The last full week of college football action in 2023 has passed, and our Heisman odds watch has reached a crucial point. What does the latest 2023 Heisman odds update look like, and who are the favorites to take home the award?
2023 Heisman Watch: Bo Nix & Jayden Daniels are the Final Two
And then there were two.
The race has become much simpler, with only conference championship weekend remaining before the fateful Heisman Trophy decision.
There were weeks earlier in the season where we had as many as a dozen potential contenders. But with the race nearing its conclusion, it’s now down to two major challengers: Oregon QB Bo Nix and LSU QB Jayden Daniels.
At the moment, Nix is in the lead with 2023 Heisman odds of -125. Daniels is a close second-place candidate, with odds of +105.
In recent weeks, Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. joined Nix and Daniels on the podium, but after another up-and-down performance, his 2023 Heisman odds have now fallen to +1500.
Past Penix, the next closest name on the 2023 Heisman Watch list is Alabama QB Jalen Milroe at +10000. After that, Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon II and Georgia QB Carson Beck are listed at +15000.
Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. is listed at +20000. Michigan’s top offensive playmakers, J.J. McCarthy and Blake Corum, are both at +30000. And Washington WR Rome Odunze closes out the list at +50000.
The latter names on the list exist as mere formalities, however. It’s officially down to Nix and Daniels for the Heisman Trophy. Penix still has a remote chance, but he’d need a dominating performance and a Pac-12 championship victory to get the job done.
Bo Nix and Jayden Daniels Separate Themselves with Historic Production
The final weeks of the 2023 college football regular season have made clear that Nix and Daniels are simply in a tier above the rest when it comes to production.
For Nix, efficiency has been the key. He’s on pace to break the all-time FBS record for completion percentage in a season among qualifying passers with 78.6%. On 401 attempts, he has 3,906 yards, 37 touchdowns, and just two interceptions, with six rushing scores on top of that.
Daniels, meanwhile, has been an unstoppable big-play machine in both phases. Daniels finished the 2023 regular season with 90 — yes, 90 — plays of 20 yards or more. The next-closest individual player had 61, and Daniels himself had more than most offenses.
It goes without saying that Daniels’ production, both as a passer and a runner, has been absurd.
Through the air, Daniels has completed 236 of 327 attempts for 3,812 yards, 40 touchdowns, and just four picks. On the ground, meanwhile, he’s amassed 1,134 yards and 10 scores on 135 carries.
If production was the only factor, Daniels would have this race locked up. That’s how dominant he’s been. But Daniels’ season is over, aside from a bowl game appearance. Nix has a conference championship and a College Football Playoff berth to play for.
Thus, if Nix beats Penix and Washington in the Pac-12 Championship game, it’ll likely make up the difference between him and Daniels, and give him a comfortable edge in the team achievements department.
As we’ve seen in recent years, the Heisman Trophy winner often seems to have the best mix of individual production and team accomplishments — particularly when the race is close between two competitors.
At this point, we know it’s largely down to Nix and Daniels. Now, the only question left to answer is, can Nix answer the bell one final time, lead his team to a victory in the most important game, and definitively prove himself as the rightful Heisman winner?
If Nix wins the game, he’ll have accomplished that. If he loses, and fails to uplift his team against a comparable opponent, then it’ll be easier for the decision makers to defer toward Daniels’ elite production.
That’s where we’ve arrived at, after a tumultuous season of 2023 Heisman odds tracking. It was complicated once, but now, it’s fairly simple.
If Nix wins the Pac-12 Championship game, it’ll go a long way toward locking in his status as the Heisman favorite. If he loses, Daniels still has a very good shot to win the award on account of his production.
The Pac-12 Championship game will take place on Friday, December 1, at 8:00 PM Eastern. That’s the next, and most pivotal, checkpoint for the 2023 Heisman odds watch.