- Clemson’s Lawrence, Ohio State’s Fields pace early 2020 Heisman odds
- Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard a distant third at +1000 to win it
- QBs have won the Heisman in each of the last four seasons
The race for last season’s Heisman Trophy wasn’t much of a race at all. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow put together one of the most prolific seasons we have ever seen at the college level, so he effectively breezed his way to the Heisman.
Burrow completed better than 76 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards with 60 touchdowns to just six interceptions while leading LSU to an undefeated season and a national title. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine anyone ever having a better year than that.
Of course, Burrow has since moved on to the NFL, which means we’ll have a new Heisman winner in 2020. Early odds say it’s shaping up to be a two-man race between Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields:
|Player||Heisman Odds at Bovada|
Fields and Lawrence Go Toe-to-Toe
Fields wound up finishing third in last season’s Heisman voting after putting together a stellar sophomore season. The first-year starter topped 3,200 yards passing with 41 touchdowns to just three interceptions, but clearly nobody had much of a chance of beating out Burrow.
Lawrence finished seventh, which was actually a bit disappointing. He had led Clemson to a national title as a freshman, so expectations were high entering his first full year as the unquestioned starter. He completed just under 66 percent of his passes for 3,665 yards with 36 touchdowns and eight INTs.
Both Clemson and Ohio State will be in the national championship picture again this season, which should instantly put both QBs high on Heisman watch lists. While the odds say Lawrence is the favorite, Fields may have an edge thanks to the quality of competition. The Tigers are really the only truly elite team in the ACC, while the Buckeyes are facing more stiff competition on a weekly basis.
If Lawrence and Fields wind up putting up comparable numbers, the strength of schedule advantage could go to Fields. Clemson will have to square off against Ian Book and Notre Dame in South Bend in November, but the schedule is otherwise a cakewalk on paper. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, travel to Eugene to face Oregon in Week 2, while the conference schedule includes road games against Michigan State and Penn State. Ohio State will also host Michigan in the final game of the regular season.
Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, who finished eighth in last year’s voting, has the third-best odds to win this year. Hubbard topped 2,000 yards rushing with 21 touchdowns, but that was only good enough to finish third in voting among running backs. Jonathan Taylor and JK Dobbins, who also topped 2,000 yards apiece, finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
D’Eriq King has the fourth-best odds at +1100. King transferred from Houston to Miami this offseason, and the senior has drawn plenty of comparisons to former Heisman winner Kyler Murray in the past. Those +1100 odds tie him with Florida quarterback Kyle Trask, while Texas QB Sam Ehlinger checks in at +1400.
Could Burrow’s Replacement Win the Heisman?
Of course, it’s worth remembering that Burrow essentially came out of nowhere to win the award running away last season. Burrow was listed around +5000 at most sportsbooks to come away with the Heisman. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering Burrow had put up middling numbers in his first season in Baton Rouge, and LSU was still running an old fashioned offense centered around the ground game. The Tigers modernized their offense last season, which led to Burrow’s incredible explosion.
Myles Brennan will likely take Burrow’s place under center for the reigning national champs. The sophomore attempted 40 passes last season in mop-up duty behind Burrow, but the four-star recruit will finally get a chance to show what he can do.
While LSU still has plenty of talent around him, this isn’t the same team we just saw win it all. In addition to Burrow, the Tigers’ offense has lost playmakers Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Justin Jefferson in addition to a slew of offensive linemen, including Damien Lewis, Lloyd Cushenberry and Saahdiq Charles.
Brennan has been given +3000 odds to follow in Burrow’s footsteps to win the Heisman next season, but I can’t see a repeat of last season happening. The Tigers have lost too much offensive talent, and it would be quite the surprise to see them rise back to the top of the SEC in 2020.