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Heisman Trophy Voters Face Conundrum as Few Games Remain and No Clear Frontrunner

Newsweek logo Newsweek 12/2/2021 Scott McDonald
Aidan Hutchinson #97 of the Michigan Wolverines plays against the Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. © Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images Aidan Hutchinson #97 of the Michigan Wolverines plays against the Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The college football regular season ends this weekend with conference championships. Heisman Trophy voters have until Monday to cast their ballots for the game's best player.

Heading into the weekend, there's no clear-cut favorite for college football's most prestigious individual award like in years past. This weekend's championship matchups don't help the voters, either.

The Heisman Trust sent their digital-only ballots to voters on Monday. The select voters have less than a week to cast their top three picks (in order from 1 to 3). Not only is the top choice in doubt, but so are the following candidates. The Heisman Trust said it would invite the top four selectees to New York City for the award presentation.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is the current leader among oddsmakers at FanDuel.com. Young could basically claim the award with a great game against Georgia this Saturday in the SEC championship. Georgia not only has the best defense in the country, but the Bulldogs are favored to win. Alabama likely needs a win Saturday to make college football's playoff.

Young could become Alabama's first quarterback to win the coveted award. Though his stats weren't so gaudy last weekend, he did what it took to win. Just one week after setting an Alabama school record for passing yards in a game (a win over Arkansas), Young directed the Crimson Tide offense on a late, 97-yard touchdown drive to tie the Iron Bowl against Auburn. Alabama went on to win the game in four overtimes. Young did it without his top receiver (ejected for a personal foul) and his top running back (injury).

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Second among the favorites is Ohio State quarterback E.J. Stroud, who has the weekend off because his Buckeyes lost by 15 points at Michigan last weekend. Part of that reason is Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who vaulted into the top four Heisman candidates with his performance.

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral won't play this weekend, neither will Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III. Then there is Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder, who could score points into a top four finish—in both Heisman votes and playoff rankings—with a solid AAC title win over Houston.

Of the top eight Heisman favorites, two of them are defensive linemen. Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis will be front and center leading the stout Bulldogs defense this Saturday against Alabama and Bryce Young. On the flip side of that will be Alabama linebacker Will Anderson leading a pretty ferocious Crimson Tide defense.

Meanwhile, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson will hope to lead the Wolverines into the College Football Playoff as they face Iowa.

Hutchinson is the player listed third among favorites to win the Heisman, according to FanDuel. Here is the sportsbook's list of Heisman favorites prior to Thursday:

-220 Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

+450 CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

+1600 Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan

+2000 Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

+2000 Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh

+2500 Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State

+3000 Will Anderson, LB, Alabama

+8000 Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia

+8000 Sam Hartman, QB, Wake Forest

Pickett (Pitt) and Hartman (Wake Forest) will face each other in the ACC championship game this weekend.

The Heisman Trophy shouldn't come down to one weekend of play. But for nearly 1,000 voters, that just might be the case this year.

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