On Saturday, as many had suspected after Bo Nix and Oregon lost to Michael Penix Jr. and the No. 2 Washington football team in the Pac-12 Championship Game, LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels walked away as the Heisman Trophy's 89th winner.

Was Michael Penix Jr. snubbed out of the Heisman Trophy?

Nix was a heavy favorite coming into the Pac-12 Championship Game facing off against Penix, where the Ducks were almost a double-digit favorite over the Huskies. Daniels, however, was sitting at home, unable to further pad what was already an impressive stat sheet.

So if Penix and Washington beat Oregon, why wasn't Penix once again the favorite, you ask? After all, Daniels was the first Heisman winner since 2016 (per the Associated Press) to take home the award as part of a team that did not make their conference championship game, unlike both Penix and Nix. Daniels also failed to help the Tigers beat three of the four ranked teams they faced this season, including Florida State, Ole Miss, and Alabama.

Penix, on the other hand, beat a top-10 Oregon team twice, once for a conference championship and one more still currently ranked Oregon State team on the road. And in the final Pac-12 title game, in which he won the game's MVP award, he outdueled Nix, completing 27-of-39 passes for 319 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Nix threw for nearly 100 yards less but did throw two more touchdowns.

Michael Penix Jr. overcame years of bad play, injuries at Indiana

Michael Penix Jr. at Indiana

For Penix, you have to really see where the sixth-year senior came from as a player, starting with his time in Bloomington, Indiana. For four seasons, Penix was plagued by injuries that hampered his abilities, causing him to miss large amounts of playing time. In four seasons with the Hoosiers, he played 21 games. The 2019 and 2020 seasons were the most notable, helping the Hoosiers football program win a combined 14 games. They have seven wins since his departure.

It wasn't until second-year Washington football head coach Kalen DeBoer took over the program in 2022 that Penix, who transferred from Indiana, reached his full potential as a starting quarterback, later becoming a household name by the 2023 season when he found himself in New York at the Heisman ceremony. Between Penix and DeBoer, they'll both be remembered for restoring what was a dormant program before they arrived. From 2019-2021, Washington football won a combine 15 games, and just four games the year before the duo came aboard in Seattle.

Two games kept Michael Penix Jr. from winning the Heisman Trophy

When Penix became the Heisman favorite after beating Oregon back in October in their initial matchup, the Huskies kept on winning, but they more or less lost in style points, which more than likely ultimately kept the senior from hoisting the award.

Immediately following the encounter with the Ducks, Washington faced off against Arizona State in where the Huskies had to hold off the Sun Devils in a 15-7 win. Penix was kept scoreless and threw two interceptions. That will be the outlier to Penix's Heisman snubbing when those in later years go back and look at the stats to compare, and what voters probably judged when making their decision. But that wasn't the only game Penix was kept scoreless in, as he was the week prior to the Oregon game as well, against Arizona.

Michael Penix Jr.'s 2023 season was more than about stats

Michael Penix Jr. holding Pac-12 title mvp

What made Penix worthy of getting the opportunity to be a Heisman candidate this season, besides his numbers and giving Washington football a 13-0 record, was his ability to stabilize a program, which in turn came from his own stability. After all those years where he was hampered by injuries, the college football world finally got to see what a healthy Michael Penix Jr. could be. And now the Huskies are ranked second in the nation and in the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2016.

Penix may not have walked out the Heisman winner last weekend, finishing second, but he had a season that achieved more than winning a single award ever could. He rebuilt his resume, revived his career, and propelled himself for a greater opportunity at the next level.