Willman’s final Heisman top five 

A final look into the Heisman race 

The+WSU+football+team+makes+their+entrance+onto+the+field+before+an+NCAA+football+match+against+California%2C+Oct.+1.

COLE QUINN

The WSU football team makes their entrance onto the field before an NCAA football match against California, Oct. 1.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Evergreen reporter

Following the conclusion of the regular-season and conference championship games, the games that impact the Heisman vote have now been played. Even so, the winner is not a clear picture, as several players have a case. 

Looking at the top five candidates will help paint a picture of the possibilities for who the winner will be, come the time of the ceremony. 

  1. Michael Penix Jr 

If Penix were not the quarterback of a Pac-12 team, he likely is a finalist for the award. The bias that the conference experiences in the voting for awards such as the Heisman are clear. As many voters are sound asleep by the time the night games enter the second half. 

The leader of the Huskies, who recently announced that he is returning for 2023, has had by far the most productive season of his collegiate career. Through 12 games and a 10-2 record, he leads the entire FBS in passing yardage with 4,354. 

Through the air, he has 27 touchdowns to only seven interceptions and, with precisely 500 passing attempts, has a completion percentage of 66.0%. 

His candidacy is a massive reach, but he will be highly considered in preseason odds in 2023. 

  1. Stetson Bennett 

The leader of the best team in the nation has quietly put up a fantastic statistical season. Throwing 105 fewer passes than Penix, he has put up 3,425 yards and 20 TDs wtih just six interceptions. 

Significantly, his role is often diminished to being a game manager due to the talent around him. However, he is a highly accurate and highly accomplished QB who consistently makes plays when it matters most. 

That being said, he is certainly not a real contender in the race and only the next three have a genuine chance to take home the hardware.

  1. C.J. Stroud (Odds +2500

Halfway through the season, this was the pick. Compared to Stroud, no other player had a true case. But, with several rough performances and a big loss to Michigan at home, he has slightly fallen down the totem poll. 

Not playing in the conference championship will hurt the statistical output for the QB, but his Buckeyes only lost one game and still were able to squeak into the playoffs as the fourth seed. 

He has 3,340 yards and a nation-leading 37 TDs to eight interceptions. If he were to play that extra game and had one of his better games and got to the 40 TD mark, he may be the favorite once again, but he will finish in third place. 

  1. Max Duggan (Odds +2000

Heart.Duggan’s candidacy is based on heart and leading TCU to an underdog season. Coming into the season, he was not on the radar to be a finalist for the award, but now at the end of the season, he is firmly in second place.

The Horned Frogs lost in the conference championship, but Duggan put it all out on the line. He was drained and could barely reach the sideline, where he kept being immediately put on oxygen. He exemplified the fighting spirit and put his team in a position to get the win. 

Statistically speaking, he has thrown for 3,321 yards, 30 TDs and only four interceptions. On the ground, he has added 404 yards and six TDs. All around, as a leader and as a player, Duggan has been the perfect Heisman candidate. 

  1. Caleb Williams (Odds -2800

Another player to show tremendous heart just to fall short in his conference championship game is Caleb Williams. The difference is: he is still going to win the Heisman. 

Against Utah, the Trojans fell for the second time this season. Williams was playing through a busted and bleeding pinky and a significant hamstring injury.

Head coach Lincoln Riley called it one of the gutsiest performances he had ever seen. 

Williams finishes the year fourth in yards, tied in the lead for TDs, fifth in QB rating and overall had a great season. He had 4,075 yards through the air with 37 TDs and only four interceptions, good for a rating of 86.5. 

On the ground, he added 372 yards and an astounding 10 TDs. With 47 total scores and over 4,400 yards, he is the favorite for the award and will come away with the hardware.