The 2023 Heisman race is tightening at the top and those top three contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pack. Just like last week, three superstar quarterbacks top our Heisman Rankings in Week Eleven. Three of our top five vote-getters are still on undefeated teams, with one more leading possibly the hottest team in the nation.
2023 LWOCFB Heisman Rankings Week Eleven
This year’s Heisman race is shaping up for an exciting finish. Our top two candidates are on a collision course for a rematch in the Pac-12 Championship Game two days before Heisman ballots are due. Could Heisman votes hold their ballots until the last minute this year? We’ll see.
Here are the top five Heisman Rankings for Week Nine from our panel of 15 voters.
1. Michael Penix, Jr., Washington (64) [Previous: 1 (74)]
Michael Penix, Jr. maintains his lead in our poll and among national pundits this week after another stellar performance against the stout Utah defense. Penix was 24-for-42 for 332 yards and two touchdowns. He did so against a Utah defense that allows just 214.2 passing yards per game and had only given up seven passing touchdowns before the Washington game. The Huskies scored 35 against the Utes, who average yielding under 18 points per game. Penix still leads the nation in passing yards and is fourth in touchdowns.
Penix’s primetime opportunities will continue. The Huskies get upstart and 11th-ranked Oregon State this weekend, followed by a historic Apple Cup game, and then likely a rematch with Bo Nix and Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game. His path to the game’s top honor is clear.
2. Bo Nix, Oregon (53) [Previous: 2 (58)]
Oregon’s Bo Nix outdueled reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams in the Ducks’ 36-27 win on Saturday. Nix continues his blistering late-season surge, going 23-for-31 for 412 yards and four touchdowns against an admittedly porous defense. He also leads the nation in completion percentage at 77.7%, is second in passing touchdowns with 29, and is third in the nation in passer rating (184.66).
Nix plays on arguably the most complete team of any of our top five vote-getters. Suppose Oregon can finish out their campaign against Arizona State this weekend and eleventh-ranked Oregon State in two weekends. In that case, they’ll likely get another shot at Washington and Heisman favorite Michael Penix, Jr. in the Pac-12 Championship Game. That game is lining up to be the game of the year. It could have the final Pac-12 Championship, a College Football Playoff spot, and the Heisman Trophy all on the line in one game.
3. Jayden Daniels, LSU (50) [Previous: (5) (21)]
LSU’s Jayden Daniels had one of the single best games in college football history against a slumping Florida team on Saturday. Daniels accounted for 606 total yards — 372 passing and 234 rushing — and five total touchdowns. Daniels’ 372 passing yards came on only 17 completions and his 234 rushing yards on only 12 rushes. Simply put, the Gators defense had no answer for Daniels.
It might be a little late for Daniels. He gets Georgia State this weekend — it’ll be hard to leap Nix or Penix no matter what he does against the Panthers. The Tigers then get a Jimbo-less Texas A&M the last week of the season. And the worst part for Daniels will be sitting at home watching Penix and Nix shoot it out in the Pac-12 championship game.
4. Marvin Harrison, Jr., Ohio State (29) [Previous: 5 (31)]
Marvin Harrison, Jr. had seven receptions for 149 yards in Ohio State’s win over Michigan State on Saturday. Harrison was only 43 yards short of equaling Michigan State’s entire offensive output (192 yards). He continues to be the shining star on the second-ranked Buckeyes team. Harrison is second in the nation in receiving touchdowns (12) and seventh in the nation in total receiving yards (1063).
Harrison is a distant fourth behind the three favorites. Ohio State has a game against Minnesota before their annual finale against Michigan in Ann Arbor. A big performance against the Wolverines might be enough to get Harrison to New York, but his chances to hoist the Heisman are looking pretty slim right now.
5. Jordan Travis, FSU (35) [Previous: 4 (33)]
Florida State’s Jordan Travis led the Seminoles to another victory on Saturday, although it was another lackluster performance from a Top Four team. Travis was 19-for-31 with 265 yards and one touchdown against a Hurricanes team that hasn’t looked good since early in the season. Travis isn’t in the top ten nationally in any significant passing category. He’s leveraging a big game against LSU and his leadership of an undefeated team to stay in the Heisman conversation.
The Seminoles get FCS North Alabama this weekend and then Florida in the season finale. His numbers against Florida will be compared to Daniels’, and that’s going to be a losing battle. He will get one more chance to impress voters against Louisville in the ACC Championship Game, but he’ll be up against Penix and Nix and that’s going to be a losing battle as well. Travis’ chances at New York and the Heisman are fading fast.
Others Receiving Heisman Rankings Week Eleven Votes:
J.J. McCarthy, Michigan (3), Drake Maye, North Carolina (3), Jalen Milroe, Alabama (3), Carson Beck, Georgia (2), Blake Corum, Michigan (1), Brock Bowers, Georgia (1), Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma (1).