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2015 Heisman Trophy: Oddsmakers Predicting the QB will be Dethroned

Offshore bookmaker Bovada unveiled its opening lines for the 2015 Heisman Trophy on Friday, and judging by its list, the odds are ever in the running back’s favor.

Following his incredible College Football Playoff performance and national championship MVP honors, Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot earned the top spot as the favorite to win next season’s most coveted award as a 6-1 favorite.

Of the 31 listed candidates, 14 are running backs, and six of them round out the top 10. LSU’s Leonard Fournette is tied for the second-best odds at 7-1, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and UCLA’s Paul Perkins are both 12-1, and Alabama’s Derrick Henry and Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine sit at 14-1.

Here is the full list:

  • Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State (6-1)
  • Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (7-1)
  • Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (7-1)
  • Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU (15-2)
  • Cody Kessler, QB, USC (12-1)
  • Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia (12-1)
  • Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA (12-1)
  • Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (14-1)
  • Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma (14-1)
  • Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State (14-1)
  • J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State (16-1)
  • Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (18-1)
  • Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (20-1)
  • Josh Robinson*, RB, Mississippi State (22-1)
  • Corey Clement, RB, Wisconsin (25-1)
  • D.J. Foster, RB, Arizona State (25-1)
  • Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon (25-1)
  • Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami (33-1)
  • Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State (33-1)
  • Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (33-1)
  • James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh (33-1)
  • Justin Thomas, QB, Georgia Tech (33-1)
  • Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona (33-1)
  • Seth Russell, QB, Baylor (33-1)
  • Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State (40-1)
  • Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State (50-1)
  • Jalen Hurd, RB, Tennessee (50-1)
  • Jared Goff, QB, California (50-1)
  • Marquise Williams, QB, North Carolina (50-1)
  • Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss (66-1)
  • Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona (66-1)

Quarterbacks have dominated this award as of late, recording five-straight Heisman Trophies and 13 of the last 14. Football has evolved into a game that revolves around the offense, and since the quarterback touches the ball more than any other position, it makes sense that this is the direction voters have taken.

However, with marquee names like Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Brett Hundley, Bryce Petty, and more gone, there’s a rather large vacancy for the new face of college football. With the talented pool of young running backs, chances are it will be someone who does damage via the ground attack.

Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2014 but didn’t become a household name until the second half of the season when he put up gaudy numbers against quality opponents such as Michigan State, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon. Leornard Fournette was dubbed the Chosen One before he had even stepped on campus as a true freshman last season. Nick Chubb could prove to be even more productive than Todd Gurley. Derrick Henry is a freak of nature that deserves a billion carries per game. Semaje Perine is the NCAA’s single-game rushing record holder, and the list goes on and on.

There are several strong quarterback candidates who will make their case and try to keep the streak alive, but if a running back is going to win a Heisman in today’s QB era, it will be in 2015.

Some other noteworthy tidbits:

  • Fourteen of the fifteen players I listed in a recent column predicting 2015’s Heisman candidates are shown in Bovada’s odds, though I gave a lot more love to Deshaun Watson and Corey Clement.
  • Speaking of Watson: wow, 33-1? Really? Find a bookie you trust and take those odds while they’re still available.
  • The Big Ten and ACC are tied with the most amount of candidates (6), but four B1G players are from Ohio State (three being quarterbacks), and all six ACC representatives have 33-1 odds or worse. The SEC and Pac-12 both have five, the Big 12 with four, and the Group of Five gets no love.
  • Bovada has Cardale Jones slightly ahead of J.T. Barrett, which means it’s assuming the former will win the starting job in 2015. I disagree.
  • Scooby Wright wins the obligatory defensive player insert, but don’t sleep on him – I wouldn’t be surprised to see him beating out 75 percent of this list.


*Josh Robinson declared for the 2015 NFL Draft.

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