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Heisman Watch 2020: Odds and Predictions for All Candidates in Award Race

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IJanuary 4, 2021

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith looks on against Notre Dame during the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

There's only one game remaining in the 2020 college football season: the College Football Playoff National Championship, which will be a matchup between Alabama and Ohio State on Jan. 11. Will the winner of the Heisman Trophy be on the field that night? Possibly.

Two of the four Heisman finalists are Crimson Tide players, as either wide receiver DeVonta Smith and quarterback Mac Jones could end up becoming the third Alabama player to win the prestigious award, joining running backs Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015).

However, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Florida signal-caller Kyle Trask are also finalists for the honor this season.

The winner of the Heisman Trophy will be announced Tuesday night in a virtual ceremony on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.

Here's a look at the current odds for the prize, followed by predictions for the voting results.

          

Heisman Trophy Odds

Alabama WR DeVonta Smith: -560 (bet $560 to win $100)

Alabama QB Mac Jones: +500 (bet $100 to win $500)

Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence: +750

Florida QB Kyle Trask: +5000

Via DraftKings Sportsbook

          

Heisman Trophy Voting Predictions

Although the Heisman Trophy has yet to be awarded, Smith has already won a top national honor. Last week, he became the first wide receiver to win the AP College Football Player of the Year Award, which has been presented annually since 1998.

As Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press noted, the winner of that award has gone on to also win the Heisman 17 of 22 times. So, that could bode well for Smith's chances, as he looks to become the first wide receiver to win since Michigan's Desmond Howard in 1991.

However, it's worth noting that two of the times when the Heisman and AP award went to different players involved an Alabama name. In 2009, Ingram won the Heisman and Nebraska defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh won the AP award; in 2015, Henry won the Heisman and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey won the AP honor.

Don't expect that to happen again this season, though, as Smith should sweep the awards and become only the fourth wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy. It's taken special seasons for receivers to get the honor in the past, and that's exactly what the 22-year-old has had for the Crimson Tide.

Heisman voting concluded prior to bowl season, so none of those performances were taken into consideration. Before the Rose Bowl, Smith had 98 receptions for 1,511 yards and 19 total touchdowns in 11 games.

He also rose to the occasion on the big stage. In the SEC Championship Game, he had a season-high 15 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns to help Alabama beat Florida and secure the conference title.

And before that, Smith was consistently great, as he had five games with multiple receiving touchdowns during a span of six contests in the regular season. That included a four-touchdown game against Mississippi State on Oct. 31 and a game in which he had a season-high 231 yards and three touchdowns against LSU on Dec. 5.

"He is extremely detailed in the route running," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said of Smith prior to facing him in the Rose Bowl, per Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated. "Everyone knows about his speed and hands. Somebody who is that young and has the ability to run such exact routes ... I would imagine his football IQ is off the charts. He reminds me of a veteran in everything he does."

Smith and Jones are both strong contenders to win the Heisman, but the wide receiver should edge the quarterback in this situation. However, expect Jones to be the runner-up for the award, as he's done a tremendous job leading the Crimson Tide's offense and utilizing their playmakers.

Although Lawrence has been an incredible leader and great performer throughout his three years at Clemson, his numbers weren't as impressive as Jones' or Trask's stats, partially due to the fact that he missed two games after testing positive for COVID-19. Trask put up huge numbers, passing for 4,125 yards and three touchdowns prior to Florida's Cotton Bowl loss.

Because of that, Trask should edge Lawrence for third place, though both are worthy Heisman finalists.

So, while all four players had impressive showings during the 2020 season, it will be Smith who emerges as the victor following one of the best seasons by a college wide receiver in recent memory.

Predictions: 1. Smith; 2. Jones; 3. Trask; 4. Lawrence.

     


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