The coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty to the 2020 college football season. But it’s pretty certain that a quarterback is going to win the Heisman Trophy for the fifth consecutive season.
The position has dominated the Heisman voting in the 2000s. Since Chris Weinke became the first QB in four years to win the Heisman in 2000, QBs have won 16 of the last 19 awards. And that trend is likely going to become 17 in 20 in January when the Heisman is awarded in a virtual ceremony because of the pandemic.
Exactly who will be hearing his name announced as the Heisman winner at that ceremony is still a very open question. Will the winner be preseason favorite Trevor Lawrence? Ohio State’s Justin Fields? Someone else?
As of now, we’d go with someone else, though that analysis is affected by Lawrence’s coronavirus diagnosis and Ohio State only playing three games so far. There’s still a long way to go in this weird season.
But at this point, that someone else is Florida QB Kyle Trask. The senior has put up stats remarkably similar to 2019 Heisman winner Joe Burrow through his team’s first six games of the season. Trask is 148-of-211 passing for 2,171 yards and has thrown 28 touchdowns to just three interceptions.
While Trask may not be the betting favorite just yet for the Heisman, his numbers are the best of any QB in college football. And he’s playing for a top-10 team that can make it to the College Football Playoff if it wins out.
If Florida does win out, it’s because Trask continued to play really well. Being the star quarterback on an SEC champion that’s heading to the College Football Playoff is a good recipe for Heisman contention.
Here’s how we see the Heisman race on Nov. 18. Players’ betting odds are courtesy of BetMGM.
1. Kyle Trask, QB, Florida (+260)
Trask’s touchdown total through six games in 2020 is already three more than he threw in 12 games in 2019. Trask has thrown at least four touchdowns in every game so far this season — all against SEC teams — and has thrown six touchdowns in two games. Saturday night against Arkansas, Trask was 23-of-29 for 356 yards and six scores. He had that performance without star TE Kyle Pitts too. Pitts has been Trask’s top target this season but missed the game after a brutal hit from Georgia’s Lewis Cine.
2. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (+260)
Fields didn’t play on Saturday as Ohio State’s game against Maryland was canceled because of COVID-19 cases at UM. That deprived us of a chance to see how Fields could continue his incredible start to the season. Fields has thrown just 11 incompletions and 11 touchdowns through three games while averaging nearly 11 yards per passing attempt. He’ll face his toughest test yet on Saturday when No. 3 Ohio State hosts No. 9 Indiana.
3. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (+200)
Lawrence is set to return to the field at Florida State on Saturday after a two-game absence because of COVID-19. Lawrence has thrown for 1,833 yards and 17 touchdowns to just two interceptions in six games this season and has the highest completion percentage of his career. That’s also with a Clemson wide receiving corps that isn’t as talented as it’s been in Lawrence’s first two years with the school. Will missing two games in a shortened season be enough to derail Lawrence’s Heisman hopes?
4. Mac Jones, QB, Alabama (+350)
Jones has been phenomenal in 2020. He’s 139-of-177 passing for 2,196 yards and has thrown for 16 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He’s also averaging over 12 yards per passing attempt. WR Jaylen Waddle appeared to be Alabama’s best shot for a Heisman winner until he suffered a season-ending injury at Tennessee. Now it’s Jones, who has thrown for nearly 700 yards and four touchdowns in two games without Waddle.
5. Zach Wilson, QB, BYU (+2500)
Wilson has some significantly long Heisman odds despite leading the nation in passing yards. Wilson has thrown for 2,512 yards in eight games and will have a chance to pad his stats against North Alabama on Saturday — at least until he gets to take a break in the second half. But there’s unfortunately not much more Heisman upside for Wilson. That North Alabama game is one of just two games left on BYU’s schedule.
Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame (+5000)
Book hasn’t thrown an interception since the first game of the season. After a pedestrian start to the season, Book has thrown eight touchdowns over his past four games. And his stats don’t totally reflect how well he played against Clemson. Against Boston College on Nov. 14, Book threw for 283 yards and three scores while rushing 10 times for 85 yards and another TD.
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Ridder has emerged as one of the best dual-threat QBs in the country as No. 7 Cincinnati is 7-0. Ridder has thrown for 1,483 yards and 14 touchdowns and has rushed for nine scores while averaging nearly nine yards a carry.
Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss
Moore has caught 10 or more passes in six of Ole Miss’ seven games this season. He leads college football in receptions (74) and receiving yards (1,054) and is tied for fourth in receiving touchdowns. He has 27 catches for 463 yards and five touchdowns over Ole Miss’ last two games.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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