College Football Picks: Early 2015 Heisman Trophy Value to Lie in Cal Quarterback Cody Kessler at +1400

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 2:24 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015 2:24 PM GMT

The Las Vegas books haven't released NCAA football odds for the 2015 Heisman Trophy yet, but one overseas sportsbook has and your early betting favorite is TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin at +500. Let's break down the favorites with recommendations.

Guaranteed New Winner in 2015
There will be no talk of a repeat Heisman winner this season for the first time since Robert Griffin III won the 2011 award while at Baylor. He went into the NFL after that but the next two Heisman winners after RGIII, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Florida State's Jameis Winston, both had a chance to go back-to-back as a redshirt sophomore and both were betting favorites entering those seasons. Neither even got a trip to New York.

Of course Oregon's Marcus Mariota won the 2014 Heisman Trophy, a first for a Ducks player. Not unexpectedly, Mariota turned pro and could be the No. 1 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Or maybe Winston is. Mariota won the award in a landslide with 2,534 votes, with Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon second with 1,250 votes and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper third at 1,023. Mariota's win was the second-largest margin of victory in Heisman history and he won all five voting regions. Gordon and Cooper also are headed to the NFL Draft and should both be first-round picks as well. Cooper is a lock Top-10 pick, while Gordon likely will go late in the first round.

 

Second Heisman Winner at TCU?
The Frogs' Boykin is the highest returning finisher from the 2014 Heisman voting as he finished fourth with 218 votes (seven first-place votes). Boykin wasn't even a lock to be TCU's starting quarterback last season, but he led the Frogs to the greatest offensive season in school history. TCU finished second nationally in points at 46.5 per game -- including an 82-point game against Texas Tech -- and capped the season with a 42-3 rout of No. 9 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl to finish 12-1. If not for an epic fourth-quarter collapse on Oct. 11 at Baylor, TCU surely would have been in the College Football Playoff and probably not eventual national champion Ohio State.

Boykin, who is from Dallas, set TCU single-season records for passing yards (3,901), touchdown passes (33), touchdowns responsible for (42) and total offense (4,608). He was a four-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week and one of only four quarterbacks this past season to have 200 yards passing, 100 yards rushing and three touchdown runs in a game. He ranked third in the nation in total offense at 354.5 yards per game and became the third quarterback since 2009 to average at least 300 yards per game passing (300.1) and 50 rushing (54.4). The others were RGIII and Manziel.

TCU should be dynamic next season with nine starters back on that offense. The Frogs are +800 second-favorites on college football odds to win the College Football Playoff. They are likely to open at No. 2 behind Ohio State as well in the preseason polls come August. Texas Christian opens the season Sept. 3 at a pretty good Minnesota team. Win that and the Frogs should at least be unbeaten until visiting Kansas State on Oct. 10. They also have to visit Oklahoma (Nov. 21) but do host Baylor (Nov. 27).

There has been one Heisman winner in TCU history, a guy by the name of Davey O'Brien in 1938.

Join Our Discussion and Share Who You Think Could Win the National Title 

Best of the Rest
Only one running back has won the Heisman this century: Alabama's Mark Ingram in 2009. However, there are a ton of talented backs returning who could end that drought. Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, the offensive MVP of the Sugar Bowl and national championship game, is +1000 on college  football odds along with Georgia's Nick Chubb and Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott.

Ezekiel was essentially an unknown nationally to open last season but the best player in the land by the end of it. The problem with him is Ezekiel will split Heisman votes with whomever OSU's starting QB is: J.T. Barrett (+1400), Braxton Miller (+1400) or Cardale Jones (+2500). Chubb was stuck behind Todd Gurley for a while last season before Gurley got suspended and then hurt. Chubb finished with 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman. Prescott was briefly a Heisman favorite at sportsbooks last season but faded at the end and finished eighth.

NCAAF Free Picks: I like Clemson's Deshaun Watson at +1200 on college football odds but I need to see him healthy off ACL surgery first. Right now my value college football pick is Southern Cal quarterback Cody Kessler at +1400. The Trojans could be the team to beat in the Pac-12 and Kessler threw for 3,826 yards, 39 touchdowns and just five picks last year. He did lose top receiver Nelson Agholor.

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