Bryce Petty Odds to win the 2014 Heisman Trophy
by Dave Schwab - 7/3/2014
The Baylor Bears came into the 2013 college football season as 12/1 fifth-favorites to win the Big 12 Conference on Bovada's futures odds list. They went on to claim the title with an 8-1 mark in conference play as part of an overall record of 11-2.
A big part of that success can be attributed to the play of quarterback Bryce Petty, who finished seventh in last year's Heisman Trophy voting. This time around Bovada has opened the senior gunslinger at 12/1 odds to move all the way to the top of the list. The following is look at why that could be one of the best bets on the board.
Before the start of his third season with the Bears, Petty had thrown a total of 14 passes for 10 completions and 140 yards in his first two years behind quarterbacks such as Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence. He certainly made the most of his opportunity as Baylor's new starting quarterback in 2013 with 403 attempts for 250 completions and 4,200 yards.
Throw in 32 touchdown passes against just three interceptions, and it is easy to see how he ended the season with an overall quarterback rating of 174.3 that was second only to Florida State's Jameis Winston, who just so happened to win last year's Heisman Trophy. You could make a strong argument that Petty's overall numbers were actually better than Winston when it came to throwing the ball. And even though he only ran for 209 yards on 94 carries, 14 of those runs ended up in the end zone.
At 6-foot-3, 230 lbs., he already has the pro-style physique that has scouts drooling at the possibilities of what he can accomplish at the next level. The main knock on Petty in some early NFL Draft reports is a lack of accuracy, but you have to be doing something right to complete 62 percent of your passes as he did in 2013.
A big thing to remember is that Heisman voters are not concerned with how high you are projected to go in the draft but rather how well you played on the field to help get your team some wins. Just matching his performance from last season could be good enough for Petty to take home this year's award now that he has everyone's attention. This could be especially true if the three quarterbacks ahead of him on Bovada's futures odds list take a step backwards in 2014.
Petty has a chance to put up some really big numbers early this season with SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo on the slate in Baylor's first three games, but this could actually work against him in the voter's eyes due to the quality of these opponents. His first big opportunity to put himself front and center in the Heisman race should come on Saturday, Oct. 4, in a road game against Texas. He threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-10 romp over the Longhorns last season. It was just the third time all season long where he failed to cross the 300-yard mark in total passing yards.
Looking down the road, the Bears will face Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in back-to-back games in November, and they will finish up the season at home against Kansas State. A strong stretch run could put him over the top in the voters' eyes, but this stretch of games also has the potential to completely derail his Heisman chances on a team that definitely overachieved last season.
The good news for Petty heading into the 2014 campaign is the return of the bulk of his receiving corps from last season, including his No. 1 target Antwan Goodley, who hauled-in 71 receptions for 1,339 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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