Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to have his name engraved on the Heisman Trophy this past Saturday, but it’s not too early for a look ahead to next year’s frontrunners.
We asked Mike Perry, oddsmaker for Sportsbook.ag, to make up some hypothetical odds for the 2013 Heisman potentials.
Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M) - 3/1
Manziel’s impressive performance against previously unbeaten Alabama this season solidified his spot as the favorite for the Heisman down the stretch and he won’t have to wait long before facing the Crimson Tide next year. Ohio State RB Archie Griffin (1974-75) is the only player to win the Heisman twice.
“The good news for Johnny Football is he gets Alabama at home in the third game of the year, so some voters will forget about a sub-par performance early in the season like they did for him against Florida and LSU this season,” says Perry. “The bad news is the Aggies have to travel to Death Valley to play LSU late in the season (Nov. 23).”
Braxton Miller (Ohio State) - 4/1
Miller played his way onto the Heisman radar this year, leading Ohio State to a perfect season. The Buckeyes will no longer be serving a bowl ban next year and are projected to be contenders for a BCS Championship.
“Miller gets to play a much easier schedule (three toughest games are Wisconsin, Penn St at home, Michigan on the road) than the rest of the Heisman hopefuls in 2013,” notes Perry. “That being said, the Buckeyes can’t lose more than one game next season for Miller to win the Heisman.”
Aaron Murray (Georgia) - 5/1
If Murray opts for another year with the Bulldogs and doesn’t take advantage of a weak QB class entering this year’s NFL draft, he will certainly be in the hunt for the Heisman.
“Georgia is fortunate in that they don’t have to play Alabama, and they get LSU in Athens, so that will help Murray," says Perry. “Georgia does have to play at Clemson, but that is their season opener. Murray still should be on the Heisman short list at the end of 2013.”
Marqise Lee (USC) - 10/1
Lee finished fourth in the voting for this year’s Heisman, but his numbers may suffer because of the departure of QB Matt Barkley.
“Wide receivers don’t get as much love as they should from Heisman voters, and that’s a shame because Lee is one of the top five college wide receivers of the past 10 years,” notes Perry. “Pac-12 defenses are generally quite porous, so that means Lee will have to top his 2012 stats if he wants to be a Heisman finalist.”
Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) - 25/1
Clowney is one of the most feared pass rushers in the nation, racking up 13 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss this season. Many college football insiders are projecting he will sweep all of the defensive awards in 2013.
“Just like with wideouts, defensive players don’t get the respect they deserve,” says Perry. “Too many people don’t do the proper due diligence when looking at players such as Clowney. Clowney will have to be near 18-20 sacks and 25 tackles for loss to appease many Heisman voters.”
Join the debate. Who are you betting on to earn Heisman honors next year? Is there another player you’d consider as a Heisman favorite who wasn’t mentioned?