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Heisman Watch: With Hooker done for the season, Ohio State's Stroud and USC's Williams top odds board

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APTOPIX Ohio St Maryland Football

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) has led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season and the No. 2 ranking in the College Football Playoff.

It’s Thanksgiving week and you know what that means – rivalries. In the final regular-season weekend of college football, there are some huge games on the top-10 slate.

The top four teams in the College Football Playoffs all had harder-than-expected games this past Saturday against unranked teams.

But at this point in the season, it doesn’t matter how it gets done, just as long as you win.

The only thing that can derail a Heisman Trophy candidate at this point is an injury and/or a bad loss.

Unfortunately, both happened to Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, who going in to Week 12 was second on the odds boards, behind Ohio State signal-caller C.J. Stroud, for the top individual award in college football.

The fifth-ranked Volunteers suffered a big loss to South Carolina, 63-38, in Columbia, while Hooker tore his left ACL in the fourth quarter. Tennessee announced Sunday that Hooker is done for the season after suffering that non-contact injury.

Before his injury, Hooker had 247 yards passing and three touchdown passes, also rushing for 25 yards against South Carolina. Hooker finishes his senior season on Rocky Top with 3,135 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions, completing 69.6% of his passes.

With Hooker’s chances to win the Heisman gone, USC quarterback Caleb Williams jumped into the second spot in the odds after a big performance in No. 7 USC’s big win over No. 16 UCLA on Saturday night.

Stroud is still the odds-on favorite, while Michigan running back Blake Corum is still in the mix to be a finalist.

With one week left in the regular season, FrontPageBets takes another look at the Heisman favorites.

(Odds courtesy of DraftKings and subject to change)

Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud (-125)

While No. 2 Ohio State had its hands full with a game Maryland team, winning 43-30, Stroud didn’t put up gaudy numbers, but he was steady, finishing with 241 passing yards and a touchdown.

Stroud could cement his Heisman Trophy bid with a solid game -- and win -- against rival Michigan this week in the regular-season finale. But the race is too close for a slip-up, especially on a national stage.

USC QB Caleb Williams (+130)

Once again, Williams showed off his talents in a win for the Trojans. The Oklahoma transfer completed 32 of 43 passes for 470 yards and two touchdowns in USC’s win over rival UCLA at the Rose Bowl to clinch a berth in the Pac-12 title game.

Williams also rushed for 33 yards and a score. He has now thrown for 3,480 yards and 33 touchdowns on the season.

Closing the gap on Stroud, Williams could make it really interesting this week as Notre Dame is up next for the Trojans to close the regular season.

Michigan RB Blake Corum (+1500)

Corum is the only other player in striking distance as the season winds down.

Saturday, he helped lead No. 3 Michigan to a hold-your-breath, 19-17 victory over Illinois. Corum rushed for 108 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown in the win. Corum played sparingly in the second half after suffering a knee injury.  

Corum has now rushed for 100-plus yards in eight straight games.

Ohio State is next for Corum and the Wolverines. His status is uncertain.


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Mike Szvetitz is the General Manager and Content Director for FrontPageBets.com. Szvetitz is a 22-year veteran reporter and editor, including serving 17 years as a sports editor in Florida, Alabama and Virginia, covering everything from preps to pros. His "View From The Lazy Boy" column won multiple state and national awards. He can be reached at mszvetitz@timesdispatch.com.

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