Heisman Trophy Odds and Favorites: Don’t Sleep on USC QB Caleb Williams as a Genuine Contender

Don't sleep on USC QB Caleb Williams as a genuine contender after his UCLA heroics made him the second favorite in the Heisman Trophy odds.

The countdown is on to the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Dec. 10, and the race to be named the most outstanding player in college football is as wide open as it has ever been. What are the latest Heisman Trophy odds, who are the favorites, and what should you watch out for in Week 13?

Heisman Trophy Odds Heading Into Week 13 of College Football

It’s become a long-standing joke that Heisman Trophy voters don’t watch the Pac-12. Christian McCaffrey famously fell short of college football’s highest individual accolade in successive seasons. We haven’t seen a west coast winner since 2014.

Before Marcus Mariota’s triumph, no player from the Pac-12 had lifted the trophy since Reggie Bush in 2005.

It’s time to stop sleeping — figuratively and literally — on players from the Pac-12. Hopefully, Heisman Trophy voters were plugged into a coffee IV to see events unfold in Pasadena during a college football Week 12 clash that may serve as USC QB Caleb Williams’ “Heisman moment.”

The truth of the matter is that Williams has been nestled in amongst the Heisman Trophy odds favorites all season long. The USC QB sits near the top of the nation in almost all statistical categories, most noticeably sitting just two passing touchdowns behind the national lead.

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It’s been a quiet, slow-building, Heisman campaign where brilliance has been hidden by late-night kickoffs, a lack of wins over ranked teams, a defeat to Utah, and a feeling of inevitability that disaster lurks behind every corner of the Pac-12 conference as it pertains to reaching the promised land that is the College Football Playoff.

Yet, in a game that would normally spring an upset and put paid to Pac-12 playoff representation, Williams astonishingly was at his best. Despite falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, the USC QB strapped his team on his back and led them to a place in the Pac-12 title game with a 48-45 win over their biggest rival.

It’s easy to focus on the QB and say he “led” his team to victory. But, that’s exactly what Williams did on Saturday night. The dynamic dual-threat tallied 503 total yards of offense, with three touchdowns that included a rushing score that demonstrates how dangerous he is and how difficult it is to stop him.

“We played against as good a quarterback as I’ve faced in my college career, watching what Caleb did tonight,” UCLA head coach Chip Kelly told the media in the immediate aftermath of defeat. High praise joined statistical output as a marker of Williams’ candidacy for the Heisman Trophy.

What has come to define a player’s portfolio is something more than praise, points, percentages, or per-game output. It’s something mythical, inexplicable. There isn’t a metric or statistic that can measure it. Yet, for anyone in Pasadena or watching from the comfort of their own home, Williams may just have had his “Heisman moment” as the odds race for the trophy heats up.

Facing a 3rd-and-7 situation inside their own half on the opening drive of the game, Williams shook off a tackle before rolling out to his left. Keeping his eyes downfield while still on the move, the USC QB unfurled a venomous strike with ludicrous velocity through a tight window to receiver Kyle Ford.

It was only for a first down.

Yet, somehow, it was as dazzlingly brilliant as any touchdown run or pass you’ll see this season. Williams sent social media into a swirling meltdown of praise. If he beats Notre Dame and wins the conference for USC, Williams might send the Pac-12 into a place it hasn’t been since the 2016 season.

That’s the mark of a truly outstanding player. With odds of +120 from DraftKings Sportsbook, Williams is now the clear second favorite to lift the Heisman Trophy behind Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud (-120).

Michigan running back Blake Corum, injured in his team’s win over Illinois, is a distant third with odds of +1500.

What To Watch for in Week 13 of College Football

It’s Rivalry Week in college football, also known as the best week in all of sports. In addition to fierce matchups filled with genuine hatred — we’re looking at you, Egg Bowl — there are several “must watch” games that will have a significant impact on the Heisman Trophy odds and, ultimately, the winner of the prize for the most outstanding player in college football.

The Game” certainly meets the criteria of a hate-filled rivalry game. When your fans and players refuse to refer to your opponent as anything other than “that team up north,” you know that there’s a special kind of loathing involved.

However, it’s also the ultimate and potentially final test of Heisman Trophy credentials for odds-favorite Stroud. Coming off the back of a subpar game against Maryland, guiding the Buckeyes to a revenge win over Michigan should help secure his place in New York. Meanwhile, Corum — if healthy — should be considered a genuine Heisman frontrunner.

MORE: Caleb Williams, Bennett Williams Highlight Week 12 Players of the Week

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels already knows he has two games left to impress Heisman Trophy voters, with LSU already securely in the SEC Championship Game. With odds of +4000 from DraftKings Sportsbook, the former Arizona State dual-threat QB is a longshot, but he’ll have the opportunity to pad his statistical résumé against a poor Texas A&M team.

The Oregon vs. Oregon State rivalry game that shall no longer be named will see Bo Nix try and secure his place in New York. Having thrown just his sixth interception in the tight win over Utah last week, a bounce-back performance that secures the Ducks’ place in the Pac-12 title game should see his Heisman Trophy odds come back down from +6000.

A Black Friday football bonanza sees North Carolina taking on NC State in a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff, where Drake Maye (+10000) can strike first in the Heisman Trophy odds race with an impressive performance. Meanwhile, the Iron Bowl is the last chance for reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young (+10000) to salvage something from a lost season for Alabama.

Current Heisman Trophy Odds

  • C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State -120
  • Caleb Williams, QB, USC +120
  • Blake Corum, RB, Michigan +1500
  • Max Duggan, QB, TCU +4000
  • Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU +4000
  • Bo Nix, QB, Oregon +6000
  • Stetson Bennett, QB, Georgia +8000
  • Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina +10000
  • Bryce Young, QB, Alabama +10000
  • Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State +20000
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