The Heisman Trophy is one of the most prestigious awards in college football. It is awarded to the best player in the sport, which often means the best quarterback on one of the best teams. The Pac-12 boasts some of the top teams in the country, and that's reflected in the top Heisman candidates in 2023. Heisman Trophy voters also search for signature wins, and Jordan Travis and Florida State already have two through four weeks. Beating Alabama often helps players rocket into the Heisman conversation, and Quinn Ewers has a victory over the Crimson Tide under his belt.
Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)
The arguable betting favorite currently to win the 2023 Heisman Trophy, Penix continued to make his case for the award with a 304-yard, four-touchdown performance in the Washington Huskies win over the California Bears on Saturday night. Penix leads the country in passing yards with 1,636 and passing touchdowns with 16. The left-handed quarterback pla
ys in a quarterback-friendly offense that relies heavily on the passing game, so Penix should be able to continue his passing dominance over the Pac-12. Washington will get one more tune-up game against the Arizona Wildcats and a bye week before taking on Bo Nix, another Heisman candidate from the Pac-12, and the Oregon Ducks in week seven.
Caleb Williams (USC)
The only person to win the Heisman Trophy twice was Ohio State's Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975. While several other athletes have been on the list multiple times, including Florida's Tim Tebow, who was a three-time finalist, no one has been able to claim the elusive second Heisman Trophy. The latest candidate is USC's Caleb Williams, who won the award in 2022. Williams has thrown for 1,200 yards, 15 touchdowns, and no interceptions through four weeks of play for the Trojans. Williams also has 71 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on his resume for 2023.
The defending winner had 322 yards and three touchdowns through the air, 10 rushing yards, and two touchdowns on the ground in a 14-point win over Arizona State. The Trojans have not met an offense that can keep up with them yet, but Colorado and Shedeur Sanders should provide more of a challenge, despite coming off an embarrassing loss to Oregon.
Quinn Ewers (Texas)
Texas is back...again. The Longhorns, led by Quinn Ewers, have been in the national spotlight ever since their 10-point win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Many people thought the Longhorns might've fallen for a trap game after a big win, but Texas has continued to roll, scoring 30 points in all four of their games so far this season.
Ewers was catapulted into the Heisman conversation after his big showing in Tuscaloosa and is continuing to deliver, with 1,099 yards, nine passing touchdowns, 34 rush yards, and three rushing touchdowns this season. Texas has two ranked opponents coming up on their schedule, hosting Kansas this week before heading to Dallas for the Red River Showdown with Oklahoma, the last time that rivalry takes place in the Big 12.
A healthy season and a Big 12 championship should land Ewers a spot on the Heisman stage in New York if he continues at this rate.
Bo Nix (Oregon)
Bo Nix climbs one spot in the Heisman race after Oregon de-railed the Colorado hype train with a 42-6 win over the Buffs on Saturday. Nix passed for 276 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for nine yards with another touchdown. Through four games, Nix has 1,169 passing yards and 11 passing touchdowns, 69 rushing yards, and a rushing touchdown.
Nix is on pace for his best season yet in college football and should have no issue continuing that projection in a late-afternoon matchup with Stanford this week.
Jordan Travis (Florida State)
When people debate who should win the Heisman Trophy, they compare stats, discuss the player's impact on the team, and analyze signature wins. Jordan Travis and the Seminoles now have two signature wins this season: a 45-24 win over the LSU Tigers in the season opener, and a 31-24 over the Clemson Tigers in Death Valley.
Travis threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns and also had a rushing touchdown in the win over Clemson. Travis has 1,028 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, 94 rushing yards, and three rushing touchdowns on the season. Florida State sits atop the ACC, tied with Louisville.
The Seminoles should be able to continue their hot streak this week against the Virginia Tech Hokies. Florida State then will lineup against Syracuse before hosting 17th-ranked Duke.
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