Week 5 threw a wrench into the National Championship odds, with Florida State’s second scare in as many weeks, dropping it to the third favorite. Alabama
is now the favorite at +600, and Oklahoma is close behind at +700 ahead of the Seminoles (+750). As for the Heisman picture, it remained the same at the
very top but is fluctuating wildly behind Marcus Mariota. Todd Gurley and the similarly-impressive Kenny Hill are hot on Mariota’s trail.
Odds provided by Sportsbook.ag
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (+150)
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Mariota and Oregon were off last week, which was surely just fine with the junior quarterback. That means more time to bask in the glory of a stellar
performance against Washington State in which he completed 21-of-25 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns. It also means extra rest in advance of the
Ducks’ next two games against Pac-12 adversaries that are both 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play. Oregon hosts Arizona on Thursday and will visit UCLA
the following week on Oct. 11. For the season, Mariota is 71-of-96 for 1,135 yards and 13 scores. He has also rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (+350)
If the Heisman is truly given to the best player in college football, Gurley would have to be the favorite or at worst a co-favorite with Mariota. If it is
awarded to the quarterback of the best team, as it often is, then obviously Gurley will be on the outside looking in. Georgia’s star running back has been
going positively wild this season. In his “worst” game of four so far, Gurley averaged 12.2 yards per carry (he got just six against Troy because the
Bulldogs won 66-0). In a much more competitive affair versus Tennessee last weekend, the junior erupted with 28 rushes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. He
also produced several highlight-reel plays by running over—and jumping over—hapless Volunteer defenders. For the season, Gurley has 69 carries for
610 yards (8.8 average) and six scores.
Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M (+500)
For now, it does not look like Mariota is going to lose the Heisman. Someone else will have to go out and win it if Oregon’s
signal-caller is going to be deprived of the stiff-armed statue. Both Gurley and Hill are showing signs of doing just that. Hill already had the stats to
beef up his resume through three games; now he has a signature comeback win, too. Texas A&M outscored Arkansas 14-0 in the fourth quarter of last
Saturday’s game to force overtime before prevailing 35-28. Hill threw for 386 yards and four touchdowns, improving his season statistics to 1,745 passing
yards and 17 scores (compared to just two interceptions).
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska (+800)
Abdullah was not really on the Heisman radar after he rushed for just 54 yards against McNeese State and a mediocre 119 in Nebraska’s win at Fresno State.
Well, you can bet he is now. The senior running back exploded for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries in a 41-31 victory over Miami (FL) two weeks
ago. He followed up that performance by rushing 22 times for 208 yards and two scores last Saturday against Illinois. Only one of the last eight Heismans
has been won by a running back (Mark Ingram, 2009), but Abdullah and Gurley are making it a possibility in 2014.
Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame (+800)
A whopping 34 of Golson’s 39 pass attempts last weekend against Syracuse were caught. Unfortunately for the Notre Dame senior, two found the hands of
Orange defenders. Still, those are Golson’s only two interceptions of the year, and they came along with four passing touchdowns as the Irish rolled 31-15.
Through four contests of what continues to look like a season of redemption for Golson, he has completed 94-of-135 attempts (69.6 percent) for 1,142 yards
and 11 touchdowns. Two of ND’s next three games are against Stanford and Florida. This stretch is where Golson’s Heisman fate will be determined.
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (+1200)
Hundley was questionable to play in last Thursday night’s Pac-12 showdown at Arizona State due to an elbow injury. Well, it’s safe to say Hundley played.
UCLA’s junior quarterback completed 18-of-23 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns without throwing an interception. He also carried eight times for 72
yards and another score. Unfortunately for Hundley, his numbers are not gaudy compared to those of the other contenders. In two of the Bruins’ four games
he has not found the endzone through the air (in part because he was injured early against Texas).
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (+1500)
Mississippi State’s upset of LSU in Death Valley on Sept. 20 was Prescott’s coming out party. He has done nothing wrong since (he has done nothing at all,
in fact), but an off week can only be a bad week for current Heisman contenders based on the strength of fellow hopefuls like Gurley and Hill. After his
heroics in the Bayou, where he threw for 268 yards and ran for 105 while accounting for three total touchdowns, Prescott was the third favorite for the
award at +1000. No matter that other guys have blown by him; the junior will soon have his chance(s) to turn the tide. In the next two weeks, the Bulldogs’
are going up against Texas A&M and Auburn. Get your popcorn ready for Prescott vs. Hill!
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