By Brad Carroll
Some are saying this is going to be a tight race for the Heisman trophy, college football's biggest prize, and maybe it would have been if LSU running back Leonard Fournette, Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman or Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds were part of the finalists. But with just Alabama running back Derrick Henry, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson as the final three, the choice is easy. Henry will win the Heisman trophy in a blowout.
McCaffrey is a nice player, and could get some support out West, but is otherwise underwhelming, even if he's had a record-breaking season. Watson has absolutely no chance, and it's a shock he would be considered better than Fournette, Coleman or Reynolds.
So, by process of elimination, it's Henry.
Henry has already racked up the Doak Walker, best running back, and Maxwell, best overall player, awards, making this a foregone conclusion. Make no mistake, however, Henry is more than deserving, as he's rushed for at least 143 yards in his last six "real" games, not counting the Charleston Southern mismatch. He had four 200-yard games and another for 189 over that span. Henry is just 14 yards shy of 2,000 for the season, with 23 touchdowns.
His "Heisman moment" came in a matchup against then-Heisman favorite Fournette, when Alabama beat LSU by two touchdowns. Fournette was completely shut down, while Henry had 210 yards and three touchdowns, which shifted momentum to the Alabama back, who then didn't let it go for the rest of the season. He'll ride that all the way to winning the Heisman trophy.
McCaffrey set the single-season record for all-purpose yards, with 3,496, and has 15 total touchdowns. Watson has thrown for over 3,500 yards with 30 touchdowns, 41 total, but did throw 11 interceptions. Watson won the Davey O'Brien award as the nation's best quarterback.
I'd vote Coleman ahead of Watson if he was a finalist, and could go as high as No. 2 for the Baylor wide receiver. There easily could have been five or six finalists, but the three finalists made this a foregone conclusion. Below is my final three Heisman trophy ballot, along with our three other college football experts. We also have the annual Navy vs. Army rivalry game breakdown and picks against the spread below as well.
Make sure to check back as we will preview, analyze and pick against the spread every bowl game of the season. Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date.
Brad's Heisman Trophy Ballot
1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (-700)
2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (+350)
3. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (+2000)
Craig's Heisman Trophy Ballot
Glenn's Heisman Trophy Ballot
1. Keenan Reynolds, QB, Navy
Matt's Heisman Trophy Ballot
Army vs. No. 21 Navy, Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., CBS
The Spread: Army +23; Navy -23
Analysis: For the first time in a long time, the Army-Navy rivalry game is over before it will start. It would be a shock if the Black Knights could compete on the field with the Midshipmen, who have lost just twice this season, are nationally ranked, and have one of the most explosive quarterbacks in the nation under center, in Keenan Reynolds. The quarterback has over 2,000 yards rushing and passing combined with 25 total touchdowns. He should have been a Heisman trophy finalist. Navy averages 37.5 points per game and allows 21.7 on defense. Army scores just 22.5 points per game and allows over 28 per game on defense, making this a complete mismatch. There will be the rivalry effect for sure, as Army will play better than they have all season long in this game. But in the end, Navy has too much on offense and defense and will roll to a big victory in Philadelphia.
Brad's Score: Navy 41, Army 10
Craig's Score: Navy 38, Army 10
Glenn's Score: Navy 45, Army 13
Matt's Score: Navy 35, Army 17