2017 Heisman Trophy Predictions with Odds and Expert Betting Picks
I am trying my absolute best not to turn this Heisman Report into a bi-weekly Baker Mayfield appreciation article. However, in all honesty, it's getting harder and harder to do. Every single week, for the past month, Mayfield has made headlines for not only his on-field play but for his on-field ruthlessness. I'm sure you've all seen the censored-out SportsCenter clip of Mayfield grabbing his crotch and mouthing obscenities to opposing Kansas players. But what you probably didn't see is the lack of sportsmanship Jayhawks captains showed pre-game when they refused to shake Mayfield's hand and the numerous late hits during the course of the game.
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I'm sorry, but if you're calling out a foul for a lack of sportsmanship, the Jayhawks aren't the victim here. If they want to act tough and disrespect the whole concept of sportsmanship prior to the game, that's fine, but when you have three wins over the past three seasons, including just one conference win, I don't think your in a position to be disrespecting the game like that.
I do agree with those of you who say Mayfield's actions were inappropriate as there may have been kids watching, but let's not paint Mayfield with the "bad for the game" paintbrush yet. The kid is passionate about the sport, and he's playing at a level which is about to secure him a Heisman Trophy. Furthermore, news broke yesterday that not only will Mayfield start the upcoming West Virginia game on the sideline, but he has been stripped of his captaincy on Senior Day. That's just utterly ridiculous.
But enough about Mayfield (for now). There are currently four other players trying to catch Mayfield in the race for the prestigious award, but, unfortunately, they are running out games to play catch up. As we head into the final week of the regular season, Bryce Love, Lamar Jackson, Josh Rosen and Saquon Barkley have all showed the world how valuable they are to their team. If one or two results went the opposite way, we could be talking about any one of those four players as a Heisman favorite heading into this weekend.
With the final weekend of the regular season fast approaching, I thought it would be fitting to recap some of the best performances for the top-five candidates and help you understand how each player got to the position they are currently in.
All odds are courtesy of our friends at Bovada .
Baker Mayfield (-700)
Baker Mayfield entered the 2017-18 season with a chip on his shoulder, and he came flying out of the gate to the tune of 13 touchdowns in his first four games. The best of those performances came on the road in Columbus as he dismantled the Ohio State Buckeyes to the tune of 27/35, 386 passing yards and three touchdowns. He then staked his claim to the field and caused an absolute uproar amongst fans and the media. Unfortunately for Mayfield, his team suffered a lapse in concentration and suffered a rare home loss to Iowa State, which could have derailed their CFP hopes. Mayfield performed well in that game but couldn't carry the team on his back - until the next game. Mayfield led OU on a game-winning drive to sneak by Texas, in which many are calling the turning point for the Sooners. However, for me the turning point was that Bedlam shootout. Mayfield threw for a school record 598 yards and five touchdowns in a 62-52 win. He followed that game up by dominating one of the best defenses in the nation (TCU) by throwing for 333 yards and three touchdowns. If there was any one player that is deserving of the Heisman award this year, it's Mayfield.
Lamar Jackson (+500)
Despite winning the Heisman last year, Lamar Jackson came into this season with expectations that were borderline impossible to achieve. Let's take a minute to compare seasons;
2016 - 13 games, 230-for-403, 3,543 yards, 56.2 percent completions, 30 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 148.4 passer rating, and 1,571 rushing yards with 21 touchdowns.
2017 - 11 games (to date), 226-for-378, 3,273 yards, 59.6 percent completions, 23 touchdowns, six interceptions, 149 passer rating and 1,287 rushing yards with 17 touchdowns.
The lack of love for Jackson's Heisman campaign this year boggles my mind. Look at those numbers. They are nearly identical, and he's improved his completion percentage and passer rating. If Louisville was a legitimate CFP contender, we would be talking about Jackson becoming the second player in NCAA history to repeat as Heisman winner. Instead, his video game numbers and insane expectation will not only be forgotten but not even recognized.
Bryce Love (+1000)
With Christian McCaffrey off to the NFL, the shadow was lifted and Bryce Love was able to take center stage and show the world what he can do. Love shot out of the gate like a cannon and amassed an insane 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns over his first seven games. It seemed like Love was well on his way to winning the Heisman, but then an ankle injury forced him to miss a game at Oregon State, and his immediate return yielded just 69 rushing yards. By then, the rest of the field had surpassed Love and despite turning in more "Love-like" performances over his last two games (166 yards with three TD's and 101 yards and a score), Love has simply run out of games to make up the difference.
Saquon Barkley (+2000)
Last year was a season to remember for Penn State. They shocked the world and captured the Big Ten title before blowing away a late fourth-quarter lead against USC in the Rose Bowl. This year was supposed to be the year that they took the next step and got themselves into the CFP discussion. Well, the season started out all roses for Penn State and their star player, Saquon Barkley. Barkley amassed 585 yards rushing and six touchdowns while adding 394 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, both Barkley and the team suffered a late October swoon and suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Ohio State and Michigan State. Not only were the Nittany Lions' CFP hopes dashed, but Barkley's Heisman campaign was over as well. In those two games he totalled just 107 yards rushing and 56 yards receiving with a single kick return touchdown. Barkley still remains one of the most dynamic players in college football, but he hasn't done enough to supplant Mayfield atop the Heisman race.
Josh Rosen (+5000)
If not for an injury that cost Rosen a game-and-a-half earlier this season, we could be talking about a two-horse Heisman race between Mayfield and Rosen. Instead, the sure-fire NFL prospect is doing his best to carry a mediocre UCLA team on his back and get them into a Bowl Game. Rosen's best game came last week in a 28-23 loss to No. 11 USC. Rosen threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns on 32 completions. That was his fourth 400+-yard passing game of the season and fifth time he's thrown three or more touchdowns in a single game. Rosen is projected to be a top draft pick should he enter the upcoming NFL Draft, but he's going to have to decided if going to Cleveland is really worth leaving the glitz and glam of Westwood.
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