Heisman Trophy watch: Updated odds, top candidates to win 2021 award

The Heisman Trophy race enters the final week, and the race remains open for the leading contenders.

The award will be given out on Dec. 11, with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young the favorite heading into Saturday’s matchup against top-ranked Georgia in the SEC championship game. Young led a last-minute comeback in Alabama’s four-overtime victory against Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 27.

There still are two other potential finalists that have a game on Saturday. Pitt’s Kenny Pickett will lead the Panthers in the ACC championship game, and Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson has a chance to make a last impression in the Big Ten championship game.

The race has remained complicated all season, which is par for the course in 2021. Here is a look at the current Heisman odds, the potential finalist and other need-to-know-items for the Heisman race:

Current Heisman Odds

Here are the current Heisman odds according to FanDuel.com.

Top Heisman candidates

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama (-220)

2021 stats: 3,901 yards, 40 touchdowns, four interceptions

Young is in position to be the first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy following Heisman finalist finishes from AJ McCarron (2013), Tua Tagovailoa (2018) and Mac Jones (2020). He would give the Crimson Tide back-to-back winners after DeVonta Smith won the award as a receiver last season. Young led the game-tying 97-yard drive against Auburn in the Iron Bowl last week — a sequence that could be his Heisman moment, depending on how he fares against No. 1 Georgia in the SEC championship game. Young has 20 touchdowns and one interception with five 300-yard games since the loss to Texas A&M. He remains the common-sense front runner in a muddled race.

C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (+450)

2021 stats: 3,862 yards, 38 touchdowns, five interceptions

Stroud is in position to be the third consecutive Ohio State quarterback to be a Heisman Trophy finalist following Justin Fields and Dwayne Haskins. He passed for more than 300 yards in eight of 11 starts and was efficient in running an offense that averaged 45.5 points per game. Stroud’s best performance was a 434-yard, six-touchdown performance against Michigan State, but the downside would be the loss to Michigan. Stroud did have 394 passing yards and two touchdowns in the loss, but he wasn’t the most dominant player on the field. Like Haskins (2018) and Fields (2019), Stroud likely will have to settle for being a finalist.

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss (+2000)

2021 stats: 3,334 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, four interceptions, 597 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns

Corral is the Lamar Jackson-type candidate in the race. He doesn’t have the benefit of a conference championship game, but he has the statistics with 597 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns to go along with his passing stats. Ole Miss likely will land a New Year’s Day 6 bowl in Lane Kiffin’s second season. Corral did not have a signature moment of sorts, and he did not play great in losses to Alabama and Auburn. Still, if you are looking for one of those team-MVP type candidates who could win as a default setting, Corral has a chance.

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt (+2000)

2021 stats: 4,066 yards, 40 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 221 rushing yards, four touchdowns

Pickett is an interesting last-weekend candidate who could impress during the ACC championship game. The senior quarterback has eight games with 300 yards or more, and he led the Panthers to thrilling victories against Clemson and North Carolina at home. The Panthers did lose two games, and the Western Michigan game remains a head-scratcher. But Pickett could grab some votes by leading Pitt past Wake Forest in the conference title game. He’s a safe bet to at least be a finalist.

Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan (+2000)

2021 stats: 51 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, eight quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles

Looking for the late-ballot candidate? Hutchison impressed with a three-sack performance against rival Ohio State on Saturday (while also drawing two holding penalties), and that came two weeks after a three-sack performance against Penn State. Hutchinson emerged as a big-time player in spotlight games, and he has one more chance to build on that in the Big Ten championship game against Iowa. Charles Woodson is the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy. Could this be the year another Michigan player follows in his footsteps?

Kenneth Walker, RB, Michigan State (+2000)

2021 stats: 263 carries, 1,636 yards, 6.2 yards per carry, 19 total touchdowns

Walker led Michigan State to a 10-win season and provided one of the best performances of the 2021 season against Michigan on Oct. 30. He finished with 23 carries for 197 yards and five touchdowns in a 37-33 victory. Walker, however, was a non-factor with six carries for 25 yards in a 56-7 loss to Ohio State three weeks later. Walker did finish second in the FBS in rushing yards, and with four finalists he’ll be a decent bet to get to New York, depending on which quarterbacks likely earn the award.

When is the Heisman Trophy Ceremony?

The Heisman will be awarded on Dec. 11, one week after conferences hold their conference championship games. Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was held virtually, and not until Jan. 5. This year, the ceremony is back to its normal date in mid-December.

Will this be the closest Heisman race?

With no clear front runner, this year’s race could resemble 2009. That’s when Alabama running back Mark Ingram (1,304 points) edged out Stanford’s Toby Gerhart (1,276) by 28 votes to win the award, despite losing the Doak Walker Award (best running back) to the Cardinal rusher.

Texas’ Colt McCoy (1,145) finished third, and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh (815) finished fourth. This race might not be as close, but it could resemble the same field if two quarterbacks, Walker and Hutchinson end up being finalists.

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