Can Bryce Young Defend His Heisman Trophy? Vegas Isn’t So Sure

Getty Bryce Young poses with Heisman Trophy

Bryce Young’s 2021-22 season was nothing short of phenomenal with only one exception. Falling short to Georgia in the National Championship game. There’s no doubt the loss to UGA was devastating for the enitre Alabama program, but that doesn’t change the incredible season Young delivered, which earned him the honor of being awarded the Heisman Trophy in early December.

Young had 3 very stout finalists to compete with for the annual honor. Aidan Hutchison, Michigan defensive lineman, was 2nd in voting. C.J. Stroud, the quarterback from Ohio State, finshed 3rd and Pittsburgh quarterback, Kenny Pickett, came in 4th place.

C.J. Stroud the Preseason Betting Favorite

Stroud is returning for his redshirt sophmore season at the helm for Ohio State and somewhat suprisngly is the preseason favorite to take home the Heisman in December. FanDuel currently lists Stroud’s odds to win the premier College Football Award at +200.

Stroud, just like Young, had eye-popping individual numbers with 44 touchdowns against only 6 interceptions on nearly 4500 yards passing. Although the Heisman is technically an individual award, it is still voted on by humans who inherently have flaws and biases regardlesss of whether they adknowledge them or not. As a result, a case can be made that Stroud didn’t win last year’s  award due to losses against Oregon and Michigan.

Bryce Young’s Quest to Make History

Bryce Young comes in as the 2nd favorite to win the Heisman Trophy with FanDuel odds at +400. Coincidentally, he’ll also be trying to etch his name in the history books under a different type of 2nd place. Should Young go on to win this year’s Heisman Trophy, he’ll become just the 2nd player in history to be awarded the trophy twice during his college career. Archie Griffin is currently the only player to hold that honor after winning in 1974 and ’75.

Young’s individual numbers in the 2021-2022 season were eye popping overall as he threw for nearly 5000 yards and 47 touchdowns against only 7 interceptions with a 67% completion rate. Young also set an Alabama school record by throwing for 559 yards against Arkansas which was also the 2nd most single game passing yards in SEC history.

Young and Stroud both have elite talent as well as outstanding surrounding casts. With such similar performances last season, this year’s Heisman Trophy race could once again come down to one loss or one win.

Caleb Williams, a New Trojan to Keep an Eye On

A new venue, but familiar faces. Los Angeles might be more recognizable as Norman-West this year. Head Coach Lincoln Riley and starting quarterback Caleb Williams both made the jump to USC during the offseason. Now Williams clocks in at 3rd on FanDuel’s list of Heisman Trophy odds at +600.

After a somewhat shaky start regarding the quarterback position at Oklahoma last season, Caleb Williams emerged as the clear No. 1 roughly 3-4 games into the season. Williams not only validated his arm talent, but also showed that he can make plays with his legs especially when the Sooners needed to convert key third downs to extend drives.

This season Williams will benefit from taking all the first team reps in preseason practices as well as being the unquestioned starter at QB for the entire season barring any unforseen circumstances. With Lincoln Riley still on the sideline, albeit a different one, Williams has everything pointing in favor of a big season.

A Dark Horse to Keep in Mind

While it’s no secret that the Heisman Trophy Award is overwhelmingly an offensive award with Charles Woodson still being the only defender to win it to date. It also tends to skew heavily towards quarterbacks. As the saying goes though, there’s an exception to every rule and Alabama Wide Reciever DeVonta Smith proved it just two years ago when he won the 2020 Heisman. Smith’s preseason odds to win the award were quite long at 100-1.

This season’s odds are no different with quarterbacks leading the way, but there’s a player further down the list that will be entertaining to keep track of as the season develops. That young man is the Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers. A former #1 recruit, Ewers originally committed to Ohio State, but only saw 2 game plays, both of which were handoffs.

Subsequently, Ewers entered the transfer portal and returned to his home state, where he was a high school football legend, by enrolling at The University of Texas. So far however, Ewers is “all hat, no cattle” as they say in the Lone Star State, but he has all the potential in the world and is joining a team that seems to be on an upward trajectory. Ewers 50-1 odds are fairly long, but might provide good value for betttors willing to invest in potential.

 

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