Heisman Watch: Penix loses ground and Nix holds steady while Williams’ candidacy collapses

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy was the Week 8 winner in the national race

Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. became the latest victim of a time-honored Heisman Trophy race reality: weeks of progress can vanish in three exhausting hours.

Penix finally surpassed USC quarterback Caleb Williams as the betting favorite last week, only to be surpassed again this week after a poor performance in Washington’s surprisingly narrow victory over Arizona State.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who threw four touchdown passes in the Wolverines’ 49-0 win over Michigan State, has been named the new leader.

BetMGM released odds on Monday.

McCarthy is a +240 favorite to win the award, which means a $100 bet would return $240. (A +240 bet has a 29.4 percent implied probability.)

Penix is the +300 second-best bet, followed by LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels at +375.

At +2000, Oregon quarterback Bo Nix is in the second tier of candidates.

The numbers will change as the race progresses. It only takes one bad game for the frontrunners to fall behind.

1. Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.

Last week: 1

Key stats: 368 yards per game, 70.8% completions, 10 yards per attempt

Comment: Penix appeared to be injured at the end of the Oregon game and did not appear to be himself against Arizona State. Is it a coincidence or a connection? This week, UW coaches said he was “under the weather.” We won’t assume injury over illness, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

2. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix

Last week: 2

Key stats: 78.4% completions, 180.3 passer rating, one interception

Comment: Nix continues to produce victories and efficiency in equal measure, and unlike Penix, he is not subjected to the scrutiny that comes with being a frontrunner. To put it another way: Nix is

Perfectly placed to make a November charge from the back of the pack.

3. Shedeur Sanders, QB, Colorado

Last week: 4

Key stats: 345.7 yards per game, 72.3% completions, 21 touchdowns

Comment: Sanders’ standing in the Heisman Trophy race hasn’t changed in recent weeks and is unlikely to change: His journey to New York

The journey to the city for the ceremony is long and complicated. However, Sanders’ position within the conference has benefited from USC’s struggles.

4. USC QB Caleb Williams’s

Last week: 3

Key stats: 70% completions, 179.4 passer rating, 23 touchdowns

Comment: Williams is still a fantastic NFL prospect, but his candidacy has been hampered by his own standard of excellence — as the reigning champion, he’s being judged against his 2022 performance — and USC’s flaws on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

5. Washington WR Rome Odunze

Last week: 5

Key stats: 117 yards per game, 18.2 yards per catch

Comment: Odunze had a quiet week (five catches for 82 yards) as the University of Washington offense struggled for the first time this season.

But that’s life for Heisman Trophy receivers: they rely heavily on others for success, specifically the quarterback and offensive line.

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