Two thousand twelve was good to Johnny Manziel, and 2013 is off to a phenomenal start.
Of course, there was the 41-13 trouncing of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on January 4, where Manziel piled up roughly a billion total yards. But there's been so much more.
It's good to be Johnny Football! My guess is he will enjoy the next seven months sucking the marrow out of the bone of life, but soon the target will be squarely be affixed on the back of ol' number 2!
That's confirmed and reflected in the first set of Heisman Trophy odds for the 2013 season (courtesy of bovada,lv):
Not surprisingly, last year's winner is this year's favorite, with Manziel leading the way at 4/1 (or +400, if you speak in that wagering dialect). We'll examine the list in a little bit more detail in a second, but if you're looking at trends and reasons not to burn money chasing the Johnny Football Express, here are a couple:
1. In the last decade, five players have had a shot at repeating for the Heisman -- Jason White, Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, and Mark Ingram. Three of them were invited back as finalists, none of them won the award. (Ironically, the guy who the repeat attempt went worst for, Bradford, who was injured in the first game of the season, wound up being the number one pick in the draft. Maybe Manziel should hope for a shoulder injury in the season opener. Kidding, Aggies, KIDDING.)
2. If recent history is any indicator, not only will Manziel not win the Heisman, but there's a much better than 50/50 chance nobody on this list will win the Heisman. Of the last six Heisman trophies, four of them have gone to candidates that weren't even on the board at the beginning of the season (Tebow in 2007, Ingram in 2009, Cam Newton in 2010, and Manziel last season). Even the other two Heismans in that span didn't go to heavy favorites: Bradford was a 16/1 shot in 2008, and Robert Griffin III was a 15/1 shot going into 2011.
Here is the big board right now, with comments where deemed necessary:
Johnny Manziel (QB Texas A&M) 4/1 Braxton Miller (QB Ohio State) 7/1 Marquis Lee (WR USC) 9/1 So after Manziel, you have the next two highest returning votegetters from the 2012 Heisman in Miller and Lee. With Ohio State's relatively easy schedule and likely lofty ranking heading into 2013, Miller is much better value than Manziel with almost double the payout. Lee is an awful value at 9/1 considering USC will be breaking in a new quarterback, Robert Woods won't be running on the other side to attract attention, and wide receivers generally don't win this thing.
De'Anthony Thomas (RB Oregon) 10/1 Aaron Murray (QB Georgia) 10/1 My personal favorite on this big board is Murray at 10/1. The schedule is much tougher this season than last season for the Bulldogs, but Manziel showed last season that the tough SEC schedule can be as much opportunity as it is obstacle. Georgia opens with Clemson and South Carolina. 2-0 in those two games would put Murray firmly in the mix. Of course....
Jadeveon Clowney (DE South Carolina) 12/1 ....Clowney will have something to say about that. If you're looking for a Ndamukong Suh-type candidate, he's your guy. Also, he will be the first pick in the 2014 draft. Book that.
A.J. McCarron (QB Alabama) 12/1 Alabama and A&M hook up in the third week of the season in College Station. Look for the quarterback of the winning team to be the following Monday's Heisman darling. Look for both to wind up banging a smoking hot coed after the game.
Duke Johnson (RB Miami) 12/1 Tajh Boyd (QB Clemson) 15/1 Boyd might have been the best quarterback not named "Manziel" by the end of the 2012 season. He will put up crazy numbers in 2013, and like Murray, will have a chance to make an early statement in that UGA-Clemson opener.
Taylor Martinez (QB Nebraska) 15/1 Remember during the BCS title game when Brent Musberger encouraged kids all over the state of Alabama to go outside and begin throwing the ball with their old man because A.J. McCarron managed to bag Miss Alabama? Well, if Martinez wins the Heisman do we encourage kids to go outside and start throwing like a third-grade girl? Ameer Abdullah (RB Nebraska) 18/1 Seriously? Two Nebraska guys in the top 13? Really?
Marcus Mariota (QB Oregon) 18/1 If Chip Kelly were still at Oregon, I'd be all over Mariota at 18/1. Then again, if Chip Kelly were still at Oregon, Mariota wouldn't be 18/1.
T.J. Yeldon (RB Alabama) 18/1 Brett Hundley (QB UCLA) 20/1 Heading into the "may as well burn your money" part of the board. To take a UCLA quarterback, you have to believe UCLA can be a top 5 team. I don't believe that. Not for one goddamn minute.
Lache Seastrunk (RB Baylor) 20/1 I know one guy who's firing on Lache Seastrunk at 20/1...Lache Seastrunk!!
Everett Golson (QB Notre Dame) 22/1 Stephen Morris (QB Miami) 25/1 Blake Bell (QB Oklahoma) 30/1 Pretty bold to place a wager on a guy before we know if he can throw it more than five yards. I'll pass on the Belldozer.
Jeff Driskel (QB Florida) 30/1 Ka'Deem Carey (RB Arizona) 33/1 An Arizona running back...seriously I'd rather put a homeless guy in a sleeper hold and then jam a hundred dollar bill in his unconscious mouth like Ted DiBiase used to do just for fun than bet a hundy on Ka'Deem Carey to win the Heisman.
Devin Gardner (QB Michigan) 40/1 This is actually intriguing. Michigan should be a pretty solid team in Year 3 of the Brady Hoke Era and Gardner was actually more in control of the offense when he played last season than Denard Robinson was.
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Stefon Diggs (WR Maryland) 40/1 Maryland wide receiver....like I said about Carey, find me a homeless guy. I'm ready to slap on that sleeper hold.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.