With only two weeks left in college football's regular season, the race for the Heisman Trophy is closer than it has been all year. What formerly appeared to be a two-man competition has become a wide-open sprint to hoisting the trophy in New York City after conference championship week.
CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State +110
One of the preseason frontrunners for the award has more or less stayed in the driver’s seat all year long with the most important game of his and his team’s season still to be played. The 2022 edition of The Game appears to be the matchup upon which his Heisman campaign hinges. This week he’ll face a middling Maryland defense, so we shouldn't get too ahead of ourselves, but all signs point to Stroud staying atop the Heisman odds barring disaster for the Buckeyes.
Stroud’s season has been nothing short of spectacular for a signal caller at an elite program, staying efficient and accurate with a high level of consistency throughout 2022. He still boasts the top QBR in FBS at 90.9, a rating just north of fellow candidate Hendon Hooker. He’s tied for first in passing touchdowns with fellow candidate Drake Maye. He’s only thrown four interceptions en route to passing for 2,750 yards.
In order to solidify his position as the man to beat, Stroud can afford a quiet game against Maryland, but will need to show extra flashed of brilliance against Michigan in Ohio State’s final regular season game. Minding the fact that the Heisman Trophy isn’t awarded until after conference championship week, a Big 10 championship game with a solid performance would all but solidify earning the award for FBS’s top player for Stroud.
Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee +360
Hooker’s only blemish in an otherwise statistically ridiculous season is the fact that he had the misfortune of facing Georgia’s defense on the road in what was the loudest college football game in recorded history. Since Georgia has clinched the SEC East, he’s the only candidate below +1000 currently without an opportunity to play in a conference championship game, which further gives him ground to gain with a pre-ceremony schedule that includes matchups at South Carolina and at Vanderbilt.
Those two games provide a lot of potential to continue showing out for Hooker, who, as previously mentioned, has the second-highest QBR in FBS going into week 11. He’s sitting at 2,888 yards with 24 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina +550
Maye has surged in the odds recently after weeks of my reading of how strong his Heisman candidacy is. I knew his TD totals, but especially for a true freshman, Drake Maye’s stat lines are nothing short of absurd.
He and North Carolina will face the Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, which is undoubtedly the toughest test thus far for the Tar Heels. If he excels and leads UNC to an upset victory, his chances easily skyrocket further than they have in recent weeks. As is stands now, the freshman has thrown for a whopping 3,412 yards with 34 touchdowns (tied with Stroud) and three interceptions.
The Heels host Georgia Tech this weekend in what should be another opportunity to pad those stats for Maye. With three guaranteed games remaining, Maye has an opportunity to continue one of the strongest late surges in the Heisman race that we’ve witnessed in years.
Blake Corum, RB, Michigan +600
The Wolverines’ featured back has remained consistent and increased his odds coming down the home stretch, but like Stroud, his candidacy hangs upon whether or not his team wins The Game and provides him an extra scheduled date to make the stat sheet appear even more impressive.
He’s posted 1,349 yards and 17 touchdowns on 227 carries, establishing him as one of the most efficient tailbacks in FBS. Only one of the top five backs (in terms of rushing yards) in the upper echelon of college football has fewer carries: UAB’s DeWayne McBride.
Should Michigan win a close battle decided by the run game, there’s no reason to think Corum can’t steal a Heisman at the last second.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details