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Weighing Christian McCaffrey's Heisman chances against Leonard Fournette

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Does the Cardinal's superstar back have a chance of besting the Bayou Bengal for the Heisman?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent poll released by ESPN, Christian McCaffrey placed 3rd in the race for the Heisman trophy. For anyone who follows college football closely, the clear favorite for the award so far has to be Leonard Fournette of LSU, but it’s called a race to the Heisman for a reason.

With five games left on the schedule, four of which are against PAC-12 opponents, McCaffrey has plenty of time to close the gap between him and Fournette. There is a bright side for McCaffrey and fans hoping he claims the coveted award, and that is the difference between Stanford’s and LSU’s schedule.

Stanford’s toughest opponent defensively will likely be Notre Dame, as they allow just 370 YPG. Although, you have to consider that Washington’s defense is ranked higher than Notre Dame's, and they were unable to slow down McCaffrey, who totaled 221 yards rushing and receiving. Meanwhile, Washington State, Colorado, Oregon and Cal all have leaky defenses, and McCaffrey could rip off a few more big plays in every one of those games. The rivalry games with Oregon and Cal could help solidify McCaffrey's spot as a Heisman contender.

LSU, on the other hand, faces Alabama on the road, which boasts the nation's 4th-best run defense. The Tigers also take on Ole Miss, one of the nation's strongest defensive teams, and Arkansas, which has a top 20 run defense as well. While I wouldn't be surprised to see LSU to win out the rest of their season, I can see Fournette struggling individually against such difficult defenses. However, LSU's final game is against Texas A&M, which gives up 4.73 yards per attempt. It could get ugly for the Aggies the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

When all is said and done, the fact that Christian McCaffrey is being considered as a top Heisman candidate is fantastic. It means that he is, indeed, receiving the national attention he deserves, despite all the late kickoff times. When the Heisman winner is announced in New York City, I fully expect McCaffrey sitting in the front row, hoping to hear his name announced.