Louisville Loss Helps and Hurts Lamar Jackson's Heisman Campaign
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Louisville Loss Helps and Hurts Lamar Jackson's Heisman Campaign

Louisville very likely won't be competing in the College Football Playoff this year, but that doesn't mean Lamar Jackson can't still win the Heisman.

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Louisville Loss Helps and Hurts Lamar Jackson's Heisman Campaign

On Thursday night, Louisville suffered a significant blow to its still feasible playoff hopes when they were blown out by an unranked Houston team. Houston is admittedly no slouch by any stretch, but now with two losses and dwindling chances of making the ACC championship game, Louisville can all but kiss its playoff hopes goodbye.

From the standpoint of individual accolades, however, Lamar Jackson, widely regarded as the best player in all of college football this season, is still in the running for the Heisman Trophy, awarded each year to the most outstanding player in the country. The official language of the award says that it is awarded for "The outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work."

If you've seen basically just any one of Lamar Jackson's numerous ridiculous stat lines this season, you would understand why he has such a good chance at winning. Jackson has been posting absolute video game numbers this season and has broken many records in the process. But one thing is working against Jackson right now, namely the fact that his team has two losses. That doesn't seem like a big deal based on the Heisman criteria, but the nature of the award has evolved over the years -- that is, the trophy is typically awarded to a player on a team that has reached a high level of success over the course of the year.

Louisville, overall, has been successful, but they will not experience the ultra-successful result that teams of Heisman winners typically see, like a playoff berth or a national championship. Their loss to Houston has all but confirmed that.

And it's unfortunate that that's what the nature of the award has become, because the loss also probably confirmed the biggest case for Jackson winning the award: that he's the best player in the country.

Jackson had a highly uncharacteristic (but still not completely abysmal) night on Thursday, to not much fault of his own. He was sacked 11 times as he didn't have much time to throw and couldn't get much consistency going on the ground. He was sacked 11 times, and spent much of the evening running for his life.

In short: Houston's defense did an outstanding job containing Lamar Jackson, and the Cardinals were blown out as a result. Louisville is usually on the other end of that scenario when Jackson isn't contained, though, and that should tell people just how good he really is. As he goes, Louisville goes. Thursday night was exceptionally bad for the Cardinals, but if you take away Lamar Jackson, Louisville is still nowhere near as good.

That alone should be grounds for Jackson to win the award. Though the award doesn't mention this, it is essentially a de facto "MVP" award for college football, and the case can very easily be made that Lamar Jackson is the most valuable contributor to his team's success. But the award is cold -- it doesn't give any sympathy for things that don't show up on the stat sheet, and that might result in someone relatively undeserving winning the award this year. I really think Jackson should be given a pass on this one.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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