Heisman Trophy: Who wins tomorrow night?

Movie quote of the day:

“Let it rain!”

– Sandy Lyle, “Along Came Polly” (2004)

Heisman

It’s almost time to announce the winner of college football’s most prestigious award. Last year was an interesting year because you could make an honest case for each of the three finalists that were in New York City for the ceremony. That was something that hadn’t happened since arguably 2011 – when Robert Griffin III won the award. However, unlike last year, I think there’s just one clear-cut favorite for this year. Let’s take a look at the candidates:

Louisville QB Lamar Jackson.
Louisville QB Lamar Jackson.

QB Lamar Jackson – Louisville
57.6 completion percentage, 3,390 passing yards, 30 TD, 153.3 passer rating
1,538 rushing yards, 21 TD

I said above that there’s just one clear-cut favorite to win the Heisman this season – and that favorite is Lamar Jackson. He has been the best and arguably most electric player in college football this season. I know he kind of sputtered in the final two games of the regular season, which is why people could make the argument for some of the other candidates. However, Jackson won the Maxwell award last night – which is usually a sign of what’s to come because the Heisman winners the last two years also won the Maxwell – and 51 total touchdowns and 4,928 total yards speaks for itself.

Chances of winning: 80 percent

Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield.
Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield.

QB Baker Mayfield – Oklahoma
71.2 completion percentage, 3,669 passing yards, 38 TD, 197.8 passer rating
143 rushing yards, six TD

Baker Mayfield has put together a stellar season but I just don’t think he has enough steam to win the Heisman, or even finish runner-up. Oklahoma and Mayfield don’t have a lot of major wins except Oklahoma State in the final week of the regular season. Also, the Sooners have been an afterthought after starting the season 1-2, despite looking like one of the best teams in the country late in the season. I think Mayfield is a great player, but I’ll be shocked if he finishes higher than third in the voting.

Chances of winning: Six percent

Michigan S Jabrill Peppers.
Michigan S Jabrill Peppers.

DB/LB Jabrill Peppers – Michigan
66 total tackles, one INT
310 punt-return yards, one TD
260 kick-return yards
167 rushing yards, three TD

Don’t get me wrong, I think Jabrill Peppers is a great player and is one of my favorite players in the 2017 NFL draft class (if he chooses to leave Michigan). However, Peppers shouldn’t even be in NYC, in my opinion. He wasn’t the best defensive player in college football and only had one non-offensive touchdown. I don’t like inviting defensive players to the Heisman because they don’t have enough stats to make a case to win the award – which is why the award has only gone to one defensive player in its history (Charles Woodson, 1997). Peppers is a great player and is very versatile, but he shouldn’t have been invited and is taking the spot of a more deserving player.

Chances of winning: One percent

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson.
Clemson QB Deshaun Watson.

QB Deshaun Watson – Clemson
67.6 completion percentage, 3,914 passing yards, 37 TD
529 rushing yards, six TD

Deshaun Watson is the biggest threat to Lamar Jackson to win the Heisman, in my opinion. He and Clemson have won some major games this season over Louisville, Florida State, Auburn, and Virginia Tech. Watson has also been very good down the stretch with 12 total touchdowns and just two interceptions in his final three games. He has picked up a lot of steam in recent weeks and has the head-to-head win over Jackson, which is why I think fans could make an argument for Watson. However, I don’t think voters should overlook the fact that Watson has also been very bad at times this year – for example, he has four games with two or more interceptions. I just don’t feel like Watson has been college football’s best player week in and week out, and therefore shouldn’t win the award.

Chance of winning: 10 percent

Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook.
Oklahoma WR Dede Westbrook.

WR Dede Westbrook – Oklahoma
74 receptions, 1,465 receiving yards, 16 TD

Dede Westbrook being named a Heisman finalist was one of the biggest surprises to me. I think he’s a great player and arguably the best wide receiver in the country, but he shouldn’t be a finalist. I’ve seen better seasons from wide receivers that were never invited to NYC than what Westbrook has put together this year (Corey Coleman, 2015 – 74 receptions, 1,363 yards, 20 TD; Stedman Bailey, 2012 – 114 receptions, 1,622 yards, 25 TD; Justin Blackmon, 2011 – 122 receptions, 1,522 yards, 18 TD; Justin Blackmon, 2010 – 111 receptions, 1,782 yards, 20 TD; Michael Crabtree, 2008 – 97 receptions, 1,165 yards, 19 TD; Michael Crabtree, 2007 – 134 receptions, 1,962 yards, 22 TD). I believe either D’Onta Foreman, Donnel Pumphrey, or Dalvin Cook should’ve taken Westbrook’s spot as a Heisman finalist. It is what it is though and I can’t change it. That being said, I’d say Westbrook has a slightly better chance of winning the Heisman than Jabrill Peppers, but not by much.

Chances of winning: Three percent

Who deserves to win: Lamar Parker
Who will win: Lamar Parker

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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