Back in 2016 when the Heisman Trophy was awarded to Lamar Jackson and not Deshaun Watson, a portion of the Clemson fan base became disillusioned with the Heisman Trophy, and the entire process. Many claim the award has no meaning anymore, many going as far as saying the trophy is a joke. Wonder if those opinions would change if Trevor Lawrence or Travis Etienne were to win the award this season?
Make no mistake, Deshaun Watson should have won it that season. At least by the criteria I would use in choosing a player to vote for anyways. That doesn’t mean Jackson didn’t deserve it though. Personally, I have always been of the opinion that valid arguments could be made for both, and that it was just one of those seasons where there was no wrong choice. That opinion may not be popular among this fan base, but it won’t be the first time I have expressed an unpopular opinion.
One thing I do disagree with is that the award has become a “joke.” Some of the fans may view it that way but I guarantee you those football players don’t, not do their coaches. One thing the 2016 season did prove was that the voting process is flawed. Far to many voters had already turned their ballots in before the conference title games were even played. Some had sent theirs in even earlier than that.
When voting for an award as prestigious as the Heisman, the entire body of work should be considered, including all postseason games. Big time players show up in big time moments and there is no bigger moment than the postseason, especially the CFP. If the entire season were factored in, Watson would have won in a landslide that year. There was one positive to come out of all of that though. In seasons since, most voters have cut out the habit of turning in their ballots so early.
Yes, the Heisman is part popularity contest. Yes, it heavily relies on statistics. Yes, the voting process is still flawed. That is how most individual awards work. Yet, I would still be ecstatic to see one of Dabo Swinney’s players finally bring one home. The culture he has created at Clemson ensures the desire to win individual honors remains a secondary goal and that the teams goals come first, but there isn’t a person in that locker room who has lost their desire for a Tiger to win the Heisman.
With that said, lets take a look at the early season candidates and how they fared in Week 3. Did they help themselves or hurt themselves?
The preseason favorite to win the award has gotten off to a slow start compared to how he finished last season and the expectations coming into this one. Lawrence set a career high with 395 passing yards in the Tigers 41-6 romp over Syracuse, with the offense still not clicking on all cylinders. He tossed 3 TDs and ran for another. However, he also threw 2 more picks, one of which came on a bad decision where the defense fooled him, and now has 5 on the season. The Tigers are about to start a stretch against teams that aren’t even in the same universe with them when it comes to comparing talent. A stretch in which the kinks will get ironed out. For now though….. Stock Down
After rushing for more than 200 yards in the season opener, ETN was the trendy pick as the early favorite. That lasted all of a week, as the junior back was held to just 53 yards against A&M and 76 against Syracuse. As with Lawrence, Etienne is starting a stretch in which he could possibly put up BIG numbers.Video game like numbers. However, it is more likely the Tigers limit his carries in those games after building a lead and focus on building some depth and saving the elite back’s legs….. Stock Down
Tua had himself a career day against the Gamecocks, throwing for a career high 444 yards and tying a career high with 5 TDs. He averaged 12.3 YPA and had a QBR of 95.3. Not bad for a days work….. Stock Up
Hurts was 15-20 for 289 yards with 3 TDs in the Sooners blowout win over UCLA. He also rushed for 150 yards on 14 carries, adding another TD on the ground. Altogether he had 439 yards from scrimmage. He became the 1st Sooner QB to pass for 200 yards and rush for 100 in the first half. So far, so good for Lincoln Riley’s transformation project….. Stock Up
Fields had another productive day against Indiana and is probably playing as well as any QB in the country at the moment. He is hitting big throws, making plays with his legs, and not turning the ball over. His numbers last weekend weren’t eye popping as he finished 14-24 for 199 yards and 4 total TDs….. Stock Even
How about that? An LSU quarterback being mentioned as a Heisman contender. Who would have thought? Burrow racked up 373 yards through the air against lowly Northwestern State, throwing just 3 incompletions. He threw for 2 TDs and ran for another in LSU’s 65-14 win. It is hard to gauge this performance considering the competition, but that LSU offense keeps rolling right along….. Stock Even
Despite having played no one with a pulse, Fromm keeps hanging around in this race. Against Arkansas St he was 17-22 for 279 yards with 3 TDs in the Dawgs 55-0 win. However, he gets a national stage this week as the Fighting Irish come to town in what will be the weekends biggest matchup. An impressive outing on Saturday and he could put his name firmly in the race, maybe even take the lead….. Stock Even
The Wazzou QB hit on 36 of 48 passes for 440 yards in the Cougars 31-24 win over Houston, averaging 9.16 YPA. He was named the Pac 12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in 3 games and is completing almost 79% of his passes on the season. He has thrown 12 TDs to just 2 picks so far, but the competition is about to pick up after this weekends game against UCLA. Yes, it’s the Air Raid offense, but still….. Stock Up
We are only three weeks in, with a majority of the candidates not having played any real competition yet. Talking about the favorites now is just that, talk. However, it’s college football and there aren’t many subjects out there better to talk about.