Heisman Trophy: Final Thoughts On Who Will Win, How The Vote Will Go

Brad McClenny, Joshua S. Kelly, Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports

Heisman Trophy: Final Thoughts On Who Will Win, How The Vote Will Go

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Heisman Trophy: Final Thoughts On Who Will Win, How The Vote Will Go

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Who’s going to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy? How will the vote go, and why does each finalist deserve to win – or not? Here are the Final Thoughts before tonight’s ceremony.


2020 Heisman Trophy Broadcast

Date: Tuesday, January 5
Time: 7:00 ET
Network: ESPN


2020 Heisman Prediction: The Top 6 Will Be …

Before we get going, I have a Heisman vote. Under penalty of being forced to have a discussion about The Bachelor, I’m not allowed to reveal anything about my ballot until after this thing is done.

– I do, however, think it’s okay to reveal that I didn’t put RB Reggie Bush, USC in the third slot – as I’ve always sort of wanted to do – as a protest over his 2005 honor being vacated for silly reasons.

– I wouldn’t actually do that 1) because in hindsight, I wish I had voted for Vince Young, and 2) I would never dishonor the Heisman ballot process.

– No one is more cynical and less squishy about stuff than I am, but voting for the Heisman is one of those things I still totally geek out over.

– This year was the hardest voting process ever. I changed my mind and my order four different times before hitting submit. However, I will say this – my top three guys never changed.

– With that said, I SO wish we could do the voting after the bowls are done. This is for another time and another article, but the line still works – it’s like assigning a grade for a class before the final exam.

– To all those “it’s a regular season award” types – who I don’t for the life of me understand – would awarding the national championship before the bowl games seem insane? Of course it would, but that’s what happened with the AP national champion before 1968 and the UPI/Coaches before 1974 until they realized how wacky that was.

– Sorry. That’s not why you called. Who’s going to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy? (The final prediction is at the bottom of all this.)

– Again, not to reveal anything on my ballot, and this is obviously anecdotal, but I know one person who voted for odds-on favorite DeVonta Smith in the top spot. I know around ten other people who didn’t.

– It’ll be fascinating to see how this all turns out. I get the sense that Smith is more of a broadcaster shoo-in pick than a real world sure-thing No. 1, but no matter what, this should be extremely tight. More on this later.

– In Smith’s favor, though, the Heisman quarterback fatigue is absolutely real. That’s not to dismiss or disrespect Smith if he wins it, but there isn’t a Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield who’s a totally obvious pick this time around.

– For the record, I voted for Ndamukong Suh in 2009 and Manti Te’o in 2012. To me, it’s about 1) who the signature player is in a college football season – who’s THE guy, and 2) who’s the best combination of MVP and MOP, and …

– Sorry. The 2020 Heisman …

– Remember, and this is going to be totally forgotten in the final tally, the voting was all done before the bowl games. So throw out any preconceived notions from Kyle Trask’s disastrous day against Oklahoma, and the Trevor Lawrence’s night – even though he wasn’t bad – in the loss to Ohio State.

– Again, here’s the problem. If Justin Fields throws six touchdown passes and Ohio State obliterates Alabama in the national championship, historically, the 2020 Heisman tally will look weird.

– The whole career honor thing never really works. It’s a talking point, and it’s enough to get some great players on a ballot, but it’s never enough to get a player over the top, at least not anymore. That used to be how this worked back in the day – it went to the top upperclassmen – and then Tim Tebow in 2007 shattered that as the first sophomore to win it. Which means …

– I’ll be shocked if Trevor Lawrence finishes in the top three. I’m going to guess he wasn’t higher than three on most of the ballots that put him in the mix.

– Kyle Trask will be the most fascinating finisher. It’s been memory dumped after the bowl season, but his last argument came on the Saturday night just before most voters submitted their ballots. Remember, he lit up Alabama for 408 yards and three touchdowns with a rushing score and no picks in a heroic effort in the loss. However …

– DeVonta Smith was pretty good against the Gators – 15 catches for 184 yards and two scores. Mac Jones completed 77% of his passes for 418 yards and five touchdowns and one pick – and won.

– The other guy no one talks about could screw this up – Alabama RB Najee Harris. The Heisman used to be a running back award, and he was a rock all season long. The mass numbers aren’t there, but he ran 31 times for 178 yards and two scores with three touchdown catches and 67 yards against Florida. He’s not a finalist, so why does he matter?

– It’s possible he splits the Alabama vote that much more. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t finish fifth, and there’s a chance that everyone watching Alabama games had different opinions on who the main man for that team really was.

– If 45ish% of the Bama voters like DeVonta, and 45ish% like Mac, that 10% who liked Najee – but not enough to make him a finalist – might be enough to squeak in Trask if the vote is split.

If you want to see, hear, read what college football hair-on-fire reactions look like, watch what happens if the Bama guys cancel each other out and Trask gets this.

– Remember, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers, Tommie Frazier, and legendary college player after legendary player never won the Heisman. It’s really, really hard to get this thing. How hard? No Alabama quarterback has ever won it, and Desmond Howard in 1991 was the last wide receiver to get it.

– However, when Howard won, there really wasn’t another option. Florida State’s Casey Weldon was fine, BYU’s Ty Detmer wasn’t going to win it twice, and Washington DT Steve Emtman didn’t have a shot. There are a few amazing options this year, so if DeVonta Smith gets it, it’ll be a fantastic win.

– So after all of that blather, here’s what’s going to happen …

2020 Heisman Prediction: The Top 6 Will Be …

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