Heisman Trophy odds, watch, and favorites heading into Week 3: Caleb Williams soars after surgically sawing down Stanford

C.J. Stroud returned to being the Heisman Trophy favorite while Caleb Williams had his odds slashed as the world watched him shine against Stanford.

After another sensational weekend of upsets, action, and unbelievable plays in college football, which Heisman Trophy contenders should you watch out for in Week 3, what are the latest Heisman odds, and how have the favorites been impacted by the wild rollercoaster that was Week 2 of the college football season?

Heisman Trophy odds heading into Week 3 of college football

Caleb Williams has officially entered the Heisman Trophy watch. Not that the USC QB wasn’t in consideration before — in fact, he’s loitered amongst the favorites from the get-go — but his appearance there previously was a product of projection than of performance.

There’s been excitement building in Southern California since Lincoln Riley arrived and enticed his former Oklahoma QB to join him. That fever pitch of expectation was finally realized on Saturday with a showing that saw Williams’ Heisman Trophy odds slashed.

Williams came out firing in the Trojans’ All-Pac 12 prime-time clash with Stanford. The USC quarterback completed 13 of his 15 pass attempts, meticulously and surgically carving up the Stanford defense. By the time the sun had set in the sky over Stanford Stadium, Williams had racked up 341 yards and four touchdowns, completing 20 of 27 pass attempts, with a 75-yard long bomb that was part precision and part Jordan Addison‘s after-the-catch ability.

Although he completed 86.4% of his passes while throwing for 249 yards and adding 68 more on the ground in the USC season opener, a Stanford defense that featured highly rated NFL draft prospect Kyu Blu Kelly was a better litmus test for the second-year passer. Williams passed it with flying colors, not only putting up impressive numbers but routinely displaying his ability to maximize the potential of this all-star Trojans offense.

Whisper it quietly — and there are more substantial tests on the horizon — but USC actually might be capable of living up to the hype this CFB season. Their defense has been forcing turnovers for fun, the offensive line has been solid, and the Trojans’ offensive weapons are multiple. Successful teams breed Heisman Trophy candidates and Williams has asserted himself as one to watch the rest of the way.

DraftKings Sportsbook slashed his Heisman Trophy odds to +320, making him the second favorite in the process.

Alabama and Texas suffer mixed Heisman Trophy fortunes in tense thriller

As we alluded to in last week’s Heisman Trophy watch, Alabama’s trip to Austin to take on the Texas Longhorns featured half of DraftKings Sportsbook’s top-10 favorites. Written off as a Crimson Tide walkover prior to the game, it turned into a tense affair that was won at the death by a Will Reichard field goal. Alabama crept away with a 20-19 victory that keeps them on track for a top-four finish, even if they lost their No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll.

The game had a significant impact on the Heisman Trophy odds. Thankfully, Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers is set to return later in the season from a clavicle injury suffered after landing awkwardly following a ferocious hit by Dallas Turner. Ewers could even be under center for the Red River Rivalry game with Oklahoma. However, his chances of winning college football’s greatest individual accolade disappeared into the Memorial Stadium turf. DraftKings offered odds of +3500 on Ewers lifting the Heisman Trophy prior to the game.

Despite leading Alabama to the win, quarterback Bryce Young saw his Heisman Trophy odds lengthen to +340 in the aftermath of the game. The potential 2023 NFL Draft QB1 completed 27 of his 39 passes for one touchdown while averaging just 5.5 yards per pass attempt.

Young slipped back in his seesaw battle with C.J. Stroud on a weekend where the Ohio State QB threw four touchdowns and 351 yards, albeit against a different caliber of defense. With odds of +260, Stroud reclaimed his spot as the Heisman Trophy favorite.

The most befuddling aspect of this bruising encounter is what has become of Bijan Robinson‘s Heisman Trophy odds. Without doubt as the standout RB in all of college football, the Texas talent has slipped behind Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs as the leading RB contender. Robinson doesn’t even figure in DraftKings Sportsbook’s top 10 favorites, offering odds of +4000 on the dominant RB.

While Robinson labored to 57 yards and a touchdown on the ground, he showcased the full range of his talents with 73 receiving yards, including a catch on the sideline that the top wide receivers would be proud of. He tallied 130 all-purpose yards compared to Gibbs’ 96 yards and a receiving touchdown.

Do Heisman Trophy voters even watch football? It’s further evidence of consideration being predicated on success and the helmet you wear.

Can punters be Heisman Trophy prospects too?

I’ve been writing this column for over a year now, looking at the Heisman Trophy odds, dissecting the favorites, and forecasting the players to watch. Not a week goes by where we don’t talk about the rarity of a defensive winner of college football’s greatest individual accolade despite the fact that in multiple seasons, the very best player has indeed been a defensive player. It’s irksome, it’s tiring, and it’s sadly inevitable. Look at the odds on Will Anderson Jr. for example, who is behind Stetson Bennett IV with odds of +2200.

What we don’t discuss — amazingly, given my propensity for special-teams prospects — is the legitimacy of a punter or kicker being on the Heisman Trophy watch. That’s probably because large swathes of football fans — and analysts for that matter — would happily remove the foot-based element of the game from the sport entirely. Yet, while it exists, those players that win games with field goals or repeatedly flip field position with coffin-corner punts should be given more recognition than just the Ray Guy or Lou Groza Award.

You can’t convince me that Tory Taylor isn’t the best player on the Iowa Hawkeyes right now. The 6’4″, 231-pound Melbourne native is punting at a phenomenal level. He’s having to because the Iowa offense is an absolute dumpster fire. Through two games, Taylor has averaged 48.9 yards per punt with a long of 57 yards. In Iowa’s Week 2 defeat to Iowa State, he accounted for over 300 punt yards while the Hawkeyes’ offense limped past 150 total offensive yards.

The most impressive element of Taylor’s game, however, is the ludicrous consistency with which he puts the Iowa defense in exceptional field position. Of his punts, 56.3% of them have been inside the 20-yard line this season. He repeatedly drops the ball within sniffing distance of the goal line. The Hawkeyes rank sixth in the nation in scoring defense, and that comes down to Taylor. If the awesome Australian was a DE securing that defensive effort with sacks and tackles for loss, he’d certainly be on the Heisman Trophy watch.

What to watch for in Week 3 of the college football season

After helping Tennessee to an overtime win against Pittsburgh, Hendon Hooker entered the DraftKings Sportsbook Heisman Trophy top 10 with odds of +4000. The 6’4″, 218-pound QB had a breakout year for the Vols last fall, and he’s begun this year in an equally impressive fashion. Hooker threw for 325 yards and two scores on Saturday and should be an entertaining watch as Tennessee faces an Akron team that gave up 52 points to Michigan State in Week 2.

J.J. McCarthy is the future of Michigan football. Despite a “biblical” decision to rotate his quarterbacks, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh announced that McCarthy would be the starter the rest of the way after going 11 of 12 for 229 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday’s late-night win over Hawaii. The sophomore QB saw a significant boost in his Heisman Trophy odds this week and is a must-watch against a UConn team that gave up 48 points, 287 passing yards, and three touchdowns to Syracuse QB Garrett Shrader.

Minnesota Golden Gophers running back Mohamed Ibrahim faces off against Colorado with the opportunity to strengthen his status as one of the best running backs in college football. After suffering a season-ending injury last fall, Ibrahim has rushed for 262 yards and four touchdowns through two games. He now faces a Colorado rushing defense that is rock bottom in the rankings, having allowed an average of 355 yards a game. Ibrahim is a +10000 Heisman Trophy long shot, but he’s worth a watch this weekend.

Could Jaren Hall become the first BYU Heisman Trophy winner since Ty Detmer in 1990? The 6’1″, 205-pound dual-threat quarterback has gotten off to an electric start this season, showcasing his skill set and leadership ability in a 26-20 overtime win over No. 9 Baylor last weekend. He’s definitely one to watch in Week 3, as the Heisman Trophy hopeful leads the Cougars to No. 25 Oregon in one of the top games of the week. If Hall helps BYU sink the Ducks in Eugene, his current +9000 Heisman Trophy odds are sure to shorten.

Current Heisman Trophy odds

  • C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State +260
  • Caleb Williams, QB, USC +320
  • Bryce Young, QB, Alabama +340
  • Stetson Bennett IV, QB, Georgia +1400
  • Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama +2200
  • Dillon Gabriel, QB, Oklahoma +2800
  • J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan +3000
  • Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama +3500
  • Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida +3500
  • Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee +4000

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