Week 1 is in the books and it’s never too early to start discussing Heisman odds right?
Malik Willis had a solid week 1 performance, throwing for 217 yards and one touchdown along with 55 rushing yards and another touchdown. For not playing in the 4th quarter and most likely playing with a simplified playbook against FCS Campbell, that was a pretty good first-week performance. There were a couple of dropped passes by Liberty wideouts from Willis that could have improved his stats, but thankfully Willis did not turn the ball over once. This performance won’t improve Willis’ Heisman chances, but it will definitely not lower them.
Draft Kings SportsBook recently released their updated Heisman odds after the first week and it included a top-five of:
- Bryce Young, QB-Alabama +500
- Spencer Rattler, QB-Oklahoma +550
- DJ Uiagalelei, QB-Clemson +1100
- JT Daniels, QB-Georgia +1200
- CJ Stroud, QB-Ohio State +1200
- Malik Willis, QB-Liberty +8000
Bryce Young at number one makes sense. The Bama freshman threw for 344 yards and tossed 4 touchdowns with no turnovers in a blowout win against the 14th best team in the country. Alabama should continue to dominate most teams they face this season, so expect Bryce Young to be at the top of the Heisman lists unless he struggles with turnovers.
Spencer Rattler had 304 passing yards, but only managed one touchdown and threw two interceptions in Oklahoma’s slight win over Tulane. Rattler will remain in Heisman contention for the 2021 season, but I was surprised to see him at number two after a subpar performance against a Group of Five opponent.
Uiagalelei at three and Daniels at four was shocking. The two quarterbacks squared off week one in a game in which no offensive touchdown was scored. Uiagalelei threw for a mere 178 yards and one interception, while Daniels threw for 135 yards and an interception of his own. While I have no doubt that this game will not be a foreshadowing of what the 2021 season will be for these two quarterbacks, there is no way they should be in the top 5 of Heisman odds after their week one performances. CJ Stroud tossed four touchdowns in a win over Minnesota, but threw for less than 300 yards and had an interception.
The only reason Malik Willis is listed at +8000 is that he simply does not play in a Power Five conference. Since 1992, only 13 non-power five players have cracked the top five in the Heisman voting. The last non-power five Heisman winner was BYU quarterback Ty Detmer in 1990. The Cougars, like the Flames, are an FBS independent which could improve Malik’s Heisman odds slightly. The Flames will face multiple Power Five opponents and do not have a set conference schedule against Group of Five opponents from the same conference. While it will be an uphill climb for Malik to win college football’s most prestigious award, it is not impossible. The quarterback is one of the most dynamic players in college football and will assuredly put his name in contention for the award. Even if Willis does not win the award, the fact that he is even mentioned on the list of Heisman candidates, just shows how special of a quarterback we have here on The Mountain.