Matt Corral Fighting Heisman History as Ole Miss Prepares for Gauntlet

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(Photo by Debby Wong/Shutterstock)
Andrew Doughty Sep 21, 2021, 7:54 PM

Ole Miss’ preseason win total at BetMGM was 7.5, tied for 20th-highest in the Power Five, fifth-highest in the SEC, and third-highest in the SEC West. While an 8-win season would cash “over” tickets and be the Rebels’ highest win total since 2015, it wouldn’t be enough for quarterback Matt Corral to win the first Heisman Trophy in program history.

Corral, a two-year starter with more than 500 career pass attempts, opened at +2800 in offseason Heisman Trophy odds and entered the season at +2500, behind only seven players:

  • Spencer Rattler, +800
  • Bryce Young, +1000
  • D.J. Uiagalelei, +1100
  • J.T. Daniels, +1200
  • Sam Howell, +1600
  • C.J. Stroud, +1600
  • D’Eriq King, +2000

All seven players had a higher team win total (and better national championship odds and conference championship odds) than Corral and Ole Miss. And while preseason team odds don’t crown, nor eliminate, a potential Heisman candidate, they do paint an ominous, historically influenced picture for candidates on teams not expected to win 11 or 12 regular-season games and contend for a national championship. 

Since Desmond Howard’s Heisman-winning season for 10-win Michigan in 1991, the teams on which Heisman winners played averaged 11.7 wins and 1.5 losses (including the postseason). 

All but three of the 30 teams won at least 10 games – Ricky Williams, Tim Tebow, and Lamar Jackson each played on nine-win teams – and 17 teams won at least 12 games.

Twenty-one of the 30 teams won a conference championship, 10 teams won a national championship, and seven teams went undefeated. Those seven are among 14 with a winning percentage of at least .900. Only four teams finished with a winning percentage below .800.

Three weeks after Corral opened the season eighth in Heisman odds at +2500, he’s now first at +210. And if a new Rebels’ win total was available after three wins to open the season, it wouldn’t be 6.5. It might not be in the ballpark of Heisman-producing teams (e.g., 10.5 or 11), but it would be sharply rising from the bowl-eligibility ballpark at which it opened.

Is it rising enough, though? Is Ole Miss, 3-0 with a 19-point over Louisville and a 40-point win over Tulane, good enough to support a Heisman winner?

We don’t know yet, but we do know Heisman voters back candidates on playoff contenders, not Liberty Bowl contenders. And with Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, and Texas A&M on the schedule in the coming weeks, we’ll know exactly what type of contender Ole Miss is.

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.