Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a touchdown pass against the California Golden Bears during the second quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a running assumption that unless you play for the USC Trojans it’s nearly impossible to win a Heisman Trophy while playing on the West Coast.

Since 2000, five West Coast players have won the Heisman, four of which went to USC (Carson Palmer, Matt Leinert, Reggie Bush, and Caleb Williams). only Oregon’s Marcus Mariota was able to break through in 2014.

One of the big examples often used of a player who would have won the Heisman if he played elsewhere was Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.

This year, both the Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks have Heisman-hopeful quarterbacks in Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix, respectively. They’ll go head-to-head on Saturday in a game that could very well put one of them in the driver’s seat for that distinction.

ESPN College GameDay is in Seattle this weekend for the game and host Rece Davis was asked about Penix Jr’s chances to win the Heisman this season. He explained that he’s got a shot and he thinks the bias against West Coast players is a bit overblown.

“Absolutely,” Davis told reporters when asked if he thinks Penix can win the Heisman. “They’ve got huge stages coming up. The first one is this week. They’ve got other big regular-season games. The Pac-12 Championship Game is gonna be substantial cause there will be playoff implications. And when you play in a dynamic offense, when you have the skill set that he does, and you play big games, that’s what you need.

“I differ with a lot of this talk that the West Coast guys, if they don’t play at USC, don’t get attention, nobody sees them. Is it late on the East Coast? Sure. And people always point to McCaffrey. Now, I want everybody to understand what I’m saying. If you think Christian McCaffrey should have won the Heisman, that is a reasonable assertion. It is not reasonable to say that Christian McCaffrey didn’t win the Heisman because he played on the West Coast.

“With Penix and the stage that he’s going to have over the last month and a half per season, he’s got a great opportunity to win the Heisman. So does Bo Nix, by the way.”

We’ll have a much clearer sense of where Penix Jr, Nix, and defending Heisman winner Caleb Williams stand in this year’s Heisman race after this weekend.

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.