Why Lamar Jackson will win the Heisman:
Stats, stats and more stats. Jackson is averaging 282.5 passing yards per game and 128.2 rushing yards per game. He’s averaging 25.7 points responsible for per game. Compared to entire teams, Jackson averaged more passing yards than 104 teams, more rushing yards than 14 teams, and more points than 38 teams. Jackson’s total offense is better than 60 FBS teams. Remarkable. Jackson is responsible for 51 TD’s for the Louisville Cardinals who have the highest scoring offense in the country. He’s only the 6th player in FBS history with 20+ TD’s in rushing and passing in the same season.
On top of stats is the entertainment value Jackson brings each and every time he touches the ball. There are very few players in college football in recent years that possess the ability to take it to the house at any given moment. That has made Jackson the most intriguing player in all of college football every weekend.
What previous Heisman winner resembles Jackson:
Johnny Manziel threw for 3,706 yards and ran for 1,410 yards. He threw for 26 TD’s and ran for another 21 during his sensational freshman season in which he won over Heisman voters with his performance at #1 Alabama. Texas A&M was 10-2 when Manziel won the Heisman.
Jackson and Manziel are more similar than just the stats. Both provided that “wow” factor each and every week. Both used elusive escape-ability in the pocket to keep plays alive, both a gift and a curse depending on the outcome of the play. Outcomes of the play and outcomes of games don’t seem to faze these Heisman-type players either. Jackson has three losses, Manziel had two, neither were playing for a conference championship but both carried a presence that they could single-handedly beat any team in the country any given Saturday.
Why Jackson won’t win the Heisman:
They say Heisman’s are won in November. Louisville has lost in November…twice. Last Heisman winner to lose in November was Eric Crouch for Nebraska in 2001. Last Heisman winner to lose consecutively to conclude the season was Tim Brown for Notre Dame in 1987.
Jackson and Louisville only have one win against a team with a winning record – FSU (9-3). Statistically, Jackson has played pretty well in every game (with exception for the one Houston game), but he’s played amazing against poor teams. Charlotte, Marshall, Virginia, Syracuse, have a combined win/loss record of 13-35. Jackson feasted on these teams averaging 485.8 total yards and six TD’s per game. Against the other eight teams that have a combined 59-38 record, Jackson accumulated an average of 373 total YPG and 3.375 TD’s per game.
Jackson’s season is not a statistical anomaly. Jordan Lynch for Northern Illinois in 2013, Derek Carr for Fresno St. in 2013, Case Keenum for Houston in 2011, Colt Brennan for Hawaii in 2006, all had huge years statistically yet nobody was invited to NYC except for Lynch who finished 3rd. These guys had no chance because of the size of their conference. No chance. You can put up a ton of yards, win a ton of games, but if it’s against an “inferior” opponent week in, week out voters are going to turn the other cheek. In Jackson’s case he plays in the ACC, a P-5 conference. It is interesting that in similar stats where we praise Jackson, we ignore the fact that he’s not even the P-5 leader in TD’s and total yards. Patrick Mahomes for Texas Tech has 53 TD’s and 5,337 yards, but his team is 5-7.
The Heisman is Jackson’s to lose.