Oregon Bo Nix Oregon quarterback Bo Nix throws out a pass as the No. 6 Oregon Ducks host the USC Trojans Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

The Heisman Trophy will be handed out next month in New York City. After a fantastic 2023 college football season, several candidates are beginning to carve out cases to win the coveted award. Among them is Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix.

When Nix transferred from Auburn to Oregon before the 2022 season, many weren’t sure what to expect. Nix flashed talent with the Tigers but was, at times, inconsistent. But over the past two seasons, he’s been one of the nation’s most efficient and dynamic quarterbacks. The 2023 season is his best one yet and has made him a serious contender to win the award.

Here’s why he should.

He’s played sharp under pressure since the Washington loss

Oregon and rival Washington clashed in the game of the year thus far this college football season. In a bitter loss, Nix and the Ducks fell by a field goal to the Huskies.

Since then, Oregon has had to walk a tightrope. With one loss this season, a second loss would put their Pac-12 Championship Game hopes in peril. It would also immediately vaporize their College Football Playoff chances.

After the loss to Washington, Nix has:

  • Gone 94-for-125, a completion% of 75.2 percent
  • Thrown for 1,339 yards on those 125 attempts for a Y/A of 10.7
  • Thrown 12 touchdowns and one interception
  • Ran for five additional touchdowns

Oregon has also gone 4-0 since the loss to Washington. So Nix is playing sharp in big and consequential games for the Ducks, who keep winning under his direction.

He’s on a similar pace that Marcus Mariota was on

The Oregon GOAT, Marcus Mariota, became the program’s first Heisman Trophy winner in the 2014 season. That year was big for the Ducks too as they made the first-ever College Football Playoff Final.

Mariota capped off a legendary collegiate career with the Heisman win. Ten weeks into the season, he was on fire. But did you know that Bo isn’t too far off?

Here was Mariota through ten games in 2014:

  • 186 for 277, 2,780 yards, 10.03 Y/A, 29 Pass TD, 2 INT, 89 carries, 524 yards, 8 Rush TD

Here is Nix through ten games in 2023:

  • 258 for 332, 3,135 yards, 9.44 Y/A, 29 Pass TD, 2 INT, 38 carries, 121 yards, 5 Rush TD

In 2014, Mariota was probably asked to do a lot on the ground and wanted to do a lot on the ground. So that might help explain the gap in rushing attempts. Nix has been able to lean on Bucky Irving and Jordan James. But Mariota didn’t have slouches behind him in the backfield either, as former five-star running back Thomas Tyner and freshman Royce Freeman, who later became one of the school’s most productive rushers of all time, were in the backfield.

Plus, that 29:2 TD:INT ratio for both looks really remarkable.

He has two huge potential tests other candidates might not

Something that might be working in Bo Nix’s favor right now is everything around him.

This weekend the Washington Huskies and Oregon State Beavers will clash in a big Pac-12 showdown. This is important because the Ducks will play the rival Beavers on Black Friday next week. They also might have another date with the Huskies in Las Vegas if the Pac-12 standings shake out that way.

This means that as long as he and the Ducks take care of business in Tempe against Arizona State, the Ducks will have two potential Top 10 matchups coming up. The Beavers are ranked 11th right now, but if they pull off the upset in Corvallis over the Huskies, they could ascend. And with Washington still ranked 5th, a Top 5 opportunity awaits Oregon in Vegas if they hold their ground.

Either way, both games have huge stakes. Oregon will still probably be playing for the right to get to Las Vegas in next week’s rivalry game. That gives Nix the stage to create a “Heisman Moment.” Then, the following week, he might have another shot (as long as voters pay attention and haven’t cast their ballots yet).

Many games are still left this season, and the Heisman could be decided in the next few weeks. But among the field, Nix is the current favorite for a reason.

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022