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Heisman Watch 2019: Predictions in Race for Top Award

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 07: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers runs with the ball in the second half against the Georgia Bulldogs during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With conference championships won, playoff fields set and resumes completed, the next thing on college football's stretch run is to start passing out those accolades, and none are bigger than the Heisman Trophy

While the race started out with a significant field of contenders, including two former national championship-winning quarterbacks in Jalen Hurts and Trevor Lawrence but one man has truly run away with the award as the season has gone. 

What Joe Burrow has done as the quarterback at LSU has been nothing short of incredible, and it appears he will be walking away with college football's most prestigious hardware. The former Ohio State quarterback completed his evolution to Heisman front-runner with 4,715 yards, 48 touchdowns and six interceptions while claiming the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff and an SEC Championship. 

It's nearly a foregone conclusion that he'll be the next Heisman Trophy winner, but here's a look at some of the other contenders who could have a good showing in New York. 

Predicted Finish

1. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

2. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

3. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma

4. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Ohio State Duo Justin Fields and Chase Young

Ohio State has had a phenomenal season, and it would have happened without two singular talents on both sides of the ball.  

The Buckeyes have been explosive on offense and former Georgia quarterback is a huge reason why. He has been the point man for an offense that leads the nation in scoring at 48.7 points per game. Fields doesn't have the gaudy yardage totals of Burrows, but he has incredible efficiency. He has just one interception to his 40 touchdowns, providing the Ohio State offense with remarkable consistency. 

While he will likely fall short, Fields did his best to catch Burrow in the season's biggest games. Over the last two weeks in the rivalry game against Michigan and a shot at the Big 10 title game, he has thrown for 601 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. 

That's the inverse of fellow teammate Chase Young. The stud defensive end is a lock to be a top-three draft pick in next year's NFL draft and was college football's most disruptive force. The height of his Heisman campaign came in two of Ohio State's biggest regular-season games. 

Against Penn State and Wisconsin, Young lived in the opponent's backfield with 15 tackles, seven sacks and three forced fumbles. Those are video game numbers and a stretch that few defensive players in the history of the game have put together. 

Unfortunately, Young didn't put up those numbers to finish out the season. Both Michigan and Wisconsin were able to keep his numbers down while scheming heavily against him. 

The Dual-Threat Ability of Jalen Hurts

While Burrow put up dizzying numbers in the passing game, no quarterback was better as a dual-threat than Jalen Hurts. Lincoln Riley's system has churned out back-to-back Heisman winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Hurts did his best to follow in their footsteps. 

Hurts' 3,643 yards and 32 touchdowns with seven interceptions would be a great season for most FBS quarterbacks, but the fact that he led the Sooners in rushing with 1,255 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns is what sets him apart. 

That's good for 20th in the nation in rushing and seventh in rushing touchdowns. His versatility has made Oklahoma a headache to prepare for all season, as they have put up 43.2 points per game on the season. 

Where Hurts' campaign falls short is in the passing game. The Sooners had some close calls to close out the season, and Hurts didn't exactly wow as a passer in those games. Against TCU and Oklahoma State he only threw for 308 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. 

That doesn't sound that bad, but when compared with Burrow's stats throughout the season, it just falls short. 

Of course, there's no shame in that this season. The whole field has fallen short of what the Bayou star has done this season and that's why he'll be walking away with the trophy.