Heisman Watch: Oregon’s Nix leads while UW’s Penix loses ground as race enters final weekend

Two of the Pac-12’s top quarterbacks collide Friday in the conference championship

Welcome to our weekly look at the Pac-12’s leading Heisman Trophy candidates through an evaluation of the conference’s top players. Consider one Heisman voter’s perspective on the regional landscape. The rankings are based on individual performance, team value, and competition quality.

Voting for the Heisman Trophy began on Monday, and unfortunately, an outsized

A portion of the 900-plus voters may vote before the election.

This weekend is the conference championship games.

The absence of the No. 2 betting favorite is one reason for the early voting.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels has had an outstanding season.

leads the country in touchdown passes with 40 — but the Tigers didn’t

make the SEC championship.

Any Daniels supporters who are committed to him may not wait to evaluate Oregon.

quarterback Bo Nix and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. of Washington in their

Friday night’s showdown in Las Vegas.

Remember that five of the Heisman voting regions are in the Eastern and Central time zones.

The Far West region extends from the Dakotas to Hawaii, whereas the

Missouri and Arkansas are included in the Southwest. LSU competed in all 12 games of the

The eastern half of the United States.

If enough people vote for Daniels before Friday night, Nix’s performance may not matter.

What about Penix? He is far behind the leaders.

According to the most recent BetMGM odds, Nix is the betting favorite.

(4-to-6), followed by Daniels (6-to-5) and Penix (distant third).


It’s unclear whether Penix can perform well enough on the first Friday of the season.

December will be used to make up ground lost during a difficult November.

1. Oregon QB Bo Nix

Last week: 2

Key stats: 189.8 passer rating, 37 touchdowns, two interceptions

Comment: Nix has made November look easy with 18 touchdowns and one interception, as well as a 4-0 record and three blowout wins. He’ll be in New York City for the ceremony and should win with a strong performance Friday night.

2. Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

Last week: 1

Key stats: 324.9 yards per game, 9.1 yards per attempt, 32 touchdowns

Comment: The Huskies keep winning, while Penix continues to fall behind Nix and Daniels. To be clear, he has not performed poorly. However, the bar is rising with each passing week, and his November completion percentage (57.8) falls short of the standard set by the other frontrunners.

3. USC QB Caleb Williams

Last week: 3

Key stats: 172.2 passer rating, 67.9% completion, 9.4 yards per attempt

Comment: Williams’ absence from the late stages of the race exemplifies the difficulties that Heisman winners face in their quest to repeat. His completion percentage, yards per attempt, and passer rating are all higher than they were last season.

4. Arizona QB Noah Fifita

Last week: 4

Key stats: 167.5 passer rating, 73.6% completion, 23 touchdowns

Comment: Fifita is well-deserving of this spot, despite sitting on the bench for the first month and missing out on the starting lineup if Jayden de Laura hadn’t been injured. He has thrown a touchdown every 13 attempts, just like Penix.

5. Oregon WR Troy Franklin

Last week: 5

Key stats: 77 receptions, 17.5 yards per catch, 14 touchdowns

Comment: We recently argued that if Franklin returned in 2024 and played at a comparable level, he could be remembered as the best receiver in school history. But, after a hot streak, he has a legitimate claim to the top spot right now.

6. Washington WR Rome Odunze

Last week: 6

Key stats: 73 receptions, 18.2 yards per catch, 13 touchdowns

Comment: Odunze’s incredible season will be defined by a 23-yard run on fourth-and-1 against Washington State, not a catch. Credit the Huskies for allowing their best player to make the necessary play.

Also considered (alphabetically):

Elijhah Badger of Arizona State and OSU LB Jacob Cowing, Oregon DL Andrew Chatfield, Arizona WR Brandon Dorlus, DE, Utah OSU’s Jonah Elliss Stanford K Taliese Fuaga and Joshua Gray, OL UCLA’s Joshua Karty Arizona LB Laiatu Latu

Jacob Manu, Damian Martinez of OSU, Tetairoa McMillan of Arizona, Jaydn Ott of Cal, and Shedeur Sanders of Colorado

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply