Note: Everyone welcome aboard our newest contributor Kyle! Kyle usually runs with the Saints SB Nation site Canal Street Chronicles, but he’s branching out into the world of LSU and we’re happy to have him!
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels has the third-best odds in college football to win the Heisman Trophy. The two players ahead of Daniels are Washington’s quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and Michigan’s quarterback J.J. McCarthy.
CURRENT HEISMAN ODDS POST COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS— Fantasy Fanatics (@FFB_Fanatics) October 31, 2023
Michael Penix Jr. +280
J.J. McCarthy +300
Jayden Daniels +400
Bo Nix +600
Jordan Travis +800
Marvin Harrison Jr. +1000
Who is your favorite bet here?? pic.twitter.com/SCl6nOj6xt
Daniels has thrown for 2,573 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions on the season. The dual-threat quarterback also added 521 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground. Current Heisman frontrunner Michael Penix Jr. has thrown for 2,945 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions while having a rushing yard total of -9 yards. Current runner-up J.J. McCarthy has thrown for 1,799 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. McCarthy has also contributed to the run game going for 168 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Highest graded Quarterbacks this season pic.twitter.com/l6b5kmCDQG— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 1, 2023
Why Isn’t Daniels First?
The most common argument you would hear when it comes to why Daniels isn't the favorite, despite better statistics, is the team's record and opponents. Both Washington and Michigan are currently undefeated with Washington having a win over #8 ranked Oregon. LSU has lost two games this season both coming from ranked opponents.
Why this argument is flawed
In both of LSU’s losses this season, Jayden Daniels and the offense performed well, really well. It was the LSU defense that struggled to stay in the game. Against the Ole Miss Rebels, the LSU defense gave up 706 yards of total offense and 55 points. In this same game, Daniels and the offense put up 637 yards and 49 points. Daniels was responsible for 414 yards passing, 99 yards on the ground, and 5 total touchdowns. In LSU’s week one loss to Florida State, Daniels put up 410 yards of total offense, however, he was only responsible for one touchdown.
Daniels has performed at a high level all season while playing against tougher opponents. The three ranked teams LSU has faced this season (Mizzou, Ole Miss, and Florida State) are all currently ranked inside of the top 12. Penix Jr. and McCarthy have a combined total of 1 ranked team played against (Washington vs. #8 Oregon).
What a win over Alabama means for Daniels
College Gameday will be heading to Tuscaloosa on Saturday for the #13 LSU vs #8 Alabama matchup. Alabama is currently favored at -155 odds. Going into the matchup, LSU has the #1 offense in the SEC and Alabama has the #1 defense.
If Daniels can go into Tuscaloosa as the underdog, beat the best defense in the SEC on primetime TV, and have a good showing, there is a high chance he will become the favorite for the Heisman Trophy. Beating Alabama will turn away Daniels’ big doubters as it goes against the biggest narrative against him. This matchup essentially makes or breaks Daniels Heisman chances.