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Heisman Watch: Week 3

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A weekly look at the favorites, risers, fallers, and the moments that surround college football’s most hallowed award

NCAA Football: Alabama at South Carolina
Fun Fact: I threw up in my mouth a little bit while selecting this picture
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Each week at STS I’ll be bringing you a Heisman update. Clemson has two stars that will contend for the award and hopefully bring the trophy to the foothills for the first time. Odds from DraftKings will be updated weekly.

The Favorites

Tua Tagovailoa

(Current Odds 3-1, Last Week 3.5-1, Preseason Odds 2.5-1)

Last Week: 28-36, 444 yds, 5 td, 2 car, -12 yds in 47-23 win vs. UofSC

Year to Date: 77% comp, 1007 yds, 12 td, 0 int, 9 car, 36 yds, 1 td rushing

Tua’s odds didn't see much of a bump following Alabama’s destruction of the Gamecocks this past weekend. Nevertheless, he’s your new Heisman favorite. Tua’s stats are at the elite level needed to win a Heisman but can be misleading when one considers: 1) his competition and; 2) how many of his passing yards came from his stellar receiver’s yards after catch. The Alabama offensive line and lack of a dynamic run game will be ominous the rest of the season. But, if Tua can quarterback this team to an undefeated season, the trophy is his to lose.

Jalen Hurts

(Current Odds 5-1, Last Week 9-1, Preseason Odds 12-1)

Last Week: 15-20, 289 yds, 3 td, 14 car, 150 yds, 1 td rushing in 48-14 win vs. UCLA

Year to Date: 80% comp, 880 yds, 9 td, 0 int, 38 car, 373 yds, 4 td rushing

Jalen Hurts’ odds took a significant jump following week 3’s action. Hurts added to his eye popping early season numbers against UCLA and created a couple highlight reel moments that will be featured further down this article. The general narrative about his campaign is beginning to shift within the media and the murmurs of a Tua vs. Jalen race for Heisman will only get louder in the coming weeks. He’s the best dual threat QB in the country for now - averaging nearly 10 ypc and an 80% completion percentage. He is deserving of the early season praise based on stats alone and if he can lead Oklahoma through a couple tough wins I am sure his leadership will garner equal attention.

Joe Burrow

(Current Odds 6-1, Last Week 8-1, Preseason Odds 80-1)

Last Week: 21-24, 373 yds, 2 TD, 1 Int, 7 car, 30 yds, 1 td rushing in 65-14 win vs. NW State

Year to Date: 83% comp, 1122 yds, 11 td, 2 int, 17 car, 40 yds, 1 td rushing

I, like you, watched exactly zero minutes of Burrow’s game against Northwestern State on Saturday. LSU’s offense keeps humming and he did nothing to lose ground in the Heisman race.

Trevor Lawrence

(Current Odds 7-1, Last Week 3.5-1, Preseason Odds 2.25-1)

Last Week: 22-39, 395 yds, 3 td, 2 int, 1 td rushing in 41-6 win vs. Syracuse

Year to Date: 61% comp, 831 yds, 5 td, 5 int, 11 car, 55 yds, 3 td rushing

Trevor took a tumble down the favorites list this week. It is becoming harder to make a case for his inclusion in the Heisman conversation following two more interceptions against lowly Syracuse. His numbers, both regular and advanced, just don’t stack up well against the other QB frontrunners. His five interceptions are more than double the other four favorites on this list combined. One could argue Lawrence led Clemson to a tough victory over Texas A&M - but another voter could counter that Joe Burrow beat a top ten Texas team on the road while playing much better. Lawrence’s hopes rest on Clemson’s ability to finish the season undefeated, put up solid numbers, and hope the candidates in front of him flounder. I hope I’m wrong but, currently, a trip to NYC for a top 3-5 finish seems like the best case scenario.

Justin Fields

(Current Odds 8-1, Last Week 10-1, Preseason Odds 9-1)

Last Week: 14-24, 199 yds, 3 TD, 4 car, 11 yds, 1 td rushing in 51-10 win over Indiana

Year to Date: 70% comp, 657 yds, 9 td, 0 int, 25 car, 114 yds, 4 td rushing

Fields had another banner week against Indiana to remain in Heisman contention. He’s converting tough throws, using his legs, and protecting the football as well as any other QB in the country right now. Ohio State easily covered the 17.5 point spread against Indiana in their first game against a P5 opponent. The Buckeye’s schedule is backloaded so I expect Fields to remain around 4th or 5th on this favorites list for the next few weeks and make a charge to the top late in the season.

Hanging Around

Jonathan Taylor

(Current Odds 16-1, Last Week 16-1, Preseason Odds 16-1)

Last Week: On Bye

Year to Date: 35 car, 237 yds, 6.8 avg, 5 td, 5 rec, 65 yds, 3 td receiving

Taylor had a bye last week and gets his chance to move up the board this weekend against Michigan.

Jake Fromm

(Current Odds 20-1, Last Week 25-1, Preseason Odds 14-1)

Last Week: 17-22, 279 yds, 3 TD, 2 car, 6 yds, in 55-0 win over Arkansas St

Year to Date: 75% comp, 601 yds, 5 td, 0 int, 3 car, -3 yds, 0 td rushing

Fromm is lingering around the race while UGA beats up on the sisters of the poor. His numbers are closer to a game manager than a Heisman frontrunner but he’ll have a chance to air it out this weekend against Notre Dame. The marquee game of the weekend will host College Gameday and kick at 8:00 on CBS. A convincing or thrilling victory could be exactly what it takes to begin his ascension into the favorites category.

Fading

Travis Etienne

(Current Odds 22-1, Last Week 22-1, Preseason Odds 14-1)

Last Week: 14 carries, 76 yds, 0 tds, 3 rec, 32 yds in 41-6 win vs. Syracuse

Year to Date: 42 car, 334 yds, 8.0 avg, 3 td, 8 rec, 87 yds, 0 td receiving

ETN didn’t score a touchdown for the second consecutive week against Syracuse’s much maligned rushing defense. A running back has to be absolutely perfect to win the Heisman and Etienne’s room for error is now razor thin. Without special teams numbers to boost his all-purpose yardage and touchdowns I think his ability to win the trophy this year is on life support. A multi-touchdown game this weekend is needed to hang around.

D’Andre Swift

(Current Odds 22-1, Last Week 22-1, Preseason Odds 14-1)

Last Week: 9 car, 76 yds, 0 tds rushing, 2 rec, 64 yds, 1 td receiving in 55-0 win vs. Arkansas St

Year to Date: 31 car, 290 yds, 9.4 avg, 2 td, 3 rec, 73 yds, 1 td receiving

Swift, just like Fromm, gets his first crack on the national stage this weekend against Notre Dame. His biggest limitation appears to be lack of carries in a crowded backfield. Will Georgia move away from their running back by committee approach against a legitimate opponent? They certainly have a talented enough offensive line to produce a Heisman winner.

Heisman Moment of the Week

True Heisman moments are tough to come by in a week with zero top-25 matchups. The best I got? How about Jalen Hurts rushing for 52 yards on the opening play of the game vs UCLA and finishing the drive with a 30 yard touchdown run a couple of minutes later?

He Won’t Win it, but...

He does have the best name in college football. Oklahoma State running back Chubba Hubbard came into the season relatively unknown and was tasked with replacing the talented Justice Hill. He’s exceeded all expectations early. He went off for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns against Tulsa on Saturday, bringing his year to date stats to 521 yards on 7.9 ypc and 7 touchdowns. Watch his game against Texas this week (during commercials of ND @ UGA) and enjoy a barrage of scoring from an Oklahoma State offense that includes Chubba, stud WR Tylan Wallace, and QB Spencer Sanders.

TenDay’s Ballot After Week 3

1) Joe Burrow

2) Jalen Hurts

3) Tua Tagovailoa

4) Justin Fields

5) Anthony Gordon