It was a strange year for college football’s most popular player award. It can be argued that going into mid-November, there wasn’t a real Heisman Trophy favorite.

It had been a few weeks since Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III had run for five touchdowns against Michigan. It was a couple of weeks before Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for six touchdowns in one half. But neither of those guys, nor their teams, could sustain their excellence.

That narrowed the field for the award, which doesn’t necessarily go to the best player but usually whoever wins sort of a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice popularity contest. The Heisman is best defined these days as the award that goes to a skill player from a Power Five team that wins 10+ games who does something dramatic in November.

That leaves room on this ballot for only three players. The quarterback legacy at Alabama has been dizzying with the single-season passing record has been set five times since 2012. Bryce Young is about to do that again. Ah, but in these NIL days, you are who you can be. Before starting his first game, Young was already guaranteed $1 million in NIL earnings.

Quarterback Kenny Pickett charismatically led Pittsburgh to only its fourth conference title in history. Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson was the ultimate legacy. His dad was an All-American for the Wolverines playing the same position.

None of their teams would be in their current position without them. Alabama is favored to win its seventh national championship under coach Nick Saban. Pittsburgh ended Clemson’s streak of six straight ACC titles. Hutchinson is the cornerstone of Michigan’s first Big Ten title since 2004.

The Heisman Trust terminates voters who have the audacity to reveal…

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