The voting for the 2023 Heisman Trophy should remind fans that there’s no such thing as a sure thing.
As Heisman odds for the upcoming college football season haven’t been posted yet (eligible players have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft, and the transfer portal is open until Jan. 2), let’s take a look at how the 2023 Heisman Trophy played out from a gambling perspective.
USC then-sophomore quarterback Caleb Williams won the Heisman after the 2022 season.
As Williams was not yet eligible for the NFL Draft, he returned for his junior season at USC with sky-high expectations.
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The Trojans started the season ranked sixth in the country and USC fans started pricing hotel rooms for the College Football Playoff semifinals. In addition, bettors were all over Williams to become the first player since Ohio State running back Archie Griffin in 1974-75 to win consecutive Heismans.
Williams started the season as the Heisman favorite at +500. The Trojans raced out to a 6-0 start and Williams’ Heisman odds shortened to +175.
But Williams and the Trojans collapsed down the stretch, losing five of their final six games. His odds dropped to +3500 heading into Week 8, +12500 heading into Week 12, +25000 a week later and off the board starting in Week 14.
The three quarterback Heisman finalists this season — Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., Oregon’s Bo Nix and winner Jayden Daniels of LSU — each entered the season at +1600.
Penix took the lead at -145 heading into Week 8, Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy took the lead at +240 the next week, then Penix (+275) took it back the following week.
Penix and Nix then jostled at the top of the oddsboard for the next several weeks, before Penix essentially knocked Nix out of contention as Washington upset Oregon in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game. Penix moved from +1600 to +900 and Nix fell from -150 to +2200.
At that point, surging past Nix and Penix was Daniels, who soared from +120 to -1400, completing an epic run for the Heisman.
Daniels was at +400 in Week 3 and +3000 in Week 7.
Daniels cemented his Heisman status when he had 509 yards in total offense, threw six touchdown passes and ran for two TDs in the 56-14 win over Georgia State on Nov. 18.
RJ Young analyzes Daniels’ Heisman win, reveals his 2024 Heisman contenders
Now, let’s look at players to watch for the 2024 Heisman, with thoughts from FOX Sports’ RJ Young and Joel Klatt.
Young, host of Number One College Football Show, gave his five candidates for the 2024 Heisman, including Georgia quarterback Carson Beck, Ohio State running back TreVeyon Henderson (who could opt to enter the draft) and Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon II.
Young put most of his focus on his top two choices, beginning with his second choice, Alabama QB Jalen Milroe.
“If Jalen Milroe can continue to show the sort of progress that he showed in the last half of the season, everything’s going to be all right. I really do believe that dude has what it takes to win the Heisman Trophy,” Young said. “I also think that he can probably do the best for his chances to win it in 2024 with a win against Michigan in the College Football Playoff and a national championship.”
Dillon Gabriel — the QB who is transferring to Oregon via the portal from Oklahoma — is Young’s early Heisman pick.
“If Dillon Gabriel can play the kind of football that he’s played most of his career, he can be another 4,000-(yard) passing guy who got 60 TDs and easily could take Oregon to new heights, right? Namely winning a national championship, something they’ve never done,” Young said.
“He does all of that, puts them on that trajectory, we should say by the time the Heisman voting ends, ‘I could see him winning the Heisman Trophy in 2024.’”
Quinn Ewers, Jalen Milroe among Joel Klatt’s early 2024 Heisman contenders
Klatt likes another QB to win the 2024 Heisman: Quinn Ewers of the Texas Longhorns — assuming he delays entering the NFL Draft.
“You might think to yourself, ‘Are we sure Arch Manning‘s not going to be the quarterback?’ Well, he might be. If Manning is the quarterback, then he will be on this list,” said Klatt, who played QB for the Colorado Buffaloes from 2002-05. “So, maybe I should just list this spot as whoever starts at quarterback for Texas next season.
“But I expect Ewers to come back, and reports seem to indicate that will happen as well. Ewers will continue to develop and put up quality numbers if he’s back in Austin next fall. This is a highly explosive offense and will continue to be with Steve Sarkisian. They’ve got things rolling on the offensive and defensive lines. They’re recruiting at a high level and Ewers can just sit there to have a tremendous season once again.”
Who do you like to win the Heisman Trophy in 2024? Follow FOX Sports for the latest news in college football and other sports.
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