Washington State quarterback Luke Falk is a longshot to win the Heisman trophy, but he’s still in the race as long as he keeps leading the Cougars to victory. After defeating USC and Heisman hopeful Sam Darnold, Falk has surpassed his Pac-12 rival in the Heisman race. He’s not a front runner by any means, but he can win if he continues playing at an elite level. Here are five factors that could help Falk win the first Heisman trophy in Washington State Cougars history.
Luke Falk Heisman Odds
1. Cougars win the Pac-12
The Heisman trophy is given to the best player in college football each season, but that player must be helping his team win games. Not every Heisman winner is on a conference championship team, but Falk would need to be in order to surpass other Heisman hopefuls. If the Cougars finish the season undefeated, then he’ll be a front runner for the Heisman. Although this is extremely unlikely, it’s not impossible.
A more manageable goal for the Cougars would be to win the Pac-12 championship. They’d have to beat the Washington Huskies in order to go to the Pac-12 championship game, which was the case during last year’s Apple Cup. This Cougars team isn’t afraid of their in-state rival. Falk cares more about team accomplishments than individual accomplishments. Winning the Pac-12 title could help him accomplish both his individual and team goals.
2. Falk stays healthy
Falk’s injury history could rear its ugly head again and cost him an opportunity to win the Heisman trophy. Falk is notorious for standing in the pocket until a receiver comes open, which sometimes leaves him susceptible to taking big hits. He’s suffered a few head injuries in the past, including one this year that kept him out of the remainder of the Boise State game. If Falk suffers another head injury, not only could his Heisman chances be in jeopardy, but his collegiate career could be in jeopardy. Football is a violent game, so there’s always a chance of suffering an injury during every play. If Falk can avoid getting hurt, he’ll have a chance of keeping himself in the Heisman race.
3. Offense continues to dominate
The Cougars offense is dominating again this year. Mike Leach’s offenses are notorious for putting up eye-popping numbers. Falk has led the Cougars to bowl games in each of the last two seasons, so this year’s successes shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. But the last two Cougars teams lost their opening game of the season to FCS opponents. Even though they bounced back to dominate in Pac-12 play, Falk’s Heisman bids ended after one game because of these embarrassing losses.
Now that the Cougars have gotten over the FCS hump and are winning games behind their high-powered offense, Falk is getting national praise for his ability to lead this offense. He has been the biggest reason why the Cougars have reached unprecedented levels of success in recent years. He’s even taken his game to new heights this season. If the offense continues at this pace for the remainder of the season, Falk will be right in the thick of the Heisman race.
4. Other candidates falter
If Falk continues on this path, he probably won’t win the Heisman trophy unless other candidates falter. Saquon Barkley looks poised to win the Heisman trophy this season. Penn State’s do-it-all running back is an elite runner, receiver, returner, and overall athlete. His play on the field is matched by his insane workout numbers. Although these workout numbers are irrelevant in the Heisman race, they do prove that he has an elite work ethic.
Barkley is determined to be the best at his craft, which is why he’s been so dominant this season. Stanford running back Bryce Love has put up numbers that would make Christian McCaffrey jealous. He’s already topped 1000 yards in five games, and would be the Heisman front runner if it weren’t for Barkley. Love isn’t on a team competing for a playoff berth like Barkley and Falk, so there’s a chance that his team could let him down if they continue losing games. In order for Falk to win the Heisman, he would need both Barkley and Love to struggle down the stretch.
5. Falk breaks Pac-12 records
If Falk continues playing at a high level for the remainder of the season, he’ll own numerous Pac-12 records. The Washington State quarterback already owns every major Cougars passing record. Now he has his sights set on Pac-12 records. Falk recently broke Sean Mannion’s Pac-12 record for career completions, and is nearing the records for passing yards and passing touchdowns. Falk is tied for second in passing touchdowns with Marcus Mariota, just eleven behind Matt Barkley. He’s only 994 yards behind Mannion for the passing yards record, which he’ll likely pass in two or three games. If Falk has his name all over the Pac-12 record books, then he’ll gain national attention. That could vault him into consideration for the Heisman trophy. It’s a longshot, but Falk’s season thus far has put him in contention for college football’s greatest award.