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Bryce Young or CJ Stroud: Who is the better Heisman candidate?

Bryce Young rolls out of the pocket against LSU
Picture by Crimson Tide photos

The Heisman Trophy race is coming down to the wire, according to betting sites.

Bryce Young, a sophomore at Alabama, has been the leading candidate at quarterback for most of the season.

RELATED: Alabama moves to No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings

Despite breaking the Crimson Tide’s single-game record for passing yards versus Arkansas, Vegas Insider moved CJ Stroud of Ohio State ahead of him in its latest Heisman odds. Stroud has the highest odds at –200, while Young falls to second place at +150.

The freshman signal-caller for the Buckeyes is No. 1 for BetMGM, PointsBet, FanDuel Sportsbook, and Caesars Sportsbook. 

Both have turned in stellar numbers, but who is the better Heisman candidate? 

It is hard to gauge because both have similar statistics as we enter the marquee part of the college football season. Young and Stroud replaced headline names such as Mac Jones and Justin Fields at the position. Both have seven 300-yard passing games, and eight matchups with 3+ touchdown passes. Stroud has more performances with five touchdowns (four to three), but Young has more games with a 70 percent completion rating (eight to five).

Stroud has more games where he’s compiled a quarterback rating of 90+ (seven to six). The conversation becomes tougher if one takes their stats on a national scale in comparing both.

Alabama QB Bryce Young

-263 of 367 passes completed, 71.7 percent, sixth in the NCAA

-3,584 passing yards, sixth in the NCAA

-38 touchdown passes, tied for second in the NCAA

-186.2 passer rating, third in the NCAA

-88.7 total quarterback rating, second in the NCAA

Ohio State QB CJ Stroud

-246 of 346 passes completed, 71.1 percent, eighth in the NCAA

-3,468 passing yards, eighth in the NCAA

-36 touchdown passes, tied for third in the NCAA

-186.7 passer rating, second in the NCAA

-90.7 total quarterback rating, first in the NCAA

*Areas where Stroud leads Young are bold and italicized

Both quarterbacks have their teams averaging 40+ points and 500+ yards per game. 

RELATED: Bryce Young and Will Anderson hilariously explained moments how Iron Bowl became real to them

Alabama and Ohio State are in the top-10 for scoring offense and total offense. Young and Stroud have suffered one loss and have had at least two close victories. Young played in tight matchups versus Florida (31-29), LSU (20-14), and Arkansas (42-35) for the Tide. The Buckeyes won close over Penn State (33-24) and Nebraska (26-19), but it has dominated opponents on its schedule.

Both teams faced three programs in Tuesday’s top-25 College Football Playoff rankings. 

Alabama played against Ole Miss (No. 9), Texas A&M (No. 15), and Arkansas (No. 25). Ohio State went against Oregon (No. 11) and Michigan State (No. 12). Stroud and the Buckeyes will play No. 5 Michigan on Saturday.

The oddsmakers in Las Vegas have Stroud over Young because they do not believe Alabama will defeat Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs have crushed opposition all season, and we have not seen the Crimson Tide look like its teams of recent years. If Young torches Georgia’s fearsome defense and Alabama wins, he will capture the Heisman Trophy.

Both quarterbacks have played well, but the nation will have its eyes on Alabama-Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 4, to determine the next member of the Heisman fraternity.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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