The odds of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow winning the Heisman Trophy Award at the beginning of this season was 200-1, according to the Action Network website.
The odds have shifted to 9-2, which reflects the momentum and skill shown by
Burrow so far. Burrow is going to win the Heisman. Burrow is a prolific passer on an undefeated team with championship aspirations, which is the desired profile of a Heisman winner.
Over the past 20 years, all but four of the last 19 winners have been quarterbacks on winning teams. The Heisman race is not a true measure of the best athlete in college football.
Tiger fans know this all too well as Tyrann Mathieu and Leonard Fournette were worth the Heisman hype, but fell off due to the politics of college football.
Mathieu had to compete with Hall of Famer Charles Woodson’s legacy in order to become the second-ever defensive Heisman winner, but Burrow has history on his side as the list of quarterbacks is far less epic.
Several Heisman winners in the 2000s faced incredible struggles after they brought home the trophy. Former Oklahoma quarterback Jason White was one of the only Heisman winners to never play in the NFL. The award is decided by a committee of voters who are not immune to the narratives that develop throughout college football.
Quarterbacks are often seen as the leaders of their team, which gives them a head start in the race for the “most outstanding college football player,” as spelled out by the official Heisman website.
In the vote for the award, the all-time lowest margins of victory went to quarterbacks. To put it simply, it is easier to win the Heisman if you are a quarterback.
Quarterbacks are recognized as the field generals and leaders of the team so the attention is usually glued on them. This
predisposition towards quarterbacks has hurt LSU players in the past, but Burrow is in a position to benefit.
There are plenty of uncertainties, but Burrow is on track to create LSU history as the first quarterback to win a Heisman. He’s on pace to throw for over 4,000 yards, and his numbers have been consistent with previous Heisman winners.
Last year’s winner Kyler Murray threw for 4,361 yards with 42 touchdowns. Burrow is on pace for 112 more yards and 10 more touchdowns, eclipsing his numbers last year.
Burrow is the only current player in consideration for the award who has perennially top-ranked Alabama ahead on the schedule. There’s still time for Burrow’s Heisman train to be derailed, just like Fournette’s
Heisman campaign was shot following a crushing loss to Alabama.
The voters are quick to forget a season of dominance when faced with the ugliness of a late-season loss. If Burrow can keep his numbers close to this astronomical level he is playing at, then he will win the Heisman.
Even a loss at Bryant-Denning Stadium to the Crimson Tide doesn’t look bad if Burrow passes for more than 300 yards and the offense is competitive. Burrow is on pace to surpass the last three Heisman winners in passing yards, and his team looks like a legitimate contender as well.
Despite history working in his favor, Burrow still has to beat Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, Alabama quarterback Tua Taguavaolia and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor for the award.
The Tigers quarterback has one “X factor” the other athletes are missing though: he is breaking tradition. Hurts, Taguavaolia and Taylor are all the latest of a long line of athletes who did the same things they are doing now.
There have been elite quarterbacks at Oklahoma and Alabama, and elite running backs at Wisconsin, but there’s rarely been an elite quarterback at LSU. Burrow is breaking the ceiling on what people thought was possible for an LSU offense.
The chances for a Heisman winner at LSU haven’t looked this good since the heyday of former coach Les Miles. Coach Ed Orgeron and Burrow have both been coy all season in regards to the offensive dominance and for good reason.
There is too much time left in the season and LSU’s hardest opponents are in front of them. Burrow would be the first to tell you that winning games is all of Tiger Nation’s priority and individual awards are only lagniappe.
While the Tigers and Burrow aren’t set on winning the Heisman, I am here to tell you that Burrow won’t be watching the Heisman ceremony from his couch.
Cory Koch is a 20-year-old political science junior from Alexandria, Louisiana.