Quarterback Spencer Rattler of Oklahoma has been tabbed the early Heisman Trophy betting favorite at 3/1 odds (Bet $100 to win $300) per BetMGM. That's always been a common trend with this award, but 2020 saw things play out different.
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Of course there are already ’21 Heisman Trophy Odds
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Will a Mountain West player have a shot?
Even before Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy for this season, odds on the 2021 race were out even prior to the announcement.
- The Heisman runner-up in 2018, Tagovailoa is again among the early Heisman favorites for the upcoming season. His performance against Clemson in the CFP title game was forgettable, but aside from the finale, where he was not 100 percent healthy, Tua’s 2018 season was remarkable from a number of standpoints.
- Nick Polak from Roar Lions Roar has more on Clifford’s odds to win the 2021 Heisman Trophy, which were listed at 90-to-1 by Sports Betting Dime on Wednesday. Clifford played his best football in.
- Burrow was widely considered a fringe draft pick before last season, while Murray seemed destined for the baseball diamond after succeeding 2017 winner Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma.
These odds for next year are basically for fun but we like to have fun and especially so when it involves a Mountain West player. We know that winning the Heisman from a non-power conference has not happened since BYU’s Ty Detmer won it in 1990 and just a few times since has players outside of those leagues have even been a finalist.
Over at BetOnline, they released these way-too-early odds, and at the top are the usual suspects from schools like USC, Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia.
The one Mountain West player on the list is Nevada quarterback Carson Strong. He was the conference player of the year and was amazing. His odds are 25/1 which are good for 22nd, so not great.
His numbers this year rivaled Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence who finished second in the award, but there is a double-standard since Lawrence played for a playoff team and the Wolf Pack did not.
It also depends on what players return to Reno for the upcoming year and there is no bigger name than Romeo Doubs who was a deep threat machine who averaged over 17 yards per catch and had many catches over 50 yards. Doubs returning to town would help Strong make a case by throwing the ball to one of the best wide receivers in the country.
It will take an elite year and Strong to have Nevada around the top 10 to just be a finalist but once you are a finalist then anything can happen.
Early Heisman Odds
Spencer Rattler – Oklahoma 5/1
D.J. Uiagalelei – Clemson 7/1
Sam Howell – UNC 7/1
Bryce Young – Alabama 12/1
D’Eriq King – Miami 12/1
JT Daniels – Georgia 12/1
Kedon Slovis – USC 12/1
Breece Hall – Iowa State 14/1
Brian Robinson Jr. – Alabama 14/1
Emory Jones – Florida 14/1
Jayden Daniels – Arizona State 14/1
Michael Penix Jr. – Indiana 14/1
Tyler Shough – Oregon 14/1
Bijan Robinson – Texas 16/1
Brock Purdy – Iowa State 16/1
Graham Mertz – Wisconsin 16/1
Kyren Williams – Notre Dame 16/1
Deuce Vaughn – Kansas State 18/1
Isaiah Spiller – Texas A&M 18/1
Matt Corral – Ole Miss 18/1
Kevin Harris – South Carolina 20/1
Carson Strong – Nevada 25/1
Dillon Gabriel – UCF 25/1
Grayson McCall – Coastal Carolina 25/1
John Metchie III – Alabama 25/1
Jordan Addison – Pitt 25/1
Zay Flowers – Boston College 25/1
Technically, the Heisman Trophy is awarded to college football's most outstanding player. In reality, the award is given to the most outstanding player who was at his best when playing in the national spotlight.
Never was this reality more evident than in 2011. Robert Griffin III shined in nationally televised prime-time games against TCU and Oklahoma, while Andrew Luck actually looked mortal against USC and Oregon. The result was a fairly lopsided vote, in what had initially appeared to be one of the closest Heisman races in recent memory.
With that in mind, the following isn't necessarily a list of the best players in college football, or a projection of how the 2012 Heisman race will play out. Instead, the candidates are ranked in order of who has the best opportunity -- based on likely nationally televised games, team expectations and general public perception -- to hoist the trophy in December.
To determine each player's ranking, various plausible scenarios were run through the Heisman Predictor -- a formula designed to predict the Heisman winner based on various individual and team statistics. Throughout the season, candidates earn Predictor points based on their overall stats, as well as their performances in major games to account for the all-important 'Heisman moments.'
The Predictor allows for players to earn these points in a variety of ways, which accounts for the fact that no Heisman winner's résumé looks the same. For this reason, we've also included the most realistic winning résumé each candidate could put together, along with his expected Predictor points.
1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC Trojans
While the results of the last few seasons have bucked this trend, historically, Heisman voters are drawn to players from traditional powers who enter the year as household names. If Barkley, coming off a sixth-place finish in the Heisman voting, simply matches his statistics from 2011 and leads USC to a BCS bowl game, he'll be a serious contender.
Barkley's biggest challenge could be USC's schedule. It's tough to win the award without playing on the national stage, and Barkley may not get many opportunities. The toughest opponent on the Trojans' schedule is Oregon, which, after losing Darron Thomas and LaMichael James to the NFL, may not be able to provide Barkley with the challenge he needs.
Barkley's Heisman scenario: Lead USC to BCS National Championship Game, 40+ TD; 150 Predictor points
2. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia Bulldogs
Murray will be a newcomer to the Heisman discussion in 2012, but Georgia's favorable schedule gives him an excellent chance to make a serious run at the award. Navigating through the SEC is never an easy task, but Georgia avoids the LSU Tigers, Arkansas Razorbacks and Alabama Crimson Tide this year (as it did in 2011), which should make the Bulldogs heavy favorites to win the SEC East. 888 poker rakeback. If Murray can lead them to a win over the division rival South Carolina Gamecocks, Georgia should cruise into the SEC title game.
There is a downside to Georgia's relatively favorable schedule, however. Aside from their showdown with South Carolina, it's unlikely that any of the Bulldogs' regular-season games will be played in the national spotlight. For this reason, Murray's candidacy could come down to his final game. With a strong performance in the SEC championship, Murray could make a late surge if no one has established himself as the front-runner. A loss, however, likely would ruin any hope of even making a trip to New York City for the ceremony.
Murray's Heisman scenario: Lead Georgia to undefeated season; 139 Predictor points
3. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas Razorbacks
The best offensive player in the SEC has finished in the top three of the Heisman voting in each of the past six years, winning three times. Who that player will be in 2012 is up for debate, but Wilson is certainly in the mix.
The only reason Wilson isn't ranked ahead of Murray is due to Arkansas' placement in the SEC West, the same division as LSU and Alabama. Regardless of his stats, if Arkansas doesn't win its division and advance to the SEC championship game, Wilson will be out of sight, out of mind on the final weekend before the Heisman voting. And you can ask Luck and Trent Richardson how that turns out.
Wilson's Heisman scenario: Lead Arkansas to BCS Championship Game; 140.5 Predictor points
4. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan Wolverines
For the third consecutive season Robinson will be in the Heisman conversation, and thanks to Michigan's preseason expectations, he may have a legitimate shot at winning this time around. The one glaring piece missing from Robinson's Heisman résumé the past two seasons has been a signature victory. But he'll have his chance this year when the Wolverines face Alabama on opening weekend.
Robinson's Heisman scenario: Beat Alabama, 40+ TD, lead Michigan to BCS bowl game; 132.5 Predictor points
5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina Gamecocks
Having never finished in the top 10 of the Heisman voting, technically Lattimore won't receive an edge in the Predictor. However, Lattimore was a serious contender until suffering a season-ending injury in 2011, which means most voters are already familiar with his play. As a result, Lattimore should be in the race this season so long as he stays on the field.
As Richardson and Montee Ball learned this past year, running backs have little chance of winning the Heisman without first leading their team to the national title game. For this reason, Lattimore is a bit of a long shot, but South Carolina should enter the year in the preseason top 10, giving him some hope.
One advantage Lattimore does have, however, is South Carolina's schedule, which could feature as many as four regular-season games against top-10 opponents this year -- a brutal schedule compared with Georgia's relatively light slate of games. While the schedule hurts the Gamecocks' national championship hopes, it also provides Lattimore with plenty of opportunities to shine on the national stage. With consistently strong performances in these games, regardless of the outcome, he could remain in the mix despite a few losses.
Lattimore's Heisman scenario: 20+ TD, lead South Carolina to BCS title game; 131.5 Predictor points
6. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma Sooners
Typically, high-profile players have a leg up on other contenders entering the year, but that might not be the case for Jones in 2012. As a preseason favorite in 2011, Jones failed to live up to expectations and dropped out of the race altogether by season's end. Now, as a four-year starter, Jones will face expectations that are higher than ever -- and simply meeting them might not be enough.
That said, Jones certainly has the potential to win over his doubters. Oklahoma's offensive scheme is favorable for Heisman candidates, as Jason White and Sam Bradford can attest. Additionally, the Sooners have two games, against the Texas Longhorns and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, which are sure to receive national attention.
Jones' Heisman scenario: Lead Oklahoma to undefeated season; 148.0 Predictor points
7. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide
Early Heisman Contenders
Lacy might be the least recognizable name on this list, but we'll know if he's a legitimate contender before September is over. Two of Alabama's first three games are in Cowboys Stadium against Michigan on opening weekend, and then at Arkansas just two weeks later. If Lacy can lead the Crimson Tide to wins in both games he will quickly climb the rankings, potentially establishing himself as a very early favorite.
Lacy's Heisman scenario: 20+ TD, lead Alabama to national title game; 141.5 Predictor points
8. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin Badgers
As a general rule of thumb, you need a career year to win the Heisman, and it will be incredibly difficult for Ball to surpass his 2011 numbers. However, Ball does have the ability to lead Wisconsin to new heights. Should Ball match his totals from a season ago, and lead the Badgers to their first BCS title game, it could be enough to win over the voters who weren't impressed enough by his 39 total touchdowns this past season.
Ball's Heisman scenario: 30+ TD, lead Wisconsin to BCS title game; 151.5 Predictor points
9. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia Mountaineers
No one from the Big East has finished in the top three of the Heisman voting since Larry Fitzgerald in 2003. If anyone can put an end to that streak, however, it's Smith playing in Dana Holgorsen's high-flying offense.
For Smith to win he'll need to put up Robert Griffin III-like numbers (at least 50 touchdowns), but if the Orange Bowl was any indication of what's to come in 2012, Smith has the potential to make a serious run at the award.
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Smith's Heisman scenario: 50+ TD, lead West Virginia to Big East title; 149 Predictor points
10. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon Ducks
A few weeks ago it was hard to imagine Barner as a legitimate Heisman candidate. But with Thomas and James bolting for the NFL, Barner has suddenly emerged as the star of the Ducks' offense.
As a relatively unknown contender, Barner enters the season at a disadvantage, but starring in Chip Kelly's offense should quickly solve that problem. Assuming he posts numbers similar to James' stats from the past two seasons, Barner should be in contention.
The key to Barner's candidacy will be how he performs against USC. Running backs are at a disadvantage in the Heisman voting already, and it would be nearly impossible to overcome a loss in a head-to-head battle with Barkley.
Early Heisman Favorite For 2022 Football
Another obstacle Barner might need to overcome is his own teammate, De'Anthony Thomas. As a true freshman in 2011, Thomas racked up 1,200 yards from scrimmage and 16 total touchdowns, and will likely see an increased role this season. With two similar players excelling on the same team, it might be difficult for either to build momentum in the Heisman race.
2019 Early Heisman Favorites
Barner's Heisman scenario: 20+ TD, beat USC, lead Oregon to Pac-12 title; 132 Predictor points
Early Heisman Favorites 2021
Other candidates (in alphabetical order): Tajh Boyd, Clemson Tigers; Collin Klein, Kansas State Wildcats; Tyrann Mathieu, LSU Tigers; Braxton Miller, Ohio State Buckeyes; Keith Price, Washington Huskies; Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech Hokies; Sammy Watkins, Clemson Tigers; Robert Woods, USC Trojans
Early Heisman Candidates
Ryan McCrystal is the developer of the Heisman Predictor formula and writes about it every week of the college football season for Insider. He has missed only once, in 2009, and is determined to pick the right winner again this season. Check out his full archives here and follow him on Twitter here.