What are the latest developments in the 2023 Heisman Watch ahead of Week 12 of the college football season?
2023 Heisman Watch: Bo Nix’s Trophy to Lose
For the first time in the 2023 regular season, Bo Nix is the projected winner of the Heisman Trophy. He’s now in first place with odds of -125 on DraftKings. Meanwhile, his top Pac-12 competitor, Michael Penix Jr., is in second place with odds of +280.
Nix and Penix remain the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy, but two other players are separated as potential contenders.
LSU’s Jayden Daniels is the third quarterback in the mix with odds of +650. And Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. is currently third in the running, with odds of +450.
J.J. McCarthy was a top contender for much of the 2023 season, but his odds have tanked following two less-than-stellar weeks of production. He fell to +800 after Week 10, and fell all the way to +9000 this week after throwing just eight passes in a win versus Penn State.
Ahead of McCarthy, there are three sleeper QBs at +4000. Jalen Milroe is rising after a six-total touchdown outing against Kentucky. Carson Beck still has strong standing after his win against Ole Miss, as does Jordan Travis after a win against Miami.
Bo Nix, Jayden Daniels, Marvin Harrison Jr. All Give Heisman-Worthy Performances
A lot of players delivered Heisman-worthy performances in Week 11, but for all intents and purposes, the Heisman odds race has narrowed down to four: Nix, Penix, Daniels, and Harrison Jr.
All four of those players delivered excellent outings in Week 11, with Nix taking center stage against a Caleb Williams-led USC attack in Pac-12 primetime play. Nix tore apart the Trojans defense in a 36-27 win, completing 23 of 31 attempts for 412 yards and four TDs.
On the year, Nix is now up to 258 completions on 332 attempts — with a mind-boggling 77.7% completion rate — for 3,135 yards, 29 touchdowns, and just two picks.
But Nix isn’t the only immaculate passer on the Heisman circuit. Daniels, in particular, has also been playing at an otherworldly level — and his Week 11 showing was arguably his best yet.
In a high-flying shootout against the Florida Gators, Daniels completed 17 of 26 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough, he also ran for 234 yards and two scores on just 12 carries — complete with an 85-yard house call.
If production was the only factor, Daniels would be the Heisman front-runner. Through the air, and on the ground, no one has a better combined record. But unfortunately for Daniels, LSU’s two conference losses will keep them from competing for an SEC championship and playoff spot.
Nix, Penix, and Harrison Jr. all still have conference championship and playoff achievements on the line — which is why it’ll likely be one of those three taking home the Heisman Trophy.
Harrison Jr. is playing at just as high of a level — but that goes without saying for a WR who’s a front-runner for a largely QB-driven award. In Week 11, Harrison Jr. caught seven passes for 149 yards and two scores, and ran for a third TD against Michigan State.
Nix and Penix are steamrolling toward another head-to-head battle in the Pac-12 Championship game. As we discussed last week, the most likely outcome is that the winner of that game wins the Heisman Trophy.
Whoever can outlast, and outproduce, the other.
It stands to reason that, in a battle of the two arguable best players in college football, who both have equitable support around them, whoever wins is the unequivocal best player.
In all this talk, however, don’t rule out Milroe as a potential late emergence in the front-runner group. Alabama is in position to potentially play Georgia in the conference championship. If Milroe can lead the Crimson Tide to a win, it’d completely rework his Heisman argument.
The bottom line is this: Even with 11 weeks of the regular season completed, we still have a very long way to go before a Heisman winner is crowned. But the games with greater implications are inching closer and closer.