Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was thoroughly disappointed for his players in the No. 4 Tigers not playing at Florida State last Saturday.
"They were excited to play. They were ready to go play and really disappointed," Swinney said about his team's reaction to FSU refusing to play because of a Clemson positive COVID-19 test. "So just overall feeling of disappointment, especially with the circumstances."
Those circumstances were especially frustrating for star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was set to take the field for the first time since Oct. 24, when Clemson beat Syracuse at home. Lawrence missed two consecutive games with COVID-19 and adhering to protocols, so he was anxious to play.
However, the postponement Saturday means nobody will see him on a football field for over a month. That's a formula to win the Heisman Trophy, and the betting odds greatly reflect that this week.
Clemson's signal-caller dropped from +350 to win the Heisman last week to +1000, nearly tripling his lessened chances to claim college football's most prestigious honor, according to Betonline.ag.
Lawrence remains fourth on the list behind Florida's Kyle Trask (-175), Alabama's Mac Jones (+300) and Ohio State's Justin Fields (+400). Trask had plus odds a week ago and is clearly in the driver's seat to win the Heisman. Jones also has a great shot at the award because he'll likely get a head-to-head battle with Trask in the Dec. 19 SEC Championship Game.
Meanwhile, Fields didn't have a great game against Indiana this past week, tossing three interceptions in a win, and won't play as many games as the other contenders, even if OSU gets all its games in, nor will he get enough marquee games to make his mark.
Lawrence has similar obstacles to overcome. COVID-19 has currently cost him a total of three games in an 11-contest slate, and it's unclear if/when the FSU game is made up. He at least gets a potential showdown with No. 2 Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game. Even with a great performance, that might not be enough to sway voters.
After all, Trask threw three more touchdowns in a 38-17 win over Vanderbilt this past week to give him a nation-leading 31 on the season. He's averaged more than 10 yards per pass attempt over the last three games.
Lawrence has 17 passing TDs and 700 fewer passing yards on the year, and Trask has the same number of games remaining. Popularity and exposure matter greatly in this award, and Trask is putting together a late-season run like former Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray did a couple of years ago when he beat out Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa.
Lawrence has run out of time to post the numbers he needs to truly be in the race, even though the causes are out of his control.
Clemson's first Heisman winner will have to wait and likely fall on freshman QB D.J. Uiagalelei down the road.