2012 Heisman Trophy Predictions
If there are any ncaa football gambling experts out there who pay attention to the Heisman process, they’ll probably agree with me and know that at this time of year it’s pretty darn hard to pick the winner…most years…right?
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MATT BARKLEY, QB, USC
Southern Cal is going to be a top-ranked FBS team in the preseason, and that is largely due to Barkley returning for his senior season.
The 6”2, 230-lb pocket passer would have been at least a top 5 pick had he declared for the NFL Draft this past off-season (maybe as high as #2 overall) and he returns to a Trojans team that features a pair of 1,000+ yard receivers in dominant junior Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, a first-team Freshman All-American in 2011.
Expect Barkley to put up video game-like stats this season and, barring injury, to be on the Heisman short list from the get-go.
LANDRY JONES, QB, Oklahoma
I had Jones as one of my top candidates for the Trophy last season, and he did throw for 4,718 yards and 38 TDs.
Last year’s winner Robert Griffin III’s emergence wasn’t out of nowhere, but Griffin did perform better than anyone could have guessed. Basically, Jones had the numbers to be at that ceremony last season.
The Sooners will be one of the top teams in the country this season and much of their fortunes will rest on the arm of their senior QB. Expect Jones to rack up plenty of yards throwing to Kenny Stills (last year’s #2 receiver) and mega-talented freshman Trey Metoyer.
MARCUS LATTIMORE, RB, South Carolina
The engine of the Gamecocks’ offense has had the look of one of those historically dominant SEC running backs (Herschel Walker, Emmitt Smith, Jamal Lewis, Darren McFadden etc.) ever since he put on pads at the collegiate level. In 2011, Lattimore rushed for 818 yards in just seven starts, before being lost to injury.
Lattimore had nearly 1,200 yards as a freshman, despite missing three games. He was the National Freshman Player of the Year as a true frosh.
The junior’s punishing style leads to him being open for some big licks, but he is an utterly dominant force when healthy and if he can play all his games in 2012, he should be the best RB in the nation.
MONTEE BALL, RB, Wisconsin
Ball was a Heisman finalist last year, when he tied Barry Sanders’ single-season TD record with 39 and led the nation in rushing. The 5”11, 212-lb senior runs with power and speed, will be the emphasis of the Badgers’ offensive attack (Wisconsin brings in a new transfer QB for the second straight season, except Danny O’Brien isn’t nearly as good as Russell Wilson was) and has the usual stout Badgers offensive line to run behind.
Obviously, he should be in the discussion late in the season, and maybe he’ll be more than just a finalist in 2012.
TYLER WILSON, QB, Arkansas
Arkansas’ explosive offensive attack didn’t slow one bit when Wilson took the reins from Ryan Mallett a couple seasons ago. Wilson put up great stats last year (3,638 yards, 24 TDs to just six INTs) despite being under duress constantly from opposing pass rushes.
Arkansas gets its toughest opponents at home this season and the Hogs look like a real threat in the SEC West division. If the Hogs perform well and Wilson gets more time and space to operate, we’ll be talking about the pivot in Fayetteville.
DENARD ROBINSON, QB, Michigan
The Wolverines are getting back on track quickly under new coach Brady Hoke. UM plays a massive game to open the season, against defending national champ Alabama in gargantuan Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX, on Sept. 1.
If Michigan could upset ’Bama in that game, Robinson’s Heisman candidacy would be off to a terrific start.
The Wolverines might win the Big Ten, and Robinson is likely the most dynamic player in the country, as he puts up 2,000+ passing-yard seasons and 1,000+ rushing-yard seasons like it’s as easy as tying his “Shoelace.” Oh, wait…
2012 Heisman Odds from Bovada
Matt Barkley (QB USC) 7/2
Denard Robinson (QB Michigan) 5/1
Montee Ball (RB Wisconsin) 5/1
Landry Jones (QB Oklahoma) 13/2
Geno Smith (QB West Virginia) 7/1
Marcus Lattimore (RB South Carolina) 10/1
A.J. McCarron (QB Alabama) 15/1
Tajh Boyd (QB Clemson) 20/1
Taylor Martinez (QB Nebraska) 20/1
De’Anthony Thomas (RB Oregon) 25/1
Rex Burkhead (RB Nebraska) 25/1
Aaron Murray (QB Georgia) 35/1
Robert Woods (WR USC) 35/1
Tyler Wilson (QB Arkansas) 35/1
Sammy Watkins (WR Clemson) 40/1
Keith Price (QB Washington) 50/1
Tyrann Mathieu (CB LSU) 50/1
Giovani Bernard (RB North Carolina) 55/1
Isaiah Crowell (RB Georgia) 60/1
James Franklin (QB Missouri) 75/1
Kenny Stills (WR Oklahoma) 75/1
Malcolm Brown (RB Texas) 75/1
Henry Josey (RB Missouri) 80/1