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-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow against the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Image Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Here’s a look at the top five Heisman candidates heading into Week 11 (odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook):
QB Joe Burrow, LSU (+150)
2,805 yards, 30 TDs, 4 INTs, 76.2%, 10.8 YPP, 204.5 Rating
125 rush yards, 3 rush TDs (8 Games Played)
Heading into this season’s game of the century, Burrow is the clear-cut favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. He’s second only to Washington State’s Anthony Gordon (who has attempted 137 more passes) in yards and touchdown passes. Without a game being played, Burrow’s odds dropped from +125.
This Week: @ Alabama: Leading No. 2 LSU into No. 3 Alabama, Burrow will have all eyes on him this Saturday with a chance to extend his lead over Tua Tagovailoa and the rest of the field with a big game. If the Tigers do pull off the upset in Tuscaloosa with an impressive effort from Burrow, I’m not sure anyone can catch him before the finish line. However, if the Tigers were to lose…
QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama (+250)
2,166 yards, 27 TDs, 2 INTs, 74.7%, 11.2 YPP, 212.4 Rating
30 rush yards, 2 rush TDs (7 Games Played)
Tagovailoa odds dropped from +150 from a week ago. His health, or potential lack thereof, is a big reason why. He’s attempted 66 fewer passes than Burrow but has a better TD-INT ratio, yards per pass, and passer rating than the LSU Tiger.
This Week: vs. LSU: It’s all about this Saturday for the top-two candidates, as Tagovailoa leads the Tide against Burrow and the Bayou Bengals. Because of that, Tua has the better value right now. If he out-performs Burrow or plays him even and wins the game, expect Alabama to leapfrog LSU (and Ohio State) in the College Football Playoffs rankings and Tua to reclaim the spot as the Heisman favorite. He’s expected to play but it’s anyone’s guess as to how effective he will be.
QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (+400)
2,469 yards, 21 TDs, 3 INTs, 73.9%, 13.7 YPP, 224.3 Rating
801 rush yards, 13 rush TDs (8 Games Played)
Somehow, Hurts is having an underrated season. He leads the nation in passing efficiency, yards per pass (2.56 more than Tua), yards per completion, and points responsible for. He’s also third in yards per rush (7.78 nationally). So, he’s college football’s most efficient passer and among the top runners as well. Other than leading the nation in sacks, I’m not sure what more Hurts can do. His odds moved from +350 last week.
This Week: vs. Iowa State: With a loss, Oklahoma was ranked ninth in the initial College Football Playoffs Rankings and the good news in Sooner country is OU has a tradition of working their way up into the top four. In each of the past three seasons, they’ve started outside the top four and advanced to the playoffs, including 2015 when the Sooners were No. 15. If Hurts can lead Oklahoma up the rankings, his Heisman odds will probably increase accordingly. That run begins this Saturday against 5-3 ISU.
QB Justin Fields, Ohio State (+800)
1,659 yards, 24 TDs, 1 INT, 68.8%, 8.9 YPP, 185.2 Rating
319 rush yards, 9 rush TDs (8 Games Played)
Despite none of the top five Heisman candidates playing last week, Fields’s odds dropped the most from +600 last week. In his first year as the starter, Fields is putting up impressive numbers and his TD-INT ratio is the best in the country. However, his numbers aren’t as gaudy as the top three. The best thing Fields has going for him is he’s the quarterback of the No. 1 team in the country. The next best thing is potential showcase games against No. 4 Penn State, No. 14 Michigan, and the B1G Championship Game, which is why Fields might bring the best value of all at +800.
This Week: vs. Maryland: Those showcase games will have to wait, as OSU takes on Maryland as a 43.5-point favorite. It’s definitely a chance to stockpile stats for Fields, however will he get the opportunity? As much as any team in the country, the Buckeyes have taken their foot off the pedal in the second halves of games after building big leads.
DE Chase Young, Ohio State (+900)
29 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks
1 pass breakup, 5 forced fumbles, 1 blocked kick (8 Games Played)
Among the top five Heisman candidates, Young is the only player to see his odds increased from last week when he was +1,000. Like his teammate Fields, he enters the final third of the season with an uphill climb. The best thing Young has going for him? He’s the best player on the best team…and many believe, position aside, the best player in the nation. However, as a defensive player who doesn’t touch the ball, I still think he’s a longshot and a poor bet at 9-to-1.
This Week: vs. Maryland: Again, like Fields, Young will have to wait a couple of weeks for his showcase opportunity. OSU is expected to blowout Maryland with ease, so it’s a chance to rest Young and get some of the younger Buckeyes some reps along the D-line. He really needs to make the most of his opportunities against a Terps offense that will probably try to run the ball as often as they can early in the game.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: email@example.com.
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