2012 Heisman Trophy Race Preview and Predictions
2012 Heisman Trophy
Saturday, December 8, 2012
All odds Courtesy of Bovada
Last season, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III became the 10th quarterback in the last 12 years to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy. The award has been given to college football’s best player every year since 1935.
This year’s crop of Heisman Trophy contenders includes the normal assortment of quarterbacks and running backs with a few wide receivers and defensive players thrown in. However, only five times in the Heisman’s history has a a non-quarterback or running back won the award. The last was Charles Woodson in 1997, a cornerback/punt returner for Michigan. In the last 12 years, running backs Reggie Bush and Mark Ingram were the only non-quarterbacks to win the award, and Bush later had to vacate the award.
Here is a pre-season look at the favorites and contenders for the 2012 Heisman Trophy with odds courtesy of Bovada. Keep in mind, that in the last two seasons the player who ended up winning was a long shot at best in the pre-season odds. Griffin was 20/1 and Cam newton wasn’t even listed in the odds in 2010. Both are now in the NFL, and were top two picks in the first round.
Matt Barkley – Senior Quarterback USC (3/1)
Barkley likely would have been a top 10 pick in this year’s NFL draft but he came back to USC for his senior season to compete for a national title. USC has been on probation for the last two years, and was ineligible for the Pac 12 title and postseason play.
Last season, Barkley threw for 3,528 yards with a 69.1% completion percentage. Barkley threw 39 touchdown passes with only 7 interceptions. He also rushed for 2 touchdowns. Barkley’s quarterback rating was 161.2, and he was sacked only 8 times.
Barkley is very talented obviously and barring injury will be the #1 pick in the 2013 draft. However, sometimes the pressure of being the favorite is difficult to deal with. Mark Ingram was favored to repeat in 2010 after the Alabama running back won it in 2009. However, he battled injury and was never a real contender. Last year, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was the heavy favorite but ended up as the runner up for the second year in a row as RG3 had a brilliant season and took the award.
I think Barkley will certainly be a finalist in New York, and could very well win it. He has arguably the best receiving corps in the nation with Robert Woods and Marquise Lee.
Montee Ball – Senior Running Back Wisconsin (5/1)
Ball led the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns last year with 1,923 and 33 respectively. He had 303 carries and averaged 6.1 yards a carry. Ball also had 24 catches for 306 yards with 6 touchdowns. He also would have been a high draft pick in this year’s NFL draft, but came back for his senior season.
Ball needs 18 total touchdowns and 19 rushing touchdowns to break the NCAA marks in those categories. Barring injury he should reach those by mid-season or at least by November. Ball has scored at least one touchdown in 20 straight games, and has never lost a fumble in 617 career touches.
Ball should be a finalist for the Heisman, and has a good chance of winning.
Denard Robinson – Senior Quarterback Michigan (11/2)
Robinson is probably the best dual threat quarterback in the nation. The Michigan senior passed for 2,173 yards with a 55 percent completion percentage. He threw 20 touchdowns and threw 15 interceptions. His QB rating was 139.7. Those numbers aren’t great but Robinson is more dangerous with his legs. He had 221 carries for 1,176 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was tied for 12th nationally in rushing touchdowns.
Robinson needs to cut down on his interceptions. If he can do that, he should make it to New York.
Landry Jones – Senior Quarterback Oklahoma (7/1)
Like Barkley, Jones would have been a high first round draft pick, but returned for his senior season. The Oklahoma senior was third nationally in passing yards with 4,463 yards and had a completion percentage of 63.2%. Jones threw 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He was sacked 10 times and had a rating of 141.6. Jones also rushed for two touchdowns. He struggled late in the season after his top receiver Ryan Broyles tore his ACL.
Jones’ receiving corps is rather thin but he still has the talented Kenny Stills. Jones should put up more fantastic numbers in coach Bob Stoops’ prolific passing offense. He looks to become the third Oklahoma quarterback since 2003 to win the Heisman, joining Jason White and Sam Bradford.
Geno Smith – Senior Quarterback West Virginia (15/2)
West Virginia and quarterback Geno Smith move from the Big East to the Big 12 this season. Smith should fit right in with great quarterbacks in the league including Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Kansas St’s Collin Klein, Texas Tech’s Seth Doege, and fellow conference newcomer TCU’s Casey Pachall.
Smith threw for 4,385 yards last year with a completion percentage of 65.8%. Smith was 4th nationally in passing yards. He threw 31 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He was sacked 26 times but had a quarterback rating of 152.6. Smith rushed for 2 touchdowns as well.
Smith is a great quarterback but his line needs to protect him better this season. If he keeps getting hit like he did last year, he could risk injury.
Aaron Murray – Junior Quarterback Georgia (15/1)
Murray threw for 3,149 yards last year with a completion percentage of 59.1%. Murray had 35 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions. His had a QB rating of 146.4, but was sacked 32 times. He had two rushing touchdowns.
Murray plays in the rugged SEC known for their tough defenses. It makes his stats even more impressive, but like Smith, he needs more protection from the line. Murray will battle Alabama’s A.J. McCarron and Arkansas’s Tyler Wilson for the title of best quarterback in the SEC.
Marcus Lattimore – Junior Running Back South Carolina (15/1)
Despite missing the last six games of the season including the Capital One Bowl with a knee injury, Lattimore rushed for 818 yards and 10 touchdowns on 163 carries. He also caught 19 passes and a touchdown. Despite the injury, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says Lattimore will be ready to go by the start of the regular season.
If he was healthy last year, Lattimore might have battled Ball for the rushing title. We don’t know how the torn ACL will affect his movement and explosive quickness. It is hard to pick him with the uncertainty.
Tyler Wilson – Senior Quarterback Arkansas (16/1)
Wilson was the first team All-SEC quarterback last year. He passed for 3,638 yards with a completion percentage of 63.2%. Wilson threw 24 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He was sacked 26 times and had a rating of 148.4. Wilson had 4 rushing touchdowns.
It is hard for quarterbacks in the SEC to put up the gaudy video game numbers they do in other conferences because of the bruising defenses in the conference. He could make it to New York, but I would be surprised.
A.J. McCarron – Junior Quarterback Alabama (20/1)
Last season, McCarron threw for 2,634 yards with a completion percentage of 66.8%. He threw 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. McCarron had a QB rating of 147.3 and was sacked 13 times. He had 2 rushing touchdowns as well.
McCarron is a solid quarterback but simply doesn’t put up the numbers required to win the Heisman.
De’Anthony Thomas – Sophomore Running Back Oregon (20/1)
The electrifying Thomas is one of the fastest players in the nation. He rushed for 595 yards on just 55 carries, for an average of 10.8 yards a carry. He had 7 rushing touchdowns. Thomas led the Ducks in receiving yards with 605 on 46 catches and had 9 touchdown catches. Thomas also returned kicks and punts, and had 2 kickoff returns for touchdowns. His 18 total touchdowns were tied for 12th in the nation.
His numbers expect to increase as LaMichael James is now in the NFL. He will still be the number 2 running back behind Kenjon Barner but will get more carries. Thomas could get some votes but Oregon playing late games on the West Coast might prevent some east coast voters from seeing him.
Tyrann Mathieu – Junior Cornerback LSU (35/1)
No defensive player has won the Heisman other than Charles Woodson in 1997. If any player has a chance it is the popular Mathieu, nicknamed the Honey Badger. He racked up the awards and accolades last year. He was the SEC and national defensive player of the year, won the Bednarik award, was a first team All-American and All-SEC at both cornerback and return specialist, and was also a Heisman finalist.
Mathieu led the SEC in forced fumbles with 6 and fumble recoveries with 5. He also led LSU in tackles with 76 including 59 solo tackles. Mathieu also recorded 7.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, and 9 pass break-ups. Mathieu also was second in the SEC and 4th nationally in punt return average with 15.6 yards per return with 2 touchdowns.
Here is the complete list of odds to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy courtesy of Bovada. One glaring omission is Kansas St quarterback Collin Klein who had over 3,000 combined rushing and passing yards and 40 total touchdowns last season. He was second in rushing touchdowns in the country with 27. Bovada also doesn’t offer a field wager.
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