Heisman Watch 2019: Latest Race Predictions Entering Week 13

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 21, 2019

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow looks for a receiver during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
Thomas Graning/Associated Press

The competition to earn invitations to the Heisman Trophy ceremony is still wide-open.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow established himself as the front-runner in a win over Alabama and followed that up with another enormous stat line in Week 12's victory against Ole Miss.

After Burrow, there are a number of candidates who could seal trips to New York City with strong performances over the next few weeks.

Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts and Ohio State's Justin Fields have been in the mix all season, and some new contenders could move into the conversation after Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa was ruled out for the season with a hip injury.


Heisman Trophy Predictions

1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU 

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OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI - NOVEMBER 16: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers runs with the ball during a game against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Burrow followed up his 393-yard, three-touchdown performance against Alabama with 489 passing yards and five scoring throws versus Ole Miss.

Entering the Week 13 clash with Arkansas, the 22-year-old has 3,687 passing yards, 38 touchdowns and a 78.6 completion percentage.

The senior quarterback leads the FBS in completion percentage and is second to Washington State's Anthony Gordon in passing yards and touchdown passes.

A year ago, the thought of a LSU quarterback challenging the numbers of a Washington State signal-caller would have been laughed at.

In 2018, Burrow entered the final two regular-season games with seven passing touchdowns and did not hit double digits until the second half of the seven-overtime clash versus Texas A&M.

LSU's offensive improvements have it on the top of the College Football Playoff rankings, and because of them, Burrow should eclipse 4,000 passing yards before the SEC Championship Game.

Arkansas has allowed 446.7 yards and 36.2 points per game, while Texas A&M has given up 327.6 yards and 20.3 points per game.

Those numbers suggest Burrow will thrive against both SEC West defenses, and he could enter Atlanta with six consecutive 300-yard performances.

Unless he unexpectedly struggles in the next two weeks, the SEC Championship Game could serve as a reinforcement of his spot atop most Heisman ballots.


2. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

WACO, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 16:  Jalen Hurts #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners at McLane Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The first half of Saturday's game against Baylor did not go as planned for Hurts, but he rallied to shine in a come-from-behind victory.

The senior quarterback went 30-of-42 for 297 passing yards and four touchdowns, and he carried the ball 27 times for 114 yards.

The manner in which most of those yards were earned is commendable since he led Oklahoma back from a 28-3 deficit, but Hurts was one of the reasons why the Sooners entered halftime in a deep hole.

The 21-year-old's first-half turnovers may have cost him from making a run at Burrow's Heisman front-runner claim, but he still has a great chance of earning an invite to New York.

The Alabama transfer has 3,039 passing yards, 983 rushing yards and 43 total touchdowns.

Hurts has an opportunity to eclipse some of the numbers 2018 Heisman winner Kyler Murray produced. The Arizona Cardinals quarterback earned 4,361 passing yards, 1,001 rushing yards and 54 total touchdowns on his way to the award last year.

TCU gives up 328.8 total yards and 26.9 points per game, and it has conceded at least 27 points in its last four games.

The Bedlam matchup against Oklahoma State is typically a high-scoring affair, with the past two meetings producing 209 points.

If that trend continues, Hurts' numbers will balloon ahead of the Big 12 Championship Game, and it could keep him ahead of Fields in the voting.


3. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

PISCATAWAY, NEW JERSEY - NOVEMBER 16: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball past Tyreek Maddox-Williams #9 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the first half of their game at SHI Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Piscataway, New Jersey
Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Fields has three opportunities to garner more Heisman votes.

If he thrives against Penn State, Michigan and Minnesota or Wisconsin, the sophomore quarterback may finish behind Burrow on a chunk of ballots.

In his two Top 25 matchups, Fields has 373 passing yards, 89 rushing yards and six total touchdowns.

In total, the Georgia transfer racked up 2,164 passing yards, 377 rushing yards and 41 total touchdowns.

While his yardage totals do not stand out as much as Burrow and Hurts, Fields has found the end zone with the same regularity.

If the 20-year-old continues to score in his final Big Ten matchups, he will be a finalist at minimum.

Fields could jump into second through a combination of recency bias in the spotlight and participation in more high-profile contests than Hurts.

Challenging Burrow for first-place votes may be too tough since the LSU quarterback proved himself versus four top-10 foes and still has the SEC Championship Game to play.


4. Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

With Tagovailoa out for the season, the door is open for a new player to jump into the Heisman reckoning.

A case could be made for Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, but he missed two games due to a suspension. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is another option, but he does not have as many rushing yards as Oklahoma State's Chuba Hubbard.

The sophomore has racked up 1,726 rushing yards, which is close to 300 more than Taylor has earned.

Hubbard is one of two FBS players with 20-plus rushing touchdowns. Western Michigan's LeVante Bellamy has one more entering Week 13.

In all but one game, Hubbard reached triple digits and has a quartet of 200-yard performances, with the most recent coming November 2 against TCU. The 20-year-old could gain momentum in the Heisman discussion with a strong outing against Oklahoma November 30.

The Sooners allow 141.5 rushing yards per game, so Hubbard could extend his triple-digit streak during the Bedlam matchup.

However, earning votes above fourth place will be difficult for Hubbard because he has not been in the national spotlight much and does not have an extra game to impress voters.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.


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