To the dismay of sports bettors, there are only a couple of weeks remaining in College Football's regular season. Is the 2014 Heisman Trophy race over? Mariota is still the betting odds favorite at sportsbooks.
Marcus Remains the Man
Mariota's Ducks were off this past week. Oregon hosts a terrible Colorado team this Saturday so he should put up huge numbers. The Buffs allow 38.6 points per game, which is 120th in the nation, and have lost six straight games. Colorado is the weakest program in the Pac-12 right now. Last year, Oregon beat Colorado 57-16. All Mariota did was total seven touchdowns. He was 16 of 27 for 355 yards and five touchdowns passing while rushing for 43 yards and two scores. I can't really tell you to expect seven touchdowns again because my guess is that Oregon gets way ahead quickly and the Ducks get Mariota out of there before he gets hurt. Plus they have the Civil War at Oregon State on Nov. 29 to worry about. Then the Pac-12 Championship Game against TBA. The Ducks are priced at +380 for College Football Picks to win the national championship.
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott was the +500 second favorite on NCAA football Heisman odds but his chances to win the Heisman are gone. Prescott is now +4000 after his formerly top-ranked Bulldogs lost 25-20 to Alabama on Saturday. Prescott was 27 of 48 for 290 yards with two touchdowns and a season-high three interceptions. He rushed for 82 yards. That score is a bit misleading as Alabama was the clearly superior squad. Prescott should still get an invitation to New York. And Mississippi State's national title hopes aren't dead. In fact, the Bulldogs can still win the SEC West, they just need Alabama to lose in the Iron Bowl to Auburn in two weeks. MSU also can't afford to lose this week at home against Vanderbilt in what's a possible trap game and then the following week in the Egg Bowl at Ole Miss. MSU's loss dropped it only to fourth in the Associated Press poll so there's a legitimate shot the Bulldogs are still in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings when released on Tuesday night.
Just one running back has won the Heisman Trophy this century -- Alabama's Mark Ingram in 2009. Still amazed he was the first Heisman winner ever for that storied program. Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon is the only realistic competition for Mariota now. Gordon took a huge jump on the NCAA Football odds this week to +250. It was well deserved as Gordon had one of the greatest games in college football history on Saturday. He rushed for an FBS-record 408 yards in the Badgers' big 59-24 win over Nebraska.
Gordon could have likely gotten to 500 yards if the game was close. He broke the single-game mark held since 1999 by TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson by 2 yards. Gordon did it on a 26-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter and his last carry of the game. Gordon finished with four TDs. He had just 25 carries while Tomlinson had 43. Gordon finished with 16.3 yards per carry, the FBS record for a rusher with at least 25 carries in a game. Wisconsin essentially owns the college football record book when it comes to rushing records. Ron Dayne, the 1999 Heisman winner, is the all-time leading rusher in FBS history with 6,397 yards. Montee Ball's 77 rushing TDs are the most ever by an FBS player.
Wisconsin is in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten West Division and appears on a collision course with Ohio State for the conference championship game. Although Wisconsin does have a challenging game this week at Iowa and still must host a very good Minnesota team. Buckeyes freshman QB J.T. Barrett is the +1500 third favorite on Heisman odds. I'd say he would be your early 2015 favorite, but Barrett might not even start next year if Braxton Miller does return to school as promised. Miller may want to rethink that.
Free College Football Pick: Unless Colorado pulls one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history and Gordon breaks his own rushing record vs. Iowa, book it that Mariota wins the Heisman.