But he is still in consideration, of course, and is one of four co-favorites (+250 odds via FanDuel).
Lawrence did not play last weekend, and neither did one of the other favorites, the guy that has been hot on his tail all season long—Alabama’s Mac Jones. While he does not have the name recognition of Lawrence or Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, the results speak for themselves.
Fields almost got grandfathered into frontrunner status. After being a finalist last year, he was expected to win this year before the Big Ten decided to cancel its season. As soon as they announced they were indeed going to play, he was reinstalled as a favorite. His play has been exceptional, but he will not play as many games as Lawrence or Jones.
Can Kyle Trask Claw His Way Back into the Heisman Trophy Race?
The competition in the Big Ten is not as tough as it was expected to be. But the competition isn’t exactly tough in the ACC, either. That has allowed a fourth contender to sneak into the race: Florida quarterback Kyle Trask.
Trask has remained on the outskirts of the Heisman conversation all season. But he has joined the big three as a favorite after torching Arkansas over the weekend. He had as many touchdowns (six) as incompletions in the game (23-29 for 356 yards), giving him 28 on the season.
The only downside to him is the loss to Texas A&M, but even in that game, he threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns. He has had at least four touchdown passes in every game this season. If he can keep that level of production up in Florida’s last four games (Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee, and LSU), voters will have to notice him.
If he does it against Alabama in the SEC title game as well, he just might win.
Most books have cut their lists of players with odds short at this point in the season. While many of the guys still getting odds have had great seasons, most have had at least one bad game or don’t play anyone.
Outside of the top four, BYU’s Zach Wilson has the best odds at +3000. But his most formidable opponent was Boise State.
Had the Pac-12 started sooner, it might be worth including a few guys in the conversation like Kedon Slovis or CJ Verdel. But for the Pac-12, it is too little, too late.
But while it appears to be at least a four-person race right now, that could all change by the end of next weekend. The odds are going to be heavily against Michael Penix Jr. and Indiana when they face Ohio State. But if the Hoosiers pull off the upset, Penix will most certainly jump right into the thick of the Heisman race.