A funny thing can happen when one plays out the entirety of a whole college football season … clarity. Perspective might have gotten a little clearer for Heisman Trophy voters too on Saturday.
It is obvious, Florida quarterback Kyle Trask is not the most outstanding player in college football. That was proven Saturday night when a 3-5 LSU team, who had barely enough scholarship players left to field a team, used two Trask interceptions and a fumble to stun No. 6 Florida, 37-34, in the Swamp.
LSU turned two of those three Trask turnovers into 10 points, including one that was a pick-six, and the other stopped a potential score for the Gators. It was not a good night for Trask’s Heisman Trophy candidacy.
But one man’s bad night can open the door of opportunity for another. The door was opened a little bit for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Now the question is can Lawrence kick it in and once again become a serious Heisman Trophy candidate?
At the start of the year, Lawrence appeared to be in full control of the Heisman race, as he guided the Tigers to six dominating wins, while he showed he was the best player in college football. Then, like it has done everything else in 2020, COVID shut down the Clemson quarterback’s candidacy.
Lawrence tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 29 and missed the following two games, including a massive game on Nov. 7 against Notre Dame. The Tigers, then the top-ranked team in the country at the time, were upset by the Irish.
Then a bye week and Florida State postponing their Nov. 21 game three hours before kickoff did not help the situation either.
Out of sight, out of mind. Heisman voters forgot about Lawrence and his Heisman hopes pummeled. Lawrence eventually came back and threw for 403 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Pittsburgh, but his subpar performance at Virginia Tech the following week appeared to have ended any hope he had to get back in the race.
But Trask has opened the door.
None of the Heisman Trophy’s top contenders—Trask, Alabama’s Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith and Ohio State’s Justin Fields—have had a Heisman moment. They have all had good seasons, but no one, including Lawrence, has had a Heisman moment.
However, Lawrence will have the best shot. As ESPN and SEC Network personality Paul Finebaum pointed out on SportsCenter Sunday morning, Trask can still make up for what happened on Saturday night in Gainesville. But Lawrence might actually have the best opportunity to have a Heisman moment.
“Well, (Trask) is no longer the favorite. A week ago, we talked about that. And he was barely ahead of Mac Jones and now he is clearly behind,” Finebaum said. “And, of course, Mac Jones has to worry about DeVonte Smith on his own team.
“But Kyle Trask has an opportunity. As tough as last night was, he plays in the feature game of the year in the SEC next week. And should he just go crazy, which he is capable of and upset Alabama, it may not help the Gators get into the playoff, but it could vault him to the Heisman Trophy.
“One other person to keep your eye on next week is Trevor Lawrence. He did not play this weekend, but if he has a monster game against Notre Dame. He could also give Trask and Mac Jones a run.”
Think about it. What better Heisman moment does anyone else have? Lawrence missed the first game against Notre Dame because of COVID, but he pushed through and came back to light up the Irish and lead the Tigers back to the College Football Playoff for a sixth straight year.
What a great story that would be, right?
Also, let’s not forget all the off-field things Lawrence did in the off-season. Not only is he considered the top prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft, and arguably the best player in college football, but he became the face of college football as well. He spoke up and used his influence on high-profile political matters, such as helping people during the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter Movement and “The Want to Play” movement in college football.
Lawrence has an opportunity for a Heisman Moment in Saturday’s ACC Championship Game. Who, among all the Heisman Trophy contenders, would have a better story and potentially better moment?
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