Heisman Watch 2021: Last-Minute Expert Predictions for Epic Race

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 11, 2021

FILE -  Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass against Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

There have been some talented quarterbacks play for Alabama in recent years. Mac Jones, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts are among the QBs who have come through the program. However, none of them won the Heisman Trophy while suiting up for the Crimson Tide.

In fact, no Alabama quarterback has won the top individual honor in college football, which has been handed out since 1935. But that could soon change.

Crimson Tide sophomore quarterback Bryce Young is the front-runner to win this year's Heisman Trophy, which will be presented Saturday night at the Lincoln Center in New York City. The other three finalists are Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Will Young win the Heisman, or is there an upset brewing? Here's everything you need to know heading into Saturday's ceremony, along with some of the latest expert predictions for the award.


Heisman Trophy Ceremony Information

Date: Saturday, Dec. 11

Time: 8 p.m. ET



Latest Heisman Trophy Expert Predictions

There were plenty of times during the 2021 season when the Heisman Trophy race seemed to be wide-open. Numerous talented quarterbacks and offensive playmakers were in the conversation, and even some defensive standouts looked to be in the mix.

But by the time conference championship weekend was over, it became clear Young deserved the Heisman. And that's the general consensus heading into Saturday night.

The Athletic ran a straw poll throughout the season, getting its writers' input on the Heisman race by using the actual voting format for the award. In the final poll, Young received 98 points and got 26 of the 39 first-place votes.

It's worth noting that the second-place finisher to Young in The Athletic's poll was Alabama linebacker Will Anderson, who didn't receive enough votes to be named a finalist for the award. Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson placed third.

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports and Chase Goodbread of NFL Media are among the analysts who cited Young's performances in the Iron Bowl and the SEC Championship Game as the reasons why he should be the Heisman winner. The sophomore quarterback made a convincing case in those contests.

On Nov. 27, Young led the Crimson Tide to a comeback victory at Auburn, engineering an impressive game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter and powering them to a four-overtime win. He threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns in the clutch showing.

In the SEC Championship Game last time out, Young helped Alabama put up 41 points on a Georgia defense that had dominated all its competition to that point. He threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns while also adding a rushing score.

By that point, Young had separated himself from the rest of the field.

"It's his honor to lose," Goodbread wrote.

However, Dodd and Goodbread ranked the other finalists in different orders. Dodd had Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett finishing second, then Hutchinson in third and Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud in fourth. Goodbread went Stroud, Pickett and then Hutchinson.

It doesn't matter how the other finalists stack up, though, because Young will be the one receiving the honor and making history as Alabama's first quarterback winner.

Young recently won the Maxwell Award, another honor that is given to the top player in the country each season. In six of the previous seven seasons, the winner has also gone on to capture the Heisman. The lone exception was in 2018, when Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa won the Maxwell Award but Oklahoma counterpart Kyler Murray received the Heisman Trophy.

If Young doesn't win the Heisman, there will be a lot of surprised people, including all the experts who have been picking him this week. However, it seems like there's little chance of that happening.