Kenny Dillingham told Oregon players to go “win the natty” after the Ducks beat his Arizona State Sun Devils this past Saturday.

Certainly that can be looked at as one man wishing for nothing but good things to come for a bunch of players and coaches he still cares a great deal about. But Oregon can also do it. The Ducks still have to beat Washington in a Pac-12 title rematch to make the College Football Playoff, and they have to beat Oregon State to even get to the Washington rematch in the first place.

Faith that Oregon can keep winning stems from the guy who has been leading one of the nation’s best offenses out onto the field each week. Bo Nix is playing like a Heisman Trophy winner right now.

Dillingham said as much after the game.

“He has great balance. He actually threw the deep ball as good as I’ve ever seen him throw the deep ball
today. He threw it at an elite level,” said the first-year ASU coach and former Oregon coordinator. “We were going to challenge him to throw versus man-to-man and put our guys in the ability to win one-on-ones in man-to-man coverage on early downs and he made unbelievable throws.

He’s, in my opinion, the Heisman Trophy winner. I’m obviously probably a little bit biased. But he should win the Heisman Trophy.”

Nix is in a dead-heat race to the finish for the Heisman with LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels.

Nix doesn’t have the raw numbers Daniels does, but Daniels is also LSU’s everything. Nix isn’t asked to be the same kind of quarterback. Daniels is No. 1 in Total QBR, Nix is No. 3. Daniels is No. 1 in EPA, Nix is No. 2. Daniels is No. 1 in yards per play, Nix is No. 2. Daniels has 36 passing touchdowns, Nix has 35.

Daniels’ team has three losses and is out of the CFP.

Nix’s team has just one three-point defeat and is still very much in the running.

It’ll be neck-and-neck. Nix will probably be OK missing out on the Heisman if it means he can play for a national championship in his final season.

While some might consider Oregon’s national title aspirations nothing more than a pipe dream, consider this: no team in college football has a better net efficiency this season than Oregon.

The Ducks are outgaining opponents on a per-play average by 3.1 yards.

Ohio State is second at plus-2.6. Georgia is third at 2.5. Michigan is sixth at 2.2. Washington is seventh at 2.0.

That’s a testament to Nix. While he may not have the flashy numbers to rival Daniels, there is not a quarterback in the country who has been more efficient in his play.

ASU defensive lineman Dashaun Mallory marveled at how Nix would make calls on his own on the field. Mallory called Nix a mastermind on the field.

“He’s a field general out there,” Mallory said. “I’ve got nothing but respect for the guy. He obviously was controlling the entire game from the first snap to the last snap. Give respect where respect is due. Bo Nix is just that guy, respect to him.”