Heisman Watch: LSU QB Jayden Daniels has huge opportunity vs. Alabama


For the rest of the college football season, Yahoo Sports will highlight the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy on a weekly basis. All odds are via BetMGM.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels has a massive opportunity this weekend.

Daniels and the 14th-ranked Tigers are headed to Tuscaloosa to face No. 8 Alabama in a massive SEC West showdown. Alabama is 5-0 in SEC play and can put itself in an excellent position to get back to the conference title game with a win. LSU, meanwhile, is 4-1 in conference play and would significantly increase its chances of repeating as the division champion with a win.

The Tigers have a loss to No. 10 Ole Miss, which also has a 4-1 SEC record, but the Rebels have a trip to play No. 2 Georgia next Saturday. So even if Ole Miss gets past Texas A&M this weekend, LSU would have the edge in the standings over Ole Miss and Alabama if the Rebels lose in Athens next weekend and LSU posts an upset win over the Crimson Tide on Saturday.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels could put himself at the forefront of the Heisman race if he can lead the Tigers to win at Alabama this weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels could put himself at the forefront of the Heisman race if he can lead the Tigers to win at Alabama this weekend. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

That will be easier said than done, of course.

LSU is 6-2 on the year and has been doomed by a porous defense in both of those losses. Even in a few of the wins, the Tigers’ offense really had to compensate for a lackluster performance from the defense.

Daniels has been at the center of that, putting up eye-popping numbers. For the season, Daniels has thrown for 2,573 yards and 25 touchdowns with only three interceptions while completing 73.1% of his attempts. Daniels leads the nation in touchdown passes, yards per attempt and quarterback rating. He’s fourth nationally in passing yards and sixth in completion percentage. He also has rushed for 521 yards and five scores on the year.

Even with LSU effectively out of the national championship picture with two losses, Daniels now has the third-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy at BetMGM.

Now listed at +450 in the Heisman Trophy odds, Daniels’ odds will likely skyrocket if he leads LSU to a win at Bryant-Denny Stadium with a big performance. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he shoots to the top of the odds board.

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. (+275)

Washington just has not looked right the past two weeks, but Michael Penix Jr. is back atop the Heisman Trophy odds board. Penix became a huge Heisman favorite after Washington beat Oregon, but fell behind Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy following a shaky performance in a close win over Arizona State.

The Huskies needed a late pick-six to escape ASU and then were on the ropes last weekend at Stanford. Washington eventually prevailed, 42-33, but it was another concerning performance. And the Huskies may have lost if it weren’t for Penix, who threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns.

Penix wasn’t quite as a efficient (he went 21-of-37) and he threw a fourth-quarter interception that could have been costly, but he still leads the nation in passing yards (2,945) and passing yards per game (368.1), is second in touchdowns (24) and tied for fifth in yards per attempt (10.0).

Washington goes to USC this weekend, so Penix will have a chance for a big statistical day.

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy (+300)

J.J. McCarthy was atop the Heisman odds board at +240 last week but fell a bit even though Michigan was on a bye week. In his last outing, McCarthy threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns as the Wolverines torched Michigan State, 49-0.

McCarthy has been excellent this season as the 8-0 Wolverines have dominated their competition. McCarthy has thrown for 1,799 yards and 18 touchdowns with only three interceptions. He’s completing 78.1% of his passes, which is No. 2 in the nation behind Oregon’s Bo Nix (78.3). McCarthy is also second nationally in passer rating (199.13) and tied for second in yards per attempt (10.6).

Michigan will return to the field on Saturday against Purdue, making it nine consecutive games that UM is favored by at least 17.5 points. The competition will pick up in November, however, when the Wolverines have to travel to Penn State and then host Ohio State in the finale. Those games, particularly Ohio State, will decide McCarthy’s Heisman fate.

Oregon QB Bo Nix (+600)

Bo Nix made a big move in the odds after leading Oregon to a blowout victory over Utah on the road. Nix went 24-of-31 for 248 yards and two touchdowns in the win. He also scored on the ground.

For the season, Nix has thrown for 2,337 yards and 21 touchdowns with only one interception. And most impressive, he leads the country with a completion percentage of 78.3%. And that’s on nearly 33 attempts per game.

Despite losing to Washington on Oct. 14, Oregon is alive and well in both the Pac-12 and CFP races. The Ducks are 7-1 heading into a home game vs. Cal this weekend. If Oregon keeps winning and can get to the Pac-12 title game with one loss, a possible rematch with Washington could decide a CFP berth — and possibly the Heisman Trophy winner.

Florida State QB Jordan Travis (+800)

Jordan Travis keeps having strong performances in Florida State wins. Travis threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns and added 29 yards and a score on the ground in a dominant 41-16 win over Wake Forest.

With the win, FSU improved to 8-0 and came in at No. 4 in the first CFP rankings of the season. Travis is up to 2,109 yards passing, 205 yards rushing and 24 total touchdowns on the season.

The rest of the ACC is fading fast, so the Seminoles may not have any margin for error moving forward if they want to get to the CFP. And as long as FSU is winning, Travis will likely remain in the Heisman conversation.

Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (+1300)

It looks like Ohio State wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. is the non-quarterback with the best chance to make it to New York City for the Heisman ceremony.

Harrison had a huge performance in a top-10 win over Penn State two weeks ago, posting 11 receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown in a 20-12 win. Last weekend, Harrison played a huge role in another Buckeyes win, this time a 24-10 decision at Wisconsin. Harrison caught six passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 48 catches for 889 yards and eight scores on the year.

Harrison has topped the 100-yard mark in four consecutive games and in six of OSU’s eight games overall. The Buckeyes’ next three games (Rutgers, Michigan State and Minnesota) will provide opportunities for Harrison, but his performance in the Michigan game could ultimately separate him from the pack.

Others on the radar

  • Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel: +2500

  • Georgia QB Carson Beck: +3000

  • North Carolina QB Drake Maye: +6600

  • USC QB Caleb Williams: +8000

  • Notre Dame QB Sam Hartman: +10000

  • Alabama QB Jalen Milroe: +10000

  • Michigan RB Blake Corum: +12500


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