By all indications, the SEC Championship Game will be a coronation for Alabama and running back Derrick Henry.
The Crimson Tide are heavy favorites to beat Florida and win another SEC title on their way to the College Football Playoff. Henry may have even better odds to win the Heisman Trophy.
The junior running back has been the model of consistency this season. So much, in fact, that he’d have to lose the Heisman more than anyone else can win it.
Here are three things that would have to happen for Henry not to win the Heisman Trophy:
Henry fumbles the Heisman away on national television
As strange as it seems, there are some Heisman voters in other areas of the country that aren’t fixated on the SEC. If Henry struggles this weekend, that could leave a lasting impression just before votes are sent in. However, it would have to be a really, really bad performance to leave that type of indelible impression.
Alabama would also have to lose. Henry would have to rush for less than 100 yards. Some fumbles would even be necessary to sway that many voters.
Deshaun Watson has to dominate
Through no fault of his own, Watson probably carries some of the blame following a sub-par showing in Clemson’s last game. The Tigers beat South Carolina 37-32 in a close-call win last Saturday. Sure, the Tigers struggled overall but their junior quarterback completed 14-of-19 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. As a whole, that’s not how the No. 1 team in the nation is supposed to play against a sub-par team.
Watson has an advantage that Henry doesn’t. He’s the starting quarterback on the No. 1 team in the nation. Clemson faces North Carolina in the ACC championship game. If Watson has a huge game on a national stage, he can put doubt in the minds of Heisman voters.
Like many fans, there are some Heisman voters across the country who would like to see the SEC fail. The conference has had a recent run of unprecedented success that includes seven national championships and four Heisman Trophy awards since 2006. Moreover, Alabama looks poised to lead the conference back to an elite level.
Could there be enough sentiment against the SEC to undermine Henry? If Henry has a great game and Watson struggles, probably not. However, if Alabama and Henry open the door, there’s always a chance. Just ask Peyton Manning.