As we inch closer to the start of college football season, the 2022 Heisman Trophy race is beginning to take a little bit more shape.
While it currently seems like a two-man race between last year’s winner, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, and Ohio State quarterback C.J Stroud, a list of other names like Texas running back Bijon Robinson, Ohio State wide receiver Braxton Smith-Njigba, and USC quarterback Caleb Williams are also in the mix.
So where do they all stack up?
Who Will Win the Heisman Trophy?
For starters, history tells us that the Heisman Trophy winner is almost always a quarterback who puts up strong raw stats (like touchdowns), whose team wins 10+ games, and plays in a Power 5 conference.
There also have been claims of an East Coast or Southeast bias when it comes to Heisman Trophy voting. While it’s near impossible to support that, the voting is constructed in a way where that could be true. 870 voters, primarily sports writers, across six regions get three total spots on their ballot, with players getting 3, 2 or 1 point for each vote. Since West Coast voters cover a large percentage of the country but don’t have a large percentage of the vote, a bias that hurts players from West Coast schools would make sense.
So now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the primary contenders a few dark horses.
If you like any of the bets we mention, use our sportsbook offer deals here to win even more money.
Bryce Young – QB, Alabama (+400): Even though Young won last year, repeat Heisman Trophy winners are rare, with only one player (Archie Griffin) having won the award twice, so Young will have his work cut out for him. He will also have to carry an offense that lost wide receivers Jameson Williams, John Metchie III, and Slade Bolden and running back Brian Robinson Jr. to the NFL. Alabama notoriously reloads quickly, so it’s possible but I’m not sure he’s the best bet.
C.J. Stroud – QB, Ohio State (+200): Stroud checks basically all of the boxes we listed above. Quarterback for a Power 5 conference team? Yes. Does he play for a team likely to win 10+ games? Yes. Did he put up impressive raw stats? Does throwing for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns with just six interceptions in 441 attempts count? Does he have an east coast bias? Yes, when it comes to college football TV scheduling and airtime. All of that plus his main competitor being last year’s winner makes it seem like the Heisman Trophy is Stroud’s to lose, for now.
However, he is the best bet to win the award this year and does make for a pretty strong bet ahead of the start of the season since a $100 bet could still earn you $200 at these odds.
Caleb Williams – QB, USC (+600): After throwing for 1,912 yards with 21 touchdowns and four interceptions in a part-time role with Oklahoma, Caleb Williams followed head coach Lincoln Riley to USC. He’ll be throwing to a receiving corps that includes last year’s Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s best receiver, Jordan Addison – a Pitt transfer – plus returning Trojans Tahj Washington and Gary Bryant Jr., who combined for 98 catches for 1,181 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Williams may have to contend with the East Coast bias, but he checks all the other boxes.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba – WR, Ohio State (+3300): If a non-quarterback wins the award this year, it might be Stroud’s top receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who has already seen his odds improve from +5000 to +3300 on most sportsbooks. In his sophomore season, the 6’0″ receiver posted 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns on 95 receptions. His elite yardage totals will catch the attention of voters and if he and Stroud connect enough, or if Stroud were to suffer an injury, Smith-Njigba could be the type of high-profile player to steal the trophy from a quarterback.
Bijan Robinson – RB, Texas (+4000): Another non-quarterback who could win is Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who ran for 1,127 yards and 11 touchdowns in just ten games last year. He also added 295 yards and four touchdowns through the air and proved to be a true workhorse running back. Considering Texas has some flaws at the quarterback position, Robinson could drag his team to a successful season and sway the Heisman Trophy voters, but it might not be the best bet.
Tyler Van Dyke – QB, Miami (+4000): Sometimes a good story can also help propel somebody to the Heisman Trophy, and Tyler Van Dyke has the potential to be the face of the Miami Hurricane football turnaround. With the team receiving a lot of attention for their potential return to prominence on the national stage, Van Dyke could ride the wave after a strong freshman season that saw him throw for 2,931 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions in ten games. He is a quarterback that plays on a Power 5 team who plays on the East Coast and could put up impressive raw stats, which means that Van Dyke could check a lot of the boxes for a typical Heisman Trophy winner.
JJ McCarthy – QB, Michigan (+20000): You want a long shot? Here is a real longshot? McCarthy is currently in a battle with Cade McNamara to just be the starting quarterback on his own team. However, McCarthy was an elite prospect in the 2021 class and showed flashes of stardom last year. If he does with the job, he’ll be playing on an offense with emerging star running back Blake Corum and throwing to a talented group of wide receivers that includes eight of its top nine receivers and gets back Ronnie Bell, who led the team in receiving in 2019 and 2020 before tearing his ACL in 2021. If McCarthy can lead Michigan to 10+ wins, including a win against Ohio State in Columbus, we could see him as a Heisman finalist. It’s not a likely outcome but at these odds throwing a small bet on it could be lucrative since $100 would win you $20,000.
For more college football coverage like this Heisman Trophy article visit amNY Sports