The calendar flips over to July, and certain things just start happening that remind you that college football season is almost here — Phil Steele's preview magazine showing up in the mail, a Florida State quarterback getting arrested for assault, and yes, gambling odds beginning to trickle out on futures for things like conference titles, win totals, and postseason awards.
The preseason Heisman Trophy odds are out, and they're fairly similar to the first round of Heisman odds that were released back in February. There have been a few tweaks here and there, but nothing earth shattering. Hell, we still don't even know which Ohio State quarterback will be starting this season (so all three made the board, amazing). Hell, they even added my sleeper from the post back in February — welcome to the party, Malik Zaire! 50-1 shot!
Let's dig into these odds, and comment where necessary….
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU … ...……. 6/1
Boykin has everything you're looking for in a Heisman favorite candidate. Leading returning vote getter? Check. Dual threat in high octane offense? Check. Top five team with a real chance at a College Football Playoff berth? Check. Normally being among the favorites would be a curse, at least it was from 2009 through 2013, but Marcus Mariota's campaign last season is the template for Boykin.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State ….…. 7/1
Elliott's Heisman campaign is built on the strength of his close out to the 2014 season, in which he ran for nearly 700 yards in three wins against Wisconsin (Big Ten title game), Alabama (national semifinal), and Oregon (national title game), He wound up with over 1,800 yards and 18 TD's, and will play for a team in the title mix. The main concern with Elliott is splitting votes with….
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State ….. 10/1
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State …..20/1
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State ……….25/1
….whoever starts at quarterback for the Buckeyes. I don't know if we will ever see this again, three quarterbacks from the same team in the preseason Heisman odds. The weird thing is that Miller has the shortest Heisman odds, yet I feel like he's the longest shot to be the starter. Obvious Heisman play among these three guys is Barrett, on value alone. I think he has a great chance to win the job, and if he does, 25/1 is off-the-charts good value.
Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn …….10/1
QB in a Gus Malzahn offense is not a horrible play.
Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia …………10/1
When Todd Gurley went down with his season ending injury, Chubb took over and dominated. He carries a streak of eight straight 100 yard games into this season, and was second in the SEC with nearly 1,600 yards rushing last season.
Cody Kessler, QB, USC …………...12/1
Well, he's a USC quarterback from the West Coast whose name is Cody, so not only is he probably going to get a ridiculous amount of ass, he will also get plenty of preseason attention. Kessler kind of quietly threw for almost 4,000 yards last season with a sparkling 39/5 TD/INT ratio.
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi St… 12/1
Bad value here, not because Prescott isn't a good player, but because Mississippi State is going to lose at least 4 or 5 games this season.
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU ……..14/1
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama ……..16/1
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson …16/1
Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA …………..20/1
Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma …..20/1
Connor Cook, QB, Michigan St …. 25/1
Texan fans will want to watch Cook, if for no other reason than he feels like a Bill O'Brien kind of quarterback, and he could be a target in next spring's draft. Cook returned for his senior year and a shot at a national title, so you like his moxie. The Spartan offense doesn't lend itself to eye popping numbers, so he will have to win lots and lots of games.
Everett Golson, QB, Florida St ….. 251
Golson was a frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy about six weeks into the 2014 season. His season peaked, ironically, in a loss to Florida State where he stood in toe to toe with Jameis Winston and almost led Notre Dame to the upset. Now, Golson replaces WInston in Tallahassee. He will have to protect the football better if he's going to keep the starting job, much less win a Heisman.
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Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon …….33/1
Seth Russell, QB, Baylor ………….33/1
Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami …………...40/1
Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin ….40/1
D.J. Foster, WR, Arizona State …..40/1
Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State ….40/1
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh …..40/1
Justin Thomas, QB, GA Tech …... 40/1
Jared Goff, QB, California ………..50/1
Malik Zaire, QB, Notre Dame ……50/1
Hey look, it's Golson's replacement and my February Heisman sleeper! Zaire is playing for a team that returns 18 starters, plays a manageable schedule, and has NFL talent all over the place on offense. Needless to say, he will get plenty of exposure, being the Irish QB and all. 50/1 is great value here.
Mason Rudolph, QB, Ok St …….. 50/1
Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona ………..50/1
Taysom Hill, QB, BYU ……………50/1
Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State …100/1
Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee …...100/1
Marquise Williams, QB, UNC ….100/1
Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona ……100/1
Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh …….100/1
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.