Every Conference’s Best Hope for the 2020 Heisman
With most of the FBS officially playing football in 2020, now is the perfect time to take a look at who will get the invitation to the Heisman ceremony this year. I broke down my Heisman predictions by each power five conferences and one dark horse pick to represent the group of five schools.
Frontrunner (ACC Pick): Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: 848 pass yds, 73.3% completion, 7 pass TDs, 3 rush TDs
The quarterback for the number one team in the nation is the preseason and now early-season favorite to hold the trophy in December. All Trevor Lawrence has done at Clemson is win, suffering his first loss at Clemson in 2019 National Championship against LSU. Lawrence has his first real test of the season in the upcoming week where he faces the seventh-ranked team in the country as another potential ACC Heisman contender in D'Eriq King and the Miami Hurricanes come to "Death Valley". Clemson will face another tough test on the road November against the fifth-ranked Notre Dame Irish. If they can get past those two tough games they also might end up facing another ACC Heisman contender in the ACC Championship game in Sam Howell and North Carolina. If Lawrence and Clemson can continue the winning trend, Lawrence is sure to be a Heisman Trophy winner as well.
Big 12 Pick: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State: 339 rush yds. 4 rush TDs
Last year's rushing attempts and rushing yard leader is back and full force in the Big 12. With Oklahoma State's starting quarterback Spencer Sanders getting injured in the first game of the year against Tulsa was a big hit for the Cowboys and Hubbard was thrust into the position to take control of the game. Oklahoma State had to rely on Hubbard a lot through their games without Sanders at the end, once Sanders gets healthy if they continue to run the offense through Hubbard they can compete to win the Big 12 this year. With Texas and Oklahoma having a shaky start to their seasons the Big 12 is wide open and Oklahoma State behind Chuba Hubbard is the frontrunner to take the Big 12 can lead to Hubbard with a Heisman and even the Cowboys in the College Football Playoff.
SEC Pick: Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida: 227 rec yds, 6 recs TDs
The best player on the best team in the SEC 2 weeks into SEC football is the tight end to the Florida Gators Kyle Pitts. This man is just a bully in the receiving game and can give solid help in the run game as well. The Gators' first test comes this week, when they are on the road against the twenty-first ranked Texas A&M Aggies. Florida will also have to host the seventeenth ranked defending national LSU Tigers next week. Down the road, Florida will also host the third-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in November and go on the road against the fourteenth ranked Tennessee Volunteers. If Pitts does receive Heisman votes he would be the first to do so since Ken MacAfee of Notre Dame who finished third in the 1977 Heisman race.
Big Ten Pick: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
An elite dual-threat quarterback in 2019, Justin Fields has come back to the university with his eyes set on a National Championship. Ohio State did suffer some key losses from the 2019 campaign, running back JK Dobbins and wide receiver KJ Hill, both taking their talents to play on Sundays. But while Ohio State did have some key losses this offseason they still have the pieces in place for Fields to find success. Ohio State's leader in receiving yards and touchdowns from 2019 is returning in Chris Olave and they bring in a transfer running back from Oklahoma in Trey Sermon who can do a suitable job replacing JK Dobbins this year. Last year Fields tasted the Heisman as a finalist but is this year his season to actually hold the trophy? Only time will tell.
PAC 12 Pick: Jayden Daniels, QB, Arizona State
It should be interesting to see what happens with the PAC 12 with them only playing seven games. Arizona State has a real chance to stand out in the PAC 12. With some of the top quarterbacks in the PAC 12 like Justin Herbert, Jacob Eason, Steven Montez, and Tyler Huntley leaving Jayden Daniels has the perfect skill set to fill the quarterback void in the PAC 12. Daniels will have to fill the void of losing his top wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk, and starting running back in Eno Benjamin. Daniels and Arizona State have their toughest test week one where the Sun Devils play USC on the road against another possible PAC 12 Heisman contender in Kedon Slovis. I am sure head coach Herm Edwards will prepare Jayden Daniels to takeover the PAC 12.
Dark Horse: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU: 949 pass yds, 83.3% completion, 6 pass TDs, INT, 218.8 passer rating, 5 rush TDs
BYU is playing 11 games in this COVID season and they are off to a hot start, outscoring their first three opponents 148-24. They are an all-around sound football team both defensively and offensively leading the way at quarterback is Zach Wilson. The toughest tests Wilson and Cougars will face this season are 10/17 on the rescheduled road against the twenty-second ranked Army Black Knights and 11/7 on the smurf turf at Boise State Broncos. While BYU was able to come together with a pretty much full schedule in this pandemic season, it would have been nice if they could have added a PAC 12 team to their resume to help Wilson's Heisman resume.