Winning the Heisman Trophy is sometimes the product of a player simply outperforming everyone and everything else. Cam Newton in 2010 at Auburn or Joe Burrow in 2019 at LSU are examples of players who have had phenomenal, historically notable seasons that no one else has been able to match. Players finishing behind those two may have had great seasons that — in other years — would have been enough to take home the Heisman.
In 2010 and 2019 they had no chance.
Newton and Burrow lapped the field these seasons to provide two clear examples of Heisman winners simply walking away with the honors.
This is not one of those years. There are many great players out there, but there isn’t one “God Mode” player who just takes off and lets everyone else down. Of course, winning the Heisman this year is a product of individual quality and performance, but it also depends on the performance of the competition.
Caleb Williams found the right mix in week 12.
Let’s break down his Heisman odds, which skyrocketed en route to the Notre Dame game.
STAT LINE VS UCLA
Caleb Williams completed 32 of 43 passes (74.4%) for 470 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT against UCLA.
He ran the ball 8 times for 33 yards and 1 TD.
Total offense: 503 yards
Total touchdowns: 3
Tennessee and Hooker took it on the chin against South Carolina. Hooker wasn’t bad, but he was certainly expected to score a lot more than the 38 points the Vols scored in their loss, and seven of those points came from backup QB Joe Milton. Hooker was still supposed to be a Heisman finalist, but his chances of winning the award were clearly severely limited.
North Carolina was shut out at home by Georgia Tech in the second half. This eliminates Maye as the Heisman winner. He could still be a Heisman finalist, but he won’t lift the trophy. They can’t be shut out by Georgia Tech in the second half. These are the (unofficial) rules.
DTR is a fighter and a great contender, but his Heisman chances are 100% over, over, over after that revenue-boosting loss to USC.
Oregon beat Utah but on defense. Bo Nix played his best but he’s been struggling more in recent weeks. He needs to play well over the next two weeks to make a big closing argument. Caleb Williams clearly leads him in the Heisman chase if we’re going to compare the two men.
The outstanding Michigan running back was injured against Illinois. Unless he’s great against Ohio State, he probably won’t be a Heisman finalist.
TCU is 11-0 and Duggan has certainly had a special year, but the TCU offense has struggled in recent weeks and the Horned Frogs are winning games with clutch defensive play as well as offensive ability. Duggan doesn’t make the big closing statement that a Heisman contender needs to make. If he finishes 13-0 and finishes with a bang, he might make it to New York for the Heisman ceremony as a finalist, but his odds of winning the award are extremely slim…much slimmer than Caleb Williams’ chances.
Here the race seems to stand at the moment. It’s Caleb Williams versus CJ Stroud for the Heisman. Hooker, Maye and other top contenders having a tough week 12 raise Caleb and Stroud.
They’re both on the same level for a few obvious reasons, one of which is that they play for elite branded football programs. The stuff usually plays into the Heisman vote whether you like it or not.
Ohio State plays Michigan. USC plays Notre Dame. Everyone will see these games. It’s a huge platform for Caleb Williams and CJ Stroud. If one beats the other, that’s probably your ball game. If both play equally well and get the same results, Stroud will likely have a slight advantage when it comes to the conference championship games.
CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES
USC secured a spot in the conference title game. This is important because it puts Williams front and center in the last week of the season before the bowls (excluding Army-Navy a week later). Ohio State and Stroud must beat Michigan to reach the conference title game in the Big Ten. If Stroud loses to Michigan and isn’t spectacular in the loss, Caleb will have the inside track to the Heisman.
MEMORIES OF 2002 FOR USC
Carson Palmer won the 2002 Heisman Trophy with a great season-ending performance against Notre Dame at the Los Angeles Coliseum in prime time. Caleb Williams is capable of making the same big statement, especially when CJ Stroud falters against Michigan.
It’s likely Stroud’s Heisman to lose at this point. He didn’t play well against Michigan last year, but that game was in Ann Arbor and Michigan had a better team than this year. Playing at home in Columbus, Stroud is capable of having a big game. If he leads Ohio State 13-0 into the college football playoffs, there’s no doubt that Caleb Williams will have a tough time overtaking him… and Caleb would be very unlikely to win.
USC fans will be rooting for Michigan this week against Ohio State … and if the Wolverines lose to the Buckeyes, they could be USC’s opponent in the 2023 Rose Bowl if the Trojans win the Pac-12 title game but fail to make the playoffs .
Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire