While the average college student is probably enjoying their summer vacation and sad to see that July is almost over, fans of college football know that the 2014-2015 season is just weeks away. This year, Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington will kick off on August 23, the earliest that the college football season has started in the last 11 years. And while we don’t expect either the Bearkats or the Eagles to be competing in the championship game in January, you can bet that many fans will tune in just to get their first look into live college football since last season ended with Florida State beating Auburn in an epic National Championship showdown. Like us, we know you are counting down the days until the season starts. In the meantime, here is a look at the projected Heisman Trophy candidates and the odds that you can place for prop bets.
Jameis Winston returns to defend his Heisman Trophy from last season, while also looking to lead his Seminoles to their second straight National Championship. This past summer was a tumultuous one for Winston, as he dealt with the fame and recognition that comes with being a Heisman Trophy winner and National Champion. He’ll be looking to get past that, as he starts out with the best odds to win his second straight Heisman at 7/2 odds. Winston threw for over 4,000 yards last season, while also racking up 40 touchdowns. He’ll look to improve upon his 66% completion percentage, as this could be a huge year for him to determine whether or not he wants to enter the NFL in 2015. In the mean time, we’ll be keeping a close eye on Jameis Winston to see if he can repeat the same success he had last year.
While Jameis Winston and the Seminoles have the best odds in the nation to win the National Championship in 2015 at 6/1, Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks will be hoping that this is their year for success. Mariota is now entering his third season with the Ducks and is on the Heisman watch at 9/2 odds. Last season Mariota threw for 3,665 yards and found the end zone on 31 different occasions. This will be Mariota’s second year with Mark Helfrich, who took over last year after Chip Kelly left for the Philadelphia Eagles. With the success that the Ducks have had in recent years, it’s hard to imagine anything different this season. However, the whole world will be watching Mariota to see if he can finally lead his team to the promise land past powerhouses from the SEC and other top conferences in the nation.
Braxton Miller was off an on last season as he led the Buckeyes to a 12-2 record. However, it looks like the odds makers think that he’ll be more on than off this season, as he comes in at 15/2 odds to win the Heisman Trophy. Miller missed three big games at the end of last season, including one that was a loss to Michigan State in the final game of the season before playing Clemson in the Orange Bowl. And while Miller did return for the Orange Bowl, Ohio State came up short with a 40-35 loss. In his second year as the first string quarterback, Miller had a career high in passing yards with 2,094. He also had an adjusted QBR of 81.5, which ranked among the best in all of college football. The biggest concern that Urban Myer and the rest of the fans at Ohio State have are about Miller’s durability. If he can stay healthy, he’ll likely be right there in the conversation for the Heisman with Mariota and Winston as the season progresses.
Bryce Petty had some big shoes to fill when Robert Griffin III left Baylor for the NFL. In his first season, Petty answered the call and put up 4,200 yards of passing and found the end zone on 32 different occasions. In his second year as the first string starter, Petty aims to be the second quarterback in Baylor history to win the Heisman. He currently sits at 9/1 odds, and you can check back with sportspicks.com handicappers throughout the season to see how the Bears do with Petty leading things.
Rounding out the list of forerunners for next year’s Heisman Trophy is Brett Hundley. After seriously considering entering the NFL, Hundley returns as not just a candidate for the Heisman, but he could also be a top pick in next years NFL Draft. Last year Hundley completed 67% of his passes for 3,071 yards and 24 touchdowns. Hundley also helped lead the Bruins to a huge 42-12 win over Virginia in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. UCLA also has 15/1 odds to win the NCAA Championship in 2015, so you can bet that fans in Los Angeles will be hoping that Hundley can live up to the expectations.
As with every year, we expect plenty of other players to find their way into the Heisman conversation as the season progresses. However, with the showing that each of these players put on last year, they are solid bets to be among the finalist as we get closer to January.
Here are some other players to keep an eye on this upcoming season:
Todd Gurley & TJ Yeldon: 14/1 odds
Nick Marshall: 20/1
Everett Golson: 22/1
Melvin Gordon, Mike Davis, & Trevor Knight: 25/1