Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix, and Jayden Daniels are all vying for the Heisman Trophy.

The trio of quarterbacks will be joined at the New York City ceremony by Ohio State wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. on Saturday night, but the award is expected to go to a passer. Daniels is the favorite after an outstanding season with LSU.

Washington’s argument for Penix is not that his numbers are better than Daniels — they’re not — or that LSU’s quarterback is somehow undeserving of the award — he’s absolutely a deserving recipient — but that Penix has been just as outstanding this season while leading his team to the College Football Playoff.

The Huskies are 13-0 and the No. 2 seed in the CFP field.

Former USC quarterback and current Pac-12 Network analyst Max Browne says if there was an SEC quarterback with a 13-0 record, a conference title under his belt, and the numbers Penix had, Daniels wouldn’t be the heavy favorite he is.

“If you slapped an SEC team sticker on the side of Michael Penix Jr.’s helmet, this whole Heisman race and the conversation around it is completely different,” Browne said in a video shared on social media Friday. “Jayden Daniels has earned the right to hoist the Heisman Trophy, this isn’t one of those videos. I respect his game and his journey as a college football quarterback.

“But I truly believe that if an undefeated SEC quarterback with first-round NFL talent did the following — orchestrated a game-winning drive against their top-10 rival with the whole country watching, out-dueled the reigning Heisman Trophy winner with the whole country watching, went 5-0 vs. ranked teams … That quarterback wins the Heisman if he’s in the SEC.”

In those wins over ranked opponents — and Browne threw Arizona into the mix as the current No. 14 team, though they weren’t ranked at the time of the meeting — Penix has averaged 320 yards passing with 14 total touchdowns and just two interceptions.

This year’s Heisman discussion features a fascinating subplot. The two Pac-12 passers vying for the award transferred into the conference from perceived tougher leagues. Penix left the Big Ten. Nix left the SEC. The SEC’s quarterback came from the Pac-12.

Given its reputation as the toughest conference year in and year out, Daniels’ ascension should be viewed even more favorably.

Browne said he disagrees with the premise the Pac-12 passers should be dismissed because of the SEC’s standing, at least for this season.

“Not this year it wasn’t. The SEC was 7-9 in nonconference Power Five matchups. The Pac-12 was 7-3. The SEC has earned their rep, they’ve consistently delivered over the past decade in college football but this year that wasn’t the case,” Browne said. “The Pac-12 was the strongest conference in college football.

“Can you imagine a three-loss, non-conference champion this heavy of a Heisman favorite? No way.”

Penix leads the nation in passing, with 4,218 yards and 33 touchdowns.

The winner of the 2023 Heisman Trophy will be announced on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.