Among the various trinkets up for grabs amid the hype of the latest LSU-Alabama Sequel — The Offenses Strike Back! — is this thing called the Heisman Trophy.

It's a fairly coveted award, only your biggest individual honor in the entire sports world.

It very likely will be decided in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday afternoon. President Donald Trump might as well present it to either LSU's Joe Burrow or Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. Maybe it'll make up for all the pregame headache his appearance will cause for 100,000 or so red-blooded American voters who'll now spend hours wading through the extra security just to get into the stadium.

One of the two quarterbacks — and, yes, I'm 100 percent assuming that Tua is going to play ­— is going to be hard to catch after Saturday.

You might recall that LSU has been here before. In fact, the same scenario was at play four years ago in 2015.

We just didn't know it at the time — didn't know it was a two-horse race.

It was supposed to be over.

Heading into that LSU-Alabama game, the Heisman Trophy had pretty well been conceded to the Tigers' Leonard Fournette. It had become a formality among all the more reliable experts. He was running away with the thing while also running over every team in LSU's path. Mostly Auburn, as I recall, but most everybody else as well.

LSU itself was undefeated, ranked No. 2 in the nation, No. 2 in the just-released first College Football Playoff rankings of that season.

Sound familiar?

It was all getting a fair amount of media play at the time.

Then Fournette got to Tuscaloosa.

He gained exactly 31 yards on 19 carries, LSU lost 30-16, and Fournette was never mentioned in the same sentence with Downtown Athletic Club again.

In fact, the odds-on favorite eventually wasn't even invited to New York as a finalist for the ceremony.

Adding to the insult (to the Tigers anyway), Derrick Henry of Alabama snuck in the back door and picked up the trophy. It didn't hurt that he ran for 210 yards in that same game, the one everybody tuned in to see Fournette anointed.

Stuff happens.

One thing for sure, however, is neither of the candidates this time will come out of nowhere to win it like Henry did.

Burrow already did that when he burst on the scene as the centerpiece of the oddity of LSU with a high-speed offense.

The Vegas boys had him at 200-1 odds back in the summer, which is where they stash the off-the-radar guys for safe keeping.

His current odds are basically even money, which makes him the favorite (Tua is 3-1). You may have heard tell of the LSU fan who took a $50 flyer on those 200-1 odds in the summer and now stands to pocket $10,000 if he can resist the urge to scalp the ticket to several interested investors.

That drama hits critical mass Saturday in Tuscaloosa.

Burrow, of course, swears he could care less about individual awards. Oh, I'm guessing he wouldn't turn it down. But given the option of beating Alabama or winning the Heisman, the ultimate team guy wouldn't really agonize long over the choice.

I'm not sure he can beat one without also winning the other, however.

Same for Tua, who has seemingly been the winner in waiting for the last two seasons.

Burrow got in the thick of this thing when he went off on Texas for 471 passing yards in a wildly entertaining game that, at the time, was the most-watched of the year.

But, as a rule of thumb, you can't win the Heisman Trophy in September or any time against, say, Utah State.

Alabama in November is a different deal.

There are other candidates, for sure, but the interest in this game and the build-up for two principals, mano a mano, makes it hard to believe that CBS won't be showcasing your eventual Heisman winner on Saturday.

Only question is, which one?

Both have the gaudy statistics, but that's way overrated in the long run, at least from this voter.

You want Heisman Moments — like the clutch third-and-17 pass that Burrow completed that put away the Texas game put him in the conversation.

You win the Heisman Trophy with derring-do on the big stage, preferably in dramatic fashion. And it doesn't get much bigger than this, with or without the President in attendance.

The whole baby-faced tough-guy persona doesn't hurt Burrow. It's the kind of thing that catches the public's fancy.

Getting his pants pulled down at Mississippi State could be the Heisman Lighter Moment.

Now he needs that defining moment, and to stride into the horrors of Bryant-Denny and deliver LSU's first victory over Bama in eight tries when it meant the most … that would be hard to ignore.

Meanwhile, an interesting nugget I stumbled across this week is that no Heisman Trophy winner has ever missed a single game during the season he won.

Tagovailoa will have to defy that trend as he missed the Arkansas game with this season's most analyzed ankle sprain.

But if Alabama wins ­­— which is certainly no rarity — it makes it all the more dramatic for Tagovailoa to have bravely thrown down the crutches to do it.

In the retelling, he'd be jumping out of a wheelchair, of course, probably breaking out of the ankle braces, Forrest Gump-style, to save the school from the invading Tigers.

Either way, I think you'll know who wins this year's Heisman Trophy by Saturday night.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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