- When the 2019 season began, Joe Burrow was barely considered a competent quarterback.
- Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts were first-year starters at new schools but wasted no time establishing their excellence this season.
- Chase Young is a beast, but defensive players are rarely considered strong candidates.
With the conclusion of Championship Weekend, there are two things college football fans can look forward to—the four teams making the playoffs being named and the Heisman finalists being named as well.
The CFP committee took care of the playoffs on Sunday. Monday night, the Heisman Trust named the finalists for this year’s Heisman Trophy.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) December 1, 2019
The only surprise among the finalists this year was that the Trust announced four finalists instead of the usual three—LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, and Ohio State defensive lineman Chase Young.
Should @JustnFields be a Heisman finalist?
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) December 9, 2019
None of the names mentioned were surprises; all four have been among the leading candidates all season. Wisconsin fans didn’t like their running back, Jonathan Taylor, being left out. Maybe if the Badgers had completed the upset win over Ohio State in the Big Ten title game he wouldn’t have been.
But a better argument could be made for the other big-name snub—Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins.
When it comes to awards like the Heisman Trophy, though, there will always be a segment of the college football fan base that disagrees with the nominees and eventual winner. Like most things in life, it is impossible to keep or make everyone happy.
Although, it is not like there is much room for debate on who is going to win this year.
A Heisman hype video for Joe Burrow, narrated by the Honey Badger 🐯
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) December 10, 2019
The Rise Of Joe Burrow
Coming into the season, the leading candidates were Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. But preseason favorites hardly ever win the award, and this season is going to be no different.
Tagovailoa’s hip injury ended his campaign while Lawrence wasn’t that impressive.
Burrow was barely on the Heisman radar when the season began with +20,000 odds to win. But as the season progressed and the stats and wins began to pile up, his odds got shorter and shorter. Beating Alabama back in Week 11 was enough to make him the favorite.
Since then, he hasn’t looked back, recording one incredible game after another and culminating with a dominant win over then-No. 4 Georgia in the SEC title game.
His season has been so impressive that some sportsbooks are not even offering odds on the other candidates anymore. They are just offering odds on Burrow versus the field. That is how confident the books are that no one else stands a chance.
Could Someone Upset Burrow And Win The Heisman?
The trouble with the Heisman Trophy is that all of its finalists are going to be fantastic players. Take each of their respective seasons and look at them individually, and they all deserve to win. All four candidates had award-worthy years—but only one can win.
Chase Young doesn’t stand a chance. Defensive players are hard-pressed to impact the game at the same level as a quarterback, making it close to impossible for a defender to win.
Statistically speaking, Fields and Hurtsbth have good arguments in favor of them winning. But their cases pale in comparison to Burrow for one simple reason. Heisman voters love it when candidates beat the best teams in the country. Burrow led LSU to wins over five top-10 teams. No one else can make such a claim.
Fields led Ohio State to five wins over ranked teams but only two top 10 teams. Hurts beat four ranked teams and just one top 10 team.
If any name other than Joe Burrow is called out Saturday night, it will be the upset of the year.