After Tennessee football flop, can SEC still produce Heisman Trophy winner? Look to LSU
Tennessee football is out of College Football Playoff contention after a blowout loss to South Carolina, and Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker is no longer a Heisman Trophy frontrunner after he got outplayed by Spencer Rattler.
Unfortunately, Hooker suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the fourth quarter, ending his special season and his college career.
With Hooker dropping from the Heisman race, how does the SEC's chance look to produce the award's winner for the fourth consecutive season?
Simply put, not great.
On the upside, with two weeks before ballots are due, the media has not coalesced behind a particular player. The downside: Hooker was the SEC's top candidate.
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels now will take up that baton. His advantage: The Tigers (9-2) have two games remaining, and an upset against No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship – as improbable as that seems – would be an epic Heisman moment
Ohio State's C.J. Stroud and Southern Cal's Caleb Williams are frontrunners, but that is subject to change based on the outcomes of rivalry week and conference championship games. TCU's Max Duggan and Michigan's Blake Corum also are in the mix.
Then there's Daniels. The transfer quarterback does not have the passing stats of players like Stroud or Williams or Hooker, but this award is not based purely on stats. Team success helps, and if LSU can beat Texas A&M and upset Georgia to elevate into the playoffs, that would make for a tough-to-top narrative.
Two other SEC players were among those listed with longshot Heisman odds in the latest release from DraftKings: Alabama's Bryce Young and Georgia's Stetson Bennett IV.
[ WANT MORE OPINIONS FROM BLAKE TOPPMEYER? Sign up for the SEC Unfiltered newsletter for exclusive columns delivered straight to your inbox ]
Young's candidacy is flawed by the fact that Alabama will not make the playoff, and although he remains an elite talent, his stats do not match last season, when he won the award.
Bennett likely would need a monster performance under the bright lights of the SEC Championship to catapult into more serious contention.
Also in this episode
– Week 13 picks against the spread, as Toppmeyer retains his narrow lead!
Mississippi State at Ole Miss (-3.5) – Adams: Mississippi State; Toppmeyer: Ole Miss
Arkansas (-4) at Missouri – Adams: Arkansas; Toppmeyer: Arkansas
Auburn at Alabama (-21.5) – Adams: Alabama; Toppmeyer: Auburn
Georgia Tech at Georgia (-35.5) – Adams: Georgia Tech; Toppmeyer: Georgia Tech
Florida at Florida State (-9.5) – Adams: Florida State; Toppmeyer: Florida
South Carolina at Clemson (-14.5) – Adams: Clemson; Toppmeyer: Clemson
Louisville at Kentucky (-3.5) – Adams: Louisville; Toppmeyer: Louisville
Tennessee (-15.5) at Vanderbilt – Adams: Vanderbilt; Toppmeyer: Tennessee
LSU (-9.5) at Texas A&M – Adams: LSU; Toppmeyer: LSU
Michigan at Ohio State – Adams: Michigan; Toppmeyer: Michigan
Lock of the week – Adams: Air Force (-2) at San Diego State; Toppmeyer: Rutgers at Maryland (-13.5)
Records – Toppmeyer: 33-41-2 (3-4 last week); Adams: 32-42-2 (3-4 last week)