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Heisman Trophy Stock Up, Stock Down: Challengers Emerge

It is business as usual for last year’s Heisman Trophy winner as Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams continues to be the player to beat when it comes to the Heisman Trophy best bets.

Oregon quarterback Bo Nix and Texas QB Quinn Ewers are making sure that Williams doesn’t run away with the Heisman Trophy.

Heisman Trophy Stock Up, Stock Down: Challengers Emerge
Quarterback Caleb Williams of the USC Trojans | Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

There will be some work yet to do for the top running backs and receivers. Michigan running back Blake Corum has the best odds to win the Heisman among the non-quarterbacks according to the sportsbook.

The LSU-Ole Miss and USC-Colorado matchups are the games that should be on the radar of Heisman Trophy voters. It will also be interesting to see how Ewers fares against an improved Kansas pass defense this weekend.

Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. (+400) is a close second to Williams in the Heisman Trophy odds.

Here’s a look at the latest edition of the Heisman risers and fallers of the 2023 season.

Getting Crowded Near the Top

While the odds for reigning Heisman Trophy winner Williams have been trending in the right direction since the start of the season, some other quarterbacks have closed the gap.

Washington’s Penix leads the nation with 1,636 passing yards and is second only to Williams in passing efficiency.

Even though he failed to throw for more than 400 yards for the first time this season in Saturday’s win over California, he is now at +400 in the odds to win the Heisman Trophy after starting the season at +1600.

Another passer who is making a move is Ewers of Texas.

Before the season, there were those who wondered if star recruit Arch Manning would replace Ewers as the starting QB for the Longhorns.

That chatter has stopped as Ewers has thrown 112 passes without an interception this season.

He doesn’t get the chance to air things out as much as some of his fellow Heisman Trophy contenders, but perhaps that will change with the next two games coming against ranked teams.

The Heisman Trophy odds for Ewers have moved from +1200 to +550 since the season began.

Who’s Rising in the Heisman Trophy Race?

A year ago, there would barely be a mention of any stats when Bo Nix and the Oregon Ducks faced Colorado.

What a difference a year makes. Hall of Fame defensive back Deion Sanders has brought more than 50 transfers to Colorado and one of them is his son, Shedeur Sanders. A Heisman Trophy candidate as well, Sanders threw for just 169 yards and a TD pass with Colorado already down by 42 points. However, it was Nix who calmly completed 28 of 33 passes for 276 yards in the 42-6 win.

Although Nix did throw an interception, he also had three touchdown passes. In four games this season, Nix is completing 79.4% of his passes with 11 touchdowns and one interception.

His Heisman odds have moved from +1600 to +1000 since the start of the season.

Jordan Travis had a so-so game against Clemson as he failed to complete at least 60% of his passes for the second time this season. He did throw two touchdowns, one coming in overtime, as Florida State rallied for the win over the Tigers.

His odds have gone from +1400 to +1200. That might not seem like much, but with so many other challengers heading in the opposite direction, that movement is noteworthy.

Who’s Falling in the Heisman Trophy Race?

There are plenty of candidates to make this list.

With the top 13 players in the odds to win the Heisman Trophy being quarterbacks, it obviously has not been the best of starts for running backs and receivers eager to make a move. It is not looking promising for players other than quarterbacks to be considered Heisman Trophy best bets.

Michigan running back Corum has three straight games with at least two touchdowns and he fell three yards shy of his second consecutive game with at least 100 rushing yards.

There is nothing wrong with 351 rushing yards, 6.1 yards per carry and eight touchdown runs in four games. However, Michigan’s schedule isn’t helping since matchups with East Carolina, UNLV, Bowling Green and Rutgers make it hard for Corum to deliver Heisman moments.

According to the college football betting lines, his Heisman odds are now at +5000, the best among non-quarterbacks. However, they started at +2800.

Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison was pretty quiet during the win over Notre Dame with 32 yards on three catches. His odds to win the Heisman are now at +6000. Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson also comes in at +6000 in the Heisman odds.

Running backs Quinshon Judkins of Ole Miss, Will Shipley of Clemson, Nick Singleton of Penn State and Braelon Allen are even further back.

Speaking of fading odds, Tennessee’s Joe Milton has seen his odds go from +2500 to +6000. Georgia’s Carson Beck and Drake Maye of North Carolina both began the season at +1600 in the Heisman odds and now both sit at +4000.

With Clemson already with two ACC losses and quarterback Cade Klubnik ninth among ACC quarterbacks in passing efficiency, his odds have tumbled to +8000.

Who Should Be Making An Appearance

There’s plenty of time left for the pecking order to change. Still, there are some players who should be getting more love when it comes to the Heisman hype.

Notre Dame’s Audric Estime, who leads the nation with 591 yards rushing and averages 7.7 yards per carry, and LSU receiver Malik Nabers (32 catches, 523 yards, five touchdowns) are two players who come to mind.

Matchup of the Week

College Football Pick: USC Trojans (-21½) vs Colorado Buffaloes

Saturday, Sept. 23, Noon ET (FOX)

The game lost some of its shine with the way Colorado crumbled against Oregon last week and now comes a matchup with last year’s Heisman Trophy winner Williams.

Colorado ranks 11th in the Pac-12 in passing defense and no team from a Power-5 conference has allowed more passing touchdowns than Colorado, so that could be a bad mix for the Buffaloes and a great combination for Williams.

USC’s pass defense is pretty mediocre so perhaps Sanders can bounce back and make a push in the Heisman odds after his odds went in the wrong direction last weekend.

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