It’s never too early to analyze the Heisman Trophy race. And while we don’t condone gambling – especially on college sports – if you must, at least be smart about it. Let’s examine the 10 worst bets to win the coveted award based on odds posted on bodog.com. We’re not saying these candidates won’t win the Heisman, but don’t bet on it – literally.
10. Marcus Coker, Iowa RB (90/1)
Coker will be the focal point of Iowa’s offense in 2011. He earned that distinction after running for 219 yards in an Insight Bowl win over Missouri last season. But it was only his second time rushing over 100 yards. And Iowa will be breaking in a new quarterback. So, Coker better be a Heisman candidate if the Hawkeyes expect to win.
But here’s why we wouldn’t bet on Coker to do so: He was behind Brandon Wegher, Jewel Hampton and Adam Robinson on the depth chart not long ago in the spring of 2010. All three who were in front of him have left the program. Is Coker a star running back, one-hit wonder or just the last guy left standing?
It’s hard to tell. Save your money to use on a more sure bet.
9. Danny O’Brien, Maryland QB (75/1)
If you watched Connecticut football at all during Randy Edsall’s tenure, you know the new Maryland coach likes to rely on a strong running game (Donald Brown and Jordan Todman, anyone?) and stout defense. Admittedly, Edsall never had a quarterback with the Huskies as accomplished as O’Brien, who may be the ACC’s top signal-caller in 2011. But something tells us Edsall isn’t going to move away from what has brought him success; don’t expect him to turn into Mike Leach overnight.
Oh yeah, and no Maryland player has ever won the Heisman. Placing any amount of money on a Terp to win the trophy? We wouldn’t call that fiscally sound. O’Brien was good last year, throwing 21 TDs en route to ACC Rookie of the Year honors. But he’s not great – yet.
8. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State QB (35/1)
Last season, Cousins helped lead the Spartans to a rare Big Ten title before they were blown out by Alabama in the Capital One Bowl. Cousins had a good season, finishing with 20 TDs and 10 interceptions. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but Cousins is efficient enough to lead a winning squad. Unfortunately, that’s not what wins the Heisman. Eye-popping performances and standout statistics earn votes in the season-long race for the trophy.
And let’s be honest: With Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson, Michigan’s Denard Robinson and Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez, Cousins may be the fourth-best quarterback in his league. Think of it this way: If Cousins – as a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten QB – somehow wins the trophy, you only get paid off at 35/1. No thanks.
7. Robert Woods, USC WR (80/1)
Sure, USC is a long history of Heisman winners. It wouldn’t be a stretch to see another Trojan win, but we don’t see Woods as the next one to hoist the trophy. Peruse the list of Heisman winners, and one thing’s for sure: Wide receivers don’t win the award. The most-recent winners at the position, Tim Brown and Desmond Howard, were more than prolific.
Woods won the Pac-10 Offensive Freshman of the Year award last year and put forth some impressive numbers (65 catches, 792 yards, 6 TDs). But five of his scores came in consecutive games against Stanford and Cal. In fact, Woods compiled 12 catches for 224 yards and three TDs against the Cardinal.
Will he become more consistent and put up even bigger numbers in 2011? We’d bet on it. But will he win the Heisman? Not for our money.
6. Dayne Crist, Notre Dame QB (75/1)
The senior Crist was just named the starter at Notre Dame last week. He barely beat out the immortal Tommy Rees for the job (notice the sarcasm). Does that sound like someone who is poised to win the Heisman? We don’t think so. Crist also has a injury history that includes a torn ACL in 2009. Then, he ruptured his left patella tendon last October against Tulsa and missed the rest of the season. When he did play in 2010, he compiled 15 TDs and seven INTs – not exactly a precursor to a Heisman win.
Add in Notre Dame’s annually tough schedule – South Florida, Michigan and Michigan State as its first three opponents – and we wouldn’t bet on Crist if he were 750/1 to win the award.
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