Caleb Williams vs C.J. Stroud: Heisman Trophy scenarios and plot points with Buckeyes Wire

USC and Ohio State are both central parts of this particular week in the college football world — mostly because of the College Football Playoff, substantially because they are both involved in big, classic rivalry games which will get national attention, but also because their players are the last two men standing in the 2022 Heisman Trophy race.

Hendon Hooker might have a slight outside shot, but realistically, it’s down to two men: USC’s Caleb Williams and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Caleb plays Notre Dame this week and Stroud plays Michigan. We will likely have a much clearer idea of who will win the Heisman after this upcoming weekend.

Phil Harrison, the editor of Buckeyes Wire, is covering the Ohio State-Michigan game. He is also following C.J. Stroud’s Heisman campaign.

Phil joined us to discuss the current state of play in the Heisman race and assess some possible scenarios in the coming weeks:

How much of a favorite is C.J. Stroud to win the Heisman right now?

Trojans Wire: 75%

Phil Harrison of Buckeyes Wire: 60%

Is Caleb Williams the clear No. 2 in the race?

Trojans Wire: Yes

Phil Harrison: Yes, absolutely — and closing

Can Hendon Hooker still win the award?

Trojans Wire: Yes (Caleb and Stroud both play poorly this week)

Phil Harrison: No because he’s out of big stage games to make an impression.

Can Drake Maye still win the award?

Trojans Wire: No.

Phil Harrison: No. Last week killed his chances.

Can Bo Nix still win the award?

Trojans Wire: No.

Phil Harrison: Yes. If Oregon gets into the Pac-12 Championship Game and goes off.

How many Heisman finalists will there be?

Trojans Wire: 3

Phil Harrison: Sure feels like 3.

Who will be the Heisman finalists?

Trojans Wire: Stroud, Williams, Hooker

Phil Harrison: agreed — Stroud, Caleb Williams, Hendon Hooker

What is C.J. Stroud's best argument?

Trojans Wire: This Saturday

Phil Harrison: He leads the country in passing efficiency and is going to have some big stages coming up. Do well and he can lock it up.

Caleb Williams' best argument?

Trojans Wire: UCLA, Utah games

Phil Harrison: Did you see the UCLA game? Plus, he’s going to have more spotlight opportunities for the rest of the country to get on board.

Hendon Hooker's best argument?

Trojans Wire: Alabama, LSU games

Phil Harrison: He’s a true dual threat that has put up crazy numbers. He looked great against Alabama when everyone was watching.

If Stroud plays moderately well vs Michigan and Caleb Williams is great vs Notre Dame, does it change the outcome?

Trojans Wire: Yes

Phil Harrison: Yes, but it’s also about the conference championship games.

If Stroud+Caleb play equally well this week, does that lock it up for Stroud, or would conference title games create a plot twist?

Trojans Wire: Locks it up

Phil Harrison: I believe this year is wide open enough that Caleb can still reel Stroud in with a great conference championship game, unless Stroud does the same.

Does Caleb Williams absolutely need Stroud to struggle against Michigan to win the Heisman?

Trojans Wire: Yes

Phil Harrison: I don’t think so. I think last week closed the gap. If Caleb has a great end to the season here in those big games when everyone is watching, he can still win it.

Does Stroud need Caleb to be less than his best vs Notre Dame and/or USC's Pac-12 title game opponent to feel safe?

Trojans Wire: No

Phil Harrison: I think so, yes.

If Ohio State beats Michigan, it makes the Big Ten title game. Does it matter for Stroud whether it's Iowa or Purdue?

Trojans Wire: No

Phil Harrison: No, it’s more about what Stroud does.

Should it matter to Caleb whether he plays Oregon, Utah or Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game?

Trojans Wire: No

Phil Harrison: I don’t think so. It’s now about putting putting up stats and doing it when everyone is watching.

If Ohio State loses to Michigan and USC loses to Notre Dame, what then?

Trojans Wire: Hooker has a chance

Phil Harrison: Bo Nix? Hendon Hooker? It gets interesting.

Better Heisman season: 2002 Carson Palmer or 2006 Troy Smith?

Trojans Wire: 2006 Troy Smith

Phil Harrison: 2002 Caron Palmer because of the way both finished.

Better Heisman season: 2005 Reggie Bush or 2006 Troy Smith?

Trojans Wire: 2005 Reggie Bush

Phil Harrison: 2005 Reggie Bush. He did things with the football in his hands I haven’t seen before or since.

Who wins Ohio State-Michigan?

Trojans Wire: Ohio State

Phil Harrison: I want to say Ohio State, but I’m quite nervous about how the game will unfold.

Who wins Notre Dame-USC?

Trojans Wire: USC

Phil Harrison: USC

Who wins the 2022 Heisman?

Trojans Wire: Stroud

Phil Harrison: Stroud

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire