Every season, someone seems to be a lock to win the Heisman Trophy. In recent memory, all of these players have failed to win the Heisman. Between DeVonta Smith, Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, there has been value with NCAAF odds if you can predict who will surprise us. In 2021, one popular name is Graham Mertz.
Mertz won the starting quarterback job at Wisconsin, and he had a stellar first performance. However, COVID wrecked their season before it could really get started. He finished with 176 passing yards per game and 11 total touchdowns in seven games.
Even with this depressing stat line, there is hope that Mertz can win the Heisman Trophy. With his current odds standing at +8000, there is tremendous value if bettors believe that he can pull it off.
While the odds are stacked against him, there is plenty of reason for hope. Specifically, here is why Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz has a chance to win the Heisman Trophy in 2021.
Wisconsin Has a Favorable Schedule
To win the Heisman Trophy, you have to be the best player on a team competing for a title. Unless you’re Lamar Jackson, your team has to consistently win to earn votes. That means that Mertz’s Heisman hopes fall on the entire team and not just him.
Thankfully, the Badgers have an easier schedule in 2021. They host Michigan, Penn State, Army, Northwestern and Iowa. They have a tough game early in the season against Notre Dame, but it is at least a neutral site. It won’t be easy, but the path is easier than it could be with so many quality home games.
It might be too much for Wisconsin to win the Big Ten, but this schedule is the perfect mixture of winnable game and potential Heisman moments. Upsetting Notre Dame would put Mertz on the map, and winning home games down the stretch would keep him relevant. Ending the year on the road against Minnesota would be a potential Heisman moment.
Avoiding Ohio State until a potential Big Ten Championship is a blessing in disguise for both the Badgers and Graham Mertz. At this point in the season, all you want is a conceivable path, and Mertz has that.
The Race Is Wide Open
In the past, there have been players who have stolen the storylines. Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and others have started the season as the leaders of college football. This makes it hard for newcomers to join the mix without carrying your team to the College Football Playoff.
This year, fans are experiencing a max exodus of talent in college football. Every CFP team from last year is replacing their starting quarterback. All Heisman finalists are heading to the NFL. Even perennial starters like Kellen Mond are gone. With that being the case, there is an opportunity for someone to step up and become the face of college football.
People will still turn to the blue-blood programs, and they have quarterbacks ready to take over. Spencer Rattler is going to try to take over the Big 12, but he struggled early last season.
There is uncertainty surrounding college football as top players head to the NFL. Will Mertz be the guy to take over? If so, his Heisman odds will shift.
Wisconsin Will Have More Certainty
Last season, the Badgers had all sorts of potential. It was obvious why they failed to put it all together. Between the typical adversity and the special circumstances of 2020, there was too much for Wisconsin to handle.
The good news for the Badgers is that they will have more certainty on many fronts. Mertz should have a full offseason to prepare as the team’s starting quarterback, so he will be more comfortable in the system. While it’s impossible to know what role COVID will play in 2021, it is at least safe to say that Wisconsin should have more stability in the upcoming season. As long as they can play non-conference games and avoid major postponements, 2021 will be an improvement.
There are still plenty of things that have to happen for Mertz to win the Heisman, and facets of his game must improve, but there is at least a reason to be hopeful.