Sep. 26, 2016
Is Lamar Jackson still the Heisman favorite?
A month ago I wrote about how Lamar Jackson was the Heisman Trophy frontrunner for 2016 and how Jackson has the potential upside of Cam Newton. Since that article was published, the Louisville Cardinals were handed their first loss of the season against Clemson and Jackson has slowed down a bit and players like Deshaun Watson have stepped up. Should Jackson still be the frontrunner to win the Heisman?
Right now, the betting markets still believe that Jackson will win the trophy. However, Jackson recently went from a -250 favorite down to -190. Louisville and Jackson really made their mark when they annihilated then-No. 2 Florida State, 62-28. Jackson shined, passing for 216 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Jackson ran the ball 17 times for 146 yards and a staggering four touchdowns.
Jackson hasn’t necessarily had a poor game yet this year. He has ran for over 110 yards in every game except against Marshall, when he threw for 417 yards.
Jackson’s most recent game against Duke was probably his worst game. He only completed 13 of his 26 passes for 181 yards. He did run for 144 yards, however.
The biggest detriment to Jackson's Heisman chances so far is Louisville's loss to Clemson. It’s not because he played poorly, he didn’t, it’s because the better a team is, the more likely the player is going to win the Heisman. The winner of the Heisman Trophy almost always comes from one of the best teams.
This is where Jackson will most likely lose the award. Right now it seems like the player with the best chance at stealing the Heisman from Jackson is Watson. Watson currently has the second best odds to win the Heisman according to oddsshark at +300.
Watson is a phenomenal quarterback for Clemson, a team that is undefeated, a team that defeated Louisville. Watson isn’t as versatile as Jackson, but is a better passer than Jackson. Overall, it’s not really possible to argue that Watson has been better than Jackson. They are both incredible, but Jackson has the clear edge.
The fact that Clemson would currently be in the College Football Playoff and Lousiville probably wouldn’t will hurt Jackson’s chances. Also, when comparing the players, Clemson, led by Watson, did take down Jackson’s Louisville. Both played okay in the game. Jackson threw for 295 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Watson threw for 306 yards, five touchdowns, but three interceptions.
Jackson should still be the favorite to win the Heisman. There is nothing to show that he won't continue to play like he has thus far this season. Louisville also should be favorites in the rest of their regular season games.