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Anthony Gordon Throws for 570 Yards and 9 TDs; Is Washington State QB a Heisman Contender?

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Football

Updated Apr 3, 2020 · 2:39 PM PDT

Anthony Gordon throwing a pass
Antony Gordon leads the FBS in passing yards and touchdowns but is he a legit Heisman Trophy candidate? Photo from @OGCOMNews. (Twitter.)
  • Anthony Gordon threw for 570 yards and 9 TDs on Saturday versus UCLA
  • Gordon leads the FBS in passing yards and touchdowns
  • Is he a viable Heisman Trophy longshot?

Imagine throwing nine touchdowns in a game and losing. That was Anthony Gordon’s fate this past Saturday night after Washington State blew a 32-point lead to UCLA. Despite the epic collapse, Gordon’s performance stole the headlines and left us asking if he should be considered a Heisman Trophy candidate?

2019 Heisman Trophy Odds

Player Odds
Tua Tagovailoa +175
Joe Burrow +300
Jalen Hurts +350
Justin Fields +900
Trevor Lawrence +1200
Jake Fromm +1400
Jonathan Taylor +1600
Sam Ehlinger +3300
Justin Herbert +3300
Jerry Jeudy +3300
D’Andre Swift +3300
Travis Etienne +5000
Adrian Martinez +6600
Anthony Gordon N/A

*Odds taken 09/22/19.

Gordon is on the board at the Westgate in Las Vegas, but not at a single online book yet, despite leading the FBS in passing yards and touchdowns.

When he does eventually garner attention from online sportsbooks, will he be worth your money?

Better Late Than Never

Prior to the start of the season, Gordon must have been wondering if he’d ever get an opportunity to be a full-time starter. He spent his first four years at Washington State as a backup before surprising everyone by beating out graduate transfer Gabe Gubrud for the starting job.

In his first four starts, he’s completed 74.9% of his passes for 1,894 yards and 21 touchdowns. Even if you removed his 9 TD passes from Saturday, he’d still be averaging four passing scores a game, and he’s well on his way to breaking the Pac-12 record for passing yards (4,779) and touchdowns (38) set by this guy.

How Does He Stack Up vs The Elite Contenders?

As of right now, Gordon is drastically out producing the top two contenders Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow through the air. He’s thrown for 594 more yards and 4 more touchdowns than Tagovailoa (albeit on 71 more attempts) and 374 more yards and 4 more touchdowns than Burrow.

Anthony Gordon vs Tua Tagovailoa Passing Stats

74.9 Completion % 77.7
1,894 Passing Yards 1,300
21 Pass TD 17
195.3 Passer Efficiency 225.3

The problem is, the voting committee putssignificantt weight on how well a contender’s team performs. Tagovailoa and Burrow play for elite programs, while Gordon’s Washington State team is not a conference, let alone a playoff contender.

Since 1998, only once has the Heisman Trophy been awarded to a player whose team didn’t win at least 9 games, and the 3-1 Cougars are expected to be heavy underdogs in four of their final eight contests.

To throw even more rain on Gordon’s Heisman parade, none of the past 15 quarterbacks who’ve led the FBS in passing yards have gone on to win the Heisman, including Patrick Mahomes in 2016.

Don’t Waste Your Money on Gordon

Gordon’s stats on paper may look sexy, but he hasn’t been deemed a viable Heisman contender for good reason. His numbers are inflated due to the air-raid system he plays in and there’s no way he can realistically compete for the Heisman with players like Tagovailoa, Burrow, Hurts or Fields unless Washington State runs the table.

And let’s face it: that isn’t going to happen.

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