The Heisman Trophy presentation is still half a year away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about it. Or to bet on it, for that matter. Heisman Trophy college football odds for the upcoming NCAA football season have popped up this week, and there is a lot to find interesting from among them. Here’s a look at some of the highlights and lowlights (odds here are taken from 5Dimes):
Mark Ingram, Alabama (+380) – It’s no real surprise that the defending champ is the favorite again this year. I’m not at all convinced that he’s good value at this price, though. His team is still going to be strong, and so is he, but it could be a much tougher race for the trophy this year. Last year he certainly deserved to win, but he got helped by the fact that none of the other high profile players seemed to want to win it. This year there are a lot of quarterbacks who could put up big numbers, and it’s hard to like a running back for the Heisman when there are quarterbacks who are deserving.
Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State (+550) – The Buckeyes should be the class of the Big Ten again, and Pryor is coming off a strong bowl performance. Unfortunately that capped an inconsistent and frustrating season. Pryor has ridiculous athleticism, and it can take a while for a player like him to get it all together, but this seems like too much of a gamble at this price. He has real Heisman skills, but this price is too low.
Jake Locker, Washington (+800) – On the plus side, Locker has ridiculous skills, he’s a senior, and he has high profile as a potential high first round pick in the draft after this season. On the downside his team isn’t great, and he has struggled to stay healthy. I expect his best season yet, but the Heisman is too much of a leap for me.
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas (+1200) – As a Michigan fan it will kill me if Mallett wins the Heisman after bolting form the Wolverines. It certainly could happen, though. Mallett has a ridiculous arm, and he’s going to be given every chance to through it this season under Bobby Petrino. His numbers were very nice last year, and if they take another step forward he’ll be a serious contender.
Case Keenum, Houston (+1500) – This is a sucker bet. Keenum is going to put up massive numbers in his pass happy offense, and it just won’t matter. Heisman voters don’t respect any numbers that can be viewed as remotely gimmicky, and Houston’s offense certainly fits into that group. Keenum will be lucky to be a finalist no matter what he does.
Dion Lewis, Pitt (+1500) – This is where I am directing my running back love this year and I like Lewis as a free college football pick for this article. Lewis was ridiculously good as a freshman last year, and now he has another year of experience under his belt, and he’ll get the chance to shine right out of the gate. There’s a good chance that he’ll clearly be the best player in his conference by a wide margin, and that’s a good start for Heisman consideration.
Kellen Moore, Boise State (+1700) – This price is packed with value. Moore put up ridiculous numbers last year, and led his team to a huge win in the Fiesta Bowl. He finished seventh in Heisman voting last year, and his team this year could be even better than it was then. He has an entire offense returning to play with, so he’ll be comfortable from the outset. He’s only a junior this year, so he’s going to keep improving along the way. Moore should be among the clear favorites in my eyes.
Andrew Luck, Stanford (+1800) – I was lucky enough to watch Luck play a few times last year, and it was a treat. As a redshirt freshman he led Stanford past both Oregon and USC and looked ridiculously good doing so. He is fantastic. This is probably a year too soon for serious Heisman consideration for Luck, but the Pac-10 should be wide open this year, so if Stanford can emerge then he could be a factor. His biggest problem is that he won’t have the security blanket of Toby Gerhart out of the backfield.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State (+2500) – Am I the only one that feels like Rodgers has been around for about 100 years? He might be ageless, but he’s also very flashy. He’s going to make some highlights reels this year like always, and he’ll be able to put up some big numbers as well. he has a couple of big problems, though. Most obviously, he plays in the center of irrelevance at Oregon State. He’s also one of those flashy speed demon types that Heisman voters don’t seem to give a ton of respect to. There have been a lot of guys in his mold who haven’t won the award.
Tate Forcier, Michigan (+3500) – Worst bet on the board. He went from very good to very lousy as the season progressed last year, and now it’s far from certain that he’ll even be the starter for a Michigan team that still isn’t ready to be a contender.
Robert Griffin, Baylor (+6600) – Griffin is the intriguing longshot on the board. He’s coming back from an ACL injury, so that causes some concerns. If he’s healthy, though, then he’s a ridiculously gifted runner, and he has a great arm. He was highly touted before his injury last year, so it would only take a couple of big performances to get him back on the public radar again.