The Heisman Race, Week 8: Hendon Hooker’s breakout puts heat on favorite CJ Stroud

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Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) throws to a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Each week, we’ll track the race for this year’s Heisman Trophy, awarded to the best player in college football, along with each contender’s odds and a look at who they face this week.

(Odds from Caesars Sportsbook)

Week 8

C.J. STROUD

Ohio State • QB • So.

HIS CASE: Stroud’s Buckeyes had the week off last Saturday, but he remains the heavy favorite based on his consistent explosive performances and Ohio State’s prowess. His Heisman odds dropped during the open date from -140 to +110 because of Hendon Hooker’s breakout performance, but Stroud is averaging 289.5 yards and four touchdowns passing per game. Now he’ll face Iowa, a stubborn defense but also a 30-point underdog in Columbus.

ODDS: +110

THIS WEEK: Saturday vs. Iowa (Noon ET, FOX)

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HENDON HOOKER

Tennessee • QB • Sr.

HIS CASE: We said last week that a big performance would allow Hooker to put the heat on Stroud. How about 21 of 30 for 385 yards and five touchdowns passing, plus 56 yards rushing? The biggest factor, of course, was the Volunteers’ win, which has them ranked No. 3 and puts Hooker squarely in the national spotlight. After a layup against UT-Martin, games vs. Kentucky and at Georgia are next.

ODDS: +400

THIS WEEK: Saturday vs. UT-Martin (Noon ET, SEC Network)

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CALEB WILLIAMS

USC • QB • So.

HIS CASE: USC’s first loss came by one point in a shootout at Utah, and Williams (342 yards passing, five touchdowns, 57 yards rushing) can hardly be blamed. But considering he was already behind Stroud and now has Hooker making headline, it’s going to be an uphill climb. The longer the Trojans can stay in the national title race, the better his chances are, and that looks likely — a Nov. 19 crosstown trip to UCLA is by far the biggest challenge.

ODDS: +850

THIS WEEK: Open date

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ON THE RADAR: Blake Corum, Michigan RB (+1000); Bryce Young, Alabama QB (+2000); Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA QB (+2000); D.J. Uiagalelei, Clemson QB (+2200); Adrian Martinez, Kansas State QB (+2500); Jahmyr Gibbs, Alabama RB (+2500).

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