BYU’s Zach Wilson, Heisman Candidate?

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By J. Prather, Sports Writer

 

For Utah fans, this weekend was frustrating to say the least. Fall football was canceled and then brought back with a postponed and shortened schedule — while a lot of the Football Bowl Subdivision continued on with business as usual. There was hope on the horizon, however. The days separating us from red and white gridiron glory were fewer as the days shortened. Then tragedy struck as we watched the dream of a home opener against Arizona fall victim to the pandemic.

Our long-awaited moment of retribution was lost in time, like tears in rain. Watching our boys trot onto the field would have been a small mercy among the tumult. To have it stripped was nothing short of torturous. Then again, something, something … Mick Jagger … you can’t always get what you want, blah blah blah. The cherry on top of the cake is that BYU quarterback and golden boy Zach Wilson is strutting around the country with Cougar fans in his bandwagon shouting “Heisman!” at the top of their lungs. 

Am I a bitter person? Not usually. The Buddha said that “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” I am not at all peeved by BYU’s current 8-0 record and Zach Wilson’s notable performance. I am actually happy for the Cougs finally having a productive season. Productive is an understatement as well. BYU is straight-up dominating opponents from their season-opening 55-3 win over Navy to this past weekend’s 51-17 slaughter of the Boise State Broncos. 

BYU is good, and there is no denying that or the major role that Wilson plays in their turn around from recent lackluster seasons. In eight games so far this season, Wilson is averaging 314 passing yards per game with a 75% completion rate, has thrown 22 touchdowns, ran for eight more and has only thrown two interceptions. Are these Heisman numbers? Sure, especially when you compare him to other Heisman contending quarterbacks.

Ohio State’s Justin Fields is averaging 302 passing yards with a 86% completion rate over his first three games of the Big Ten’s 2020 season. With 13 total touchdowns for the Buckeyes, Fields is well on his way to match or overtake Wilson’s stats. Alabama’s Mac Jones has Crimson Tide fans asking “Tua who?” In Bama’s six games so far in 2020, Jones has averaged 366 passing yards, 31 TDs and a 78% completion rate.

It would seem that Wilson has a solid argument to stand among these two Power Five conference greats when you look at the stats. Where Wilson’s campaign falls short is BYU’s relatively weak schedule. Fields and Jones are delivering overwhelming wins over Big Ten and Southeastern Conference opponents, respectively. BYU, an independent team, had to piece together a last-minute schedule in the wake of COVID-19 with opponents from the Sun Belt, American Athletic Conference and Conference USA. They did not manage to secure a single Power Five matchup and have one of the easiest schedules in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

I wish the Cougars the best of luck moving forward and I will quietly celebrate their undefeated season if it comes to that. But BYU fans cry for relevancy in the Heisman race and playoff discussions are wholly unfounded. If they manage to secure a playoff spot only to get spanked by Ohio State, Alabama or Notre Dame, my celebration will not be so reserved.

 

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@JP_at_TheChrony