At 7 p.m. CT (8 ET), the Heisman Trophy Presentation will begin in New York, and two Sooners have a chance to take home the most prized individual award in sports. Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook are up against Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Michigan all-purpose player Jabrill Peppers. The presentation itself will likely occur around 7:45 CT, and you can watch all of the festivities on ESPN and WatchESPN.
Here’s how I see the race finishing this evening:
- Lamar Jackson - Jackson stumbled down the stretch, which is usually a death sentence for a Heisman contender. However, many voters decided that Jackson was the winner long ago, and they saw his performance in a loss at Clemson as a positive rather than a negative, which is understandable considering how well he played in a tough environment against a quality opponent. However, he was able to accomplish nothing against Houston (largely due to his offensive line) and fumbled the game away against rival Kentucky. Many Heisman voters have been known to submit their ballots weeks in advance (which is idiotic), so there are likely many votes in which the Kentucky performance wasn’t taken into account. Would Jackson still win this if that weren’t the case? Probably, but it would likely be a little less lopsided.
- Deshaun Watson - Watson is the player in New York who will also be competing in the College Football Playoff. That’s going to mean something to some of the voters. He’s thrown 15 interceptions this year, but many will argue that they occurred against better competition than what Mayfield faced in conference play. I don’t picture showing up lower than third on may ballots.
- Dede Westbrook - Dede and Baker are both taken down a peg for facing Big 12 defenses. However, Westbrook has had so many highlight-reel plays since the TCU game that people (including the media) have become enamored with him. I mean, who didn’t love this play? Or this play? Or this play? Or this play?
- Jabrill Peppers - Peppers is possibly the most impressive player on this list. He’s seemingly played every position, and he’s done it at a high level. He’s an absolute freak of an athlete, and there’s precedent for a primarily defensive player to win this award (Charles Woodson in 1997). He also may get a few protest votes from people who don’t feel that any of the four offense-only players did enough to deserve the award.
- Baker Mayfield - Baker has the top passer rating in the country and being on pace for the best passer rating in FBS history. That has to count for something, right? The Big 12 (rightfully) gets no respect, and that gonna hurt Baker tonight. Maybe he’ll have a better chance next year.