California Is Breeding The Best College Quarterbacks| Bryce Young & CJ Stroud Are Slugging It Out For The Heisman

Photo: Twitter/Buckeyes

The Heisman Trophy race continues to be an intriguing one. The candidates have been shifting positions from week to week, with no definitive runaway leader. For weeks now, it’s been Alabama’s sophomore signal-caller Bryce Young at the forefront.

He’s been followed by Kenneth Walker III (Michigan State), and to a lesser extent, Matt Corral (Ole Miss) and Caleb Williams (Oklahoma).

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You can scratch Walker, Corral and Williams off the list of hopeful winners after Saturday’s performances. CJ Stroud (Ohio State) has elevated to Young’s main competition for the award.

There are a few worthy defensive players, but since the voters rarely respect that side of the ball, don’t expect one to win it or let alone be invited to New York as a finalist. Based on how Alabama defensive end Will Anderson Jr. has played (14 sacks and 24 tackles for loss), he should definitely be getting more attention.

Or how about massive defensive lineman Jordan Davis, whose 6’8, 350-pound frame anchors a dominant Georgia Bulldogs defense? He’s an immovable force that makes teams become one-dimensional, as they can’t run on the Bulldogs with him clogging the middle.

Race Is Down To Two QBs: Young And Stroud Post Career Days On Saturday

Bryce Young was 31 of 40 passing and clearly on his game in a tough hard-fought 42-35 win over an improved Arkansas team. The sophomore sensation passed for an Alabama record 559 yards and five touchdowns. It was his signature performance and basically locked down the Heisman race.

It takes two to tango, so Young needs some competition for the Trophy announcement to have an element of mystery to it.

Ohio State’s CJ Stroud went 29 of 31 for 432 yards and six touchdowns. All of his TD tosses came in a dominating first half against former Heisman candidate Michigan State and Walker III.

It was an embarrassing game for Spartans HC Mel Tucker. His first after signing an historic $95M contract.

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Young and Stroud’s stats are just about even. Alabama is the most well-balanced team in the country and Young is the centerpiece of that success. Stroud leads the best offense in the country. Ohio State posted 500 first-half yards against the Spartans.

Before that offensive masterclass, the Buckeyes already led all of college football in total offense (5,500 yards) and yards per game (550). The team needed only 50 yards in the second half on Saturday to hit its average. Both will have big games over the next couple of weeks with an opportunity to gain some separation.

California Is Breeding The Best QBs In CFB

Stroud and Young are both native Californians who decided to make the trek across the country to play for powerhouse programs. In fact, Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral (Heisman Darkhorse) and DJ Uiagalelei (highly touted Clemson quarterback) are also from the Golden State.

For these guys to be such prolific passers and cerebral leaders as true sophomores can be attributed to the culture of coaching and football development they received on the West Coast.

Both To Face Archrivals This Coming Week

This race will be decided on Saturday, Nov. 27, with Ohio State visiting No.6 Michigan at the “Big House” in Ann Arbor. A huge game against a respected conference opponent will do wonders for Stroud’s Heisman hopes.

Alabama travels down to “The Plains,” to face its archnemesis: the Auburn Tigers. Young needs to keep his foot on the gas and get going early against a Tigers squad that has dropped three straight games.

This could be a dangerous spot for Young, because Auburn has talent and is purely playing for pride and a low-level Bowl bid at 6-5. They’d like nothing more than to dash BAMA’s playoff hopes and hurt Young’s Heisman candidacy.

Voting Will Be Split On Championship Saturday

With Stroud likely getting most of the Midwest votes and Young receiving most of the votes in the South, the race will come down to how the remaining regions (West, Southwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic) all view those games and cast their votes.

The award is Young’s to lose at the moment, although some oddsmakers have Stroud favored, so the margin is razor thin.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.