Heisman Watch 2019: Last-Minute Expert Predictions for Epic Race

Jake RillSenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2019

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - DECEMBER 07: Head coach Ed Orgeron of the LSU Tigers talks with Joe Burrow #9 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

Four of college football's top players will be together on Saturday night. But only one will walk away with this season's Heisman Trophy.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young are the four finalists for this year's Heisman. Although all four have had strong seasons, Burrow is the front-runner for the award after having a historic season in the SEC.

If Burrow wins the Heisman, he'll end Oklahoma's streak of winning the award, as the last two winners have been Sooners quarterbacks—Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018. Hurts could keep that streak alive with an upset win.

Here's everything you need to know about this year's Heisman ceremony, followed by a look at what the experts are saying about the award.


2019 Heisman Trophy Ceremony Information

Date: Saturday, Dec. 14

Site: PlayStation Theater in New York City

Time: 8 p.m. ET



Expert Analysis

Burrow hasn't won the Heisman yet, but it's only a matter of time. However, he's already added some awards to his resume since LSU's SEC Championship Game victory.

On Thursday, Burrow won the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien Award, which are given to the best overall player and the best quarterback, respectively. He also won the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, as well as the Associated Press Player of the Year honor.

It's been an incredible season for Burrow, who set SEC records in passing yards (4,715) and passing touchdowns (48). He has also led LSU to a 13-0 record, the SEC title and its first appearance in the College Football Playoff. Burrow and the Tigers will play Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl, a CFP semifinal, on Dec. 28.

While Fields, Hurts and Young are all worthy candidates, nobody is predicting an upset on Saturday night. In an ESPN.com poll, all 10 writers picked Burrow to win the Heisman. It's possible that Burrow could make history in the actual voting, as he might win by the widest margin ever.

"In my opinion, he should win it," LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said, according to ESPN.com. "In my opinion, he's going to win it. The best thing about Joe is he's a team player. All he wants to do is win this game. Individual awards are not high on his list. That's what makes him such a great team player."

That's not the only poll that featured Burrow as the unanimous winner. All 51 voters in a poll conducted by The Athletic voted Burrow as the Heisman victor. Like ESPN.com's poll, Fields finished second.

As ESPN's Peter Burns pointed out, Fields would be an easy pick to win the Heisman any other season. Fields had a remarkable year, as many expected after he transferred from Georgia to Ohio State.

Peter Burns @PeterBurnsESPN

Crazy: Justin Fields was one of the preseason Heisman front runners He threw 40 TD’s w/ only 1 INT He rushed for another 10 TD’s Ohio State went undefeated & won the Big 10 Title And he’s not going to win the Heisman https://t.co/nJ8ZeJMUJR

In 1968, USC running back O.J. Simpson won the Heisman by receiving a record 855 of 1,200 first-place votes. This year, there are less voters, as 927 cast ballots to determine the award. So while Burrow may not have as many first-place votes, it will be interesting to see if he earns a higher percentage than Simpson.

While Burrow should win the Heisman, his season won't be over there. It's possible that he could play in two more games and add to his already-impressive stats. There's a strong chance that he could end the season with more than 50 touchdown passes.

Of course, the most important thing to Burrow will be trying to lead LSU to its first national title since the 2007 season.