Heisman Trophy Odds, Power Rankings for Week 1: Michael Penix Jr. & Quinn Ewers Pace the Field
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
Create a list of the best days of the year and then insert this Saturday up at the very top. College football is officially back, and the slate is loaded. There are very few things in the world better than Week 1 of the college football season.
My job is to make sure you're in a position to run to the ticket cashier on Dec. 9 with a wide smile on your face and some more coins heading to your pocket.
For anyone new to our Heisman Trophy Power Rankings, the goal of this season-long series is to find you the best possible values on a week-to-week basis.
Of course, it would be easy to toss the reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams in the No. 1 spot each week, but what is the fun in that? At the end of the day when the votes are being tallied, my goal is to put you in a position to be holding a ticket with the longest odds possible for the talented folks hoping to hear their name called by the Heisman committee.
So, without further ado, we are back.
Odds as of Tuesday, Aug. 29 and via BetMGM.
WR Marvin Harrison Jr.
Ohio State Buckeyes · +2500
As is tradition, we're kicking off Week 1's Heisman Power Rankings with a longshot.
But what better way to do that than with the best wide receiver in the country and a perceived top-five pick in next year's NFL Draft?
Marvin Harrison Jr. is coming off of a tremendous sophomore season filled with highlight-reel plays from start to finish. Harrison recorded 77 receptions for over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns in his second season as a Buckeye.
Fine numbers for anyone, yes. But to be in the middle of a Heisman race, those numbers will likely need to be met by the middle of November.
Luckily for Harrison and anyone planning to place a wager on him, I believe they will be. Ohio State will no longer have CJ Stroud tossing the rock around the field in 2023, but in a sense, it won’t matter.
The luxury of betting on a Buckeyes wide receiver is that there are always going to be other former five-star prospects on the field to negate the defense's ability to double-team or shade toward Harrison.
To be taken into serious consideration, Harrison would have to come close to the numbers put up by DeVonta Smith in 2020, meaning 140 yards per game receiving and close to two touchdowns a game.
It’s not easy, but if a non-quarterback were to hoist the Heisman, Harrison has the best chance.
QB Jayden Daniels
LSU Tigers · +1000
Beginning the season inside the top 10 certainly bodes well for potential Heisman candidates, and that's exactly where LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is coming in.
With the second-shortest odds on the board, Daniels is looking to build off of a season with 17 passing touchdowns to just three interceptions.
LSU’s schedule doesn't necessarily do it any favors, and it plays a role in why I have Daniels at No. 4. The Tigers will begin the season by playing Florida State in Orlando, travel to Oxford, Mississippi, travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and finish the season off with Texas A&M at home.
Compared to other Heisman contenders on the list, that’s a difficult schedule.
Daniels’ positioning on the initial Heisman power rankings likely would've been higher had his odds sat around +1500, but the value just doesn’t stand out to me as much at 10-1.
Regardless, the Bayou Bengals' quarterback is in for a strong season.
QB Caleb Williams
USC Trojans · +475
Rarely ever will you see a sub-+500 bet make the top three of a preseason Heisman betting power rankings, but here we are. Williams is the best quarterback in the country, and there's a reason he's the reigning winner of the coveted trophy.
Yes, we are getting Williams one week into his season, but the values have yet to change at any of the major sportsbooks. Williams and the Trojans took care of business, and while they didn’t cover, Heisman voters are not going to scoff at a 56-point debut against San Jose State like your degenerate buddy.
Voter fatigue is a real thing in Heisman races. There's a reason Archie Griffin is the only man to win the award twice, and it hasn't happened since.
Is replicating 42 touchdowns to five interceptions an easy task? No, not at all. But if Williams even comes close to those numbers from a year ago, he'll be in New York once again.
If there's a man to join that list with Griffin, it's the undisputed top quarterback in the country who I am unabashedly not afraid to compare to Patrick Mahomes.
QB Quinn Ewers
Texas Longhorns · +1200
Texas this, Texas that. Yes, we have heard the narrative around the Longhorns for over a decade. Will this year be different? Who knows. But I do know there aren't many teams in the country that can compete with Texas from an offensive weapon standpoint.
Folks tend to forget that quarterbacks historically take a big leap in efficiency and production from Year 1 to Year 2, and that's the expectation for Ewers in Austin.
The Longhorn wide receiver room is loaded. Xavier Worthy has 21 touchdowns in two seasons, fifth-year senior Jordan Whittington returns and AD Mitchell transfers in from Georgia. Isaiah Neyor, a 1,100-yard receiver two years removed from Wyoming, returns from injury as well, and five-star true freshman in Johntay Cook eagerly awaits as a rotational player.
And how could I forget a tight end coming off of the best statistical season in school history in Ja'Tavion Sanders?
The cupboard is loaded for Ewers.
A win at Alabama in Week 2 would move these odds below +1000 for the remainder of the season.
QB Michael Penix Jr.
Washington Huskies · +1400
Consider me a big fan of the odds on Michael Penix Jr. 14-1 for the Heisman Trophy.
Penix is coming off of a season in which he finished second in the country in passing yards with 4,641. He had a 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, as well, and his team finished inside the top 10.
Washington will get the benefit of playing both Utah and Oregon at home this season. While a matchup with Caleb Williams and USC is set at the Coliseum, there's plenty of reason to believe the Huskies will be playing at Allegiant Stadium on Dec. 1 for the final Pac-12 Championship as we know it.
Washington has a top-three wide receivers corps in the country, led by Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan. The statistics will be there once again for Penix, who finds himself in one of the best systems for quarterbacks in the country.
If Washington can play for a Pac-12 title, Penix will be headed to New York. At 14-1 odds, this is my favorite Heisman bet heading into Week 1.