It is looking more and more like the Heisman Trophy race is C.J. Stroud‘s to lose.
Stroud, who leads the country in passing efficiency, continues to pull away from some of the other top candidates and, barring a meltdown, it might be hard for somebody to keep Stroud from winning the most prestigious individual award in college football.
Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker can help his cause if he leads the Volunteers to a win over SEC powerhouse Alabama, while USC’s Caleb Williams will look to help the Trojans top defending Pac-12 champion Utah in what could be an unforgettable week in the college football world and one that will have the attention of those who bet online.
Keep on reading for more of the players trending both up and down in the Heisman Trophy race.
Stroud has Breathing Room
Another week and some more distance between Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and the rest of the Heisman contenders.
Stroud’s odds moved from +125 to -150 over the last two weeks. Stroud was 21 of 26 for 361 yards and six touchdown passes as the Buckeyes rolled to a 49-20 win over Michigan State. He is completing 70.6% of his passes for 1,737 yards with 24 touchdowns and three interceptions.
QB1’s stats so far today
Incompletions: 5⃣ pic.twitter.com/haU9YEwT6i
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) October 8, 2022
Two of the first three receivers selected in the 2022 NFL Draft were Ohio State products Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, while Jaxon Smith-Njigba, last year’s team leader in receptions and receiving yards, has missed four of the last five games. That hasn’t slowed Stroud. His yardage numbers are down from his brilliant 2021 season, but he is on pace to top his mark of 44 TD passes. Stroud is the national leader with a passer rating of 207.57.
Williams, Hooker Moving Up
Even before Alabama quarterback Bryce Young injured his shoulder in a win over Arkansas, he was in danger of falling behind in the Heisman race.
USC quarterback Williams created some buzz for a couple of weeks last season as a true freshman at Oklahoma. Williams followed his head coach Lincoln Riley to USC. His Heisman odds were hurt by a poor performance in a three-point win over Oregon State. Over the last two games, Williams completed 63.6% of his passes for 536 yards with five TD passes and one interception. He added 78 yards and another score on the ground.
Williams is currently priced at +1000 in the Heisman odds per the sportsbook as he trails only Stroud in the odds.
No player has made a bigger move from the beginning of the season than Tennessee quarterback Hooker.
Hooker had 31 TD passes and just three interceptions while throwing for nearly 3,000 yards in 2021 in his first season at Tennessee after transferring from Virginia Tech.
Tennessee lost its first three games against ranked teams a season ago and Hooker was never a factor in the Heisman race. What a difference a year makes. Hooker has 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions. He is completing 70% of his passes. He has also rushed for 231 yards and three touchdowns as Tennessee is now ranked in the top 10 in the national polls.
As for Young, his Heisman odds have gone from +450 two weeks ago to +900 last week and are now at +1400.
Georgia’s Stetson Bennett, who is second in the SEC with 1,744 passing yards, is now at +1600. Another player putting himself into the Heisman conversation is UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Thompson-Robinson has thrown for 1,510 yards and he has accounted for 19 touchdowns for the undefeated Bruins. His Heisman odds have moved to +2000 according to the college football betting lines.
Corum, Gibbs Running to Glory
Some of the running backs expected to be in the running for the Heisman have either been injured or have been underwhelming. Michigan’s Blake Corum and Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs have moved to the front of the line among the non-quarterbacks.
Corum has three straight 100-yard games and he has scored at least one touchdown in each of Michigan’s first six games. His 11 TD runs are the second most in the nation.
Gibbs, a transfer from Georgia Tech, is one of two Football Bowl Subdivision players with at least 500 rushing yards and 200 receiving yards. Gibbs has 393 yards from scrimmage over the last two games.
Corum and Gibbs have taken different paths to national prominence and are both priced at +2000 in the current Heisman odds.
Bijan Robinson of Texas is the other player with more than 500 yards on the ground and 200 receiving yards. However, some of the Longhorns’ early struggles have resulted in the college football picks listing him at +8000 in the odds to win the Heisman.
ACC QBs Hoping to Narrow Gap
In the pass-happy Atlantic Coast Conference, there is no lack of players putting up gaudy passing numbers.
Wake Forest‘s Sam Hartman and Tyler Van Dyke of Miami were Heisman contenders earlier in the season, but they have faded. Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei leads all ACC players with +2000 Heisman odds. The only player in the conference with more passing yards is North Carolina’s Drake Maye.
Maye has thrown for 1,903 passing yards with 21 TDs and three interceptions. He is currently at +5000 in the Heisman odds.
Matchup of the Week
Alabama vs Tennessee, Saturday, 3;30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Hooker will be front and center in Tennessee’s biggest game of the year and perhaps one of the most noteworthy games the Volunteers have played in quite some time.
The question is whether Alabama’s Young will be on the field as well. Young, the reigning Heisman winner, is iffy to play because of a shoulder injury.
Running back Gibbs and linebacker Will Anderson, Alabama’s other Heisman candidates, are set to go. Gibbs could play a big role once again after back-to-back impressive showings, while Anderson will look to disrupt the Tennessee passing offense and lead a defense that is tied for 12th nationally with 166.3 passing yards allowed per game.
It is far from the only matchup to keep an eye on for Heisman candidates.
Utah leads the Pac-12 in passing defense and will try to slow down USC’s Williams.
Penn State is fifth in the nation with an average of 79.8 rushing yards per game and the Nittany Lions will face Michigan’s Corum in another showdown of undefeated teams.