NCAA Heisman Race: Down To Two

We have a dead-heat in the NCAA Heisman race odds between two quarterbacks — Florida’s Kyle Trask and Alabama’s Mac Jones. The two have flip-flopped as betting favorites throughout the year, but Jones has edged ahead going into the season finale, per online bookmaker BetOnline. Let’s have a look at the current odds before we give your our NCAA betting picks.

Marc Jones-175+125Kyle Trask

Before the season began, we all knew it would be a two-quarterback battle, but maybe just not between these signal-callers. Instead, most expected a closely-contested duel between Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, but both have been displaced by the aforementioned Jones and Trask.

So who you got – Trask or Jones? Let’s take a deeper dive at the two quarterbacks and see where, if any, separation lies in their Heisman case. By the end, we’ll offer our NCAA football futures pick to wager on.

Individual Performance

Let’s begin with Trask, who is perhaps in the unlikeliest of positions. Get this, he didn’t even start under center in high school. Not once. Lightly-recruited cause of it, he waited two more years at Florida before an injury thrust him into the starting role for the first time ever in 2019. He hasn’t looked back since then.

2020 has been an absolute coming-out party for the junior quarterback. Trask’s stat line is gaudy, to say the least. Through nine games, he’s racked up 3,243 yards through the air (second-best in the country) and 38 touchdowns (NCAA-high). The TD total is especially special given all came against SEC opponents. If not for a shortened season — and the cupcake out-of-conference matchups that come with it — Trask could’ve been on a record pace for scores.

And then there’s Jones of the Crimson Tide. He too has played in nine games, but on paper, his numbers appear less prolific than Trask’s. Jones’ current numbers include 3,113 passing yards and 27 touchdown passes.

But here’s the real difference: Jones has been much more efficient than Trask. In terms of completion percentage, Jones’ mark of 75.7 percent tops Trask’s 71.4. That difference is a big reason why Jones leads the nation in QBR at an eye-popping 96.3. Though, Trask is not far behind at third with a QBR of 92.7.

In order to decide who’s more worthy of a Heisman first-place vote, we must give an edge to one player over the other. When it comes to individual stats, Trask gets the slightest of nods from us. Ultimately, the touchdown difference is the deciding factor for us. Whereas the two players are comparable in almost every metric, scores are not one of them. An 11-touchdown difference is no small thing hence our co-sign for Trask in this department.

Advantage: Trask

Team Performance

Let us not kid ourselves, many times Heisman or MVP races come down to one simple thing — the best player on the best team. That’s especially the case unless there’s a runaway winner, which in this scenario, there clearly isn’t. Therefore, the team could be the deal-breaker here again.

At the moment, Florida is ranked number six in the country with an 8-1 mark. The lone blemish on its record is a three-point loss to fellow SEC foe, Texas A&M, who just happens to be ranked fifth in their own right.

Alabama, however, is a perfect 9-0 and atop the college football standings at number one. But even more impressive, the Tide are absolutely steam-rolling through its opponents (including the aforementioned Aggies, who Bama smoked 52-24). No game has been decided by single digits and its average margin of victory (30.9 points) leads the whole nation.

In this aspect, the upper hand clearly goes to Jones. But let’s not kid ourselves: this Heisman race comes down to the SEC championship game on December 19 in Atlanta, which both Alabama and Florida just happen to find themselves in. A lot will be at stake in that clash — College Football Playoff spots, a conference title, and yes, the Heisman winner.

How Trask and Jones perform in the game will be judged critically by the Heisman-voting committee, as they should. Anything can happen then, but given Alabama and Nick Saban’s dominating track record in the SEC during the last decade (and this season), our money is on his Crimson Tide program prevailing once again. A byproduct one can assume from that results is that Jones outperforms Trask on the field, too.

Advantage: Jones

Breaking The Heisman Tie

Surprise surprise, thus far, we’ve split on the Trask-Jones conundrum ourselves. Trask has performed better statistically, but the Jones team is superior and will likely make a mockery of Trask’s on the biggest stage. So now what? Anything else to consider?

Welp, there is the point that Saban gets too much credit for Alabama’s successes rather than any one player. During his run of dominance in Tuscaloosa, none of his signal-callers – not Tua Tagovailoa, not AJ McCarron – have earned the Heisman honor.

However, we believe Jones breaks that spell, namely because there will be zero arguments to make for Trask unless he outguns Jones in the SEC title game and Florida wins it. But that’s a big if in our book.

So there you have it, Jones should join the elite company as a Heisman winner by year’s end. It would take an absolute catastrophe to strike in the SEC title game for Jones not to earn it.

Final advantage: Jones

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Tony Castle

Tony Castle is one of the best out there, an excellent writer with a true love for sports. He learned his craft at University study English writing, before moving into his current role as an independent sports writer and journalist.

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