Todd Gurley was the betting favorite on NCAA Football odds to win the Heisman Trophy race but in the wake of the shocking suspension, the race is now open. Here are our updated recommendations.
Odds in Limbo
Currently the Heisman odds are down at all the sportsbooks. That is likely to be the case until the NCAA makes an official decision on Gurley's punishment, which could come at any time. He was suspended by Georgia, not the NCAA, for Saturday's game at Missouri. Gurley reportedly accepted money for signing autographs, the same thing that Johnny Manziel did last year. Manziel only was suspended the first half of a Texas A&M game because there was no video proof that he did it. That apparently is not the case with Gurley. You hear reports from a 2-3 game suspension to perhaps the rest of the season. In some ways, a season-long suspension would benefit Gurley. He can forget about the Heisman as it is, but not having to play saves him from a potentially serious injury that could hurt his draft stock. He's the clear-cut top running back on the board and the best prospect at the position likely since Trent Richardson in 2012. He's going to go in the Top 15. That wouldn't be the case should Gurley blow out his knee like, say, former South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore did.
The favorite on College Football odds at sportsbooks now certainly will be Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott. He was barely behind Gurley before the suspension. Prescott led the Bulldogs to the most impressive win by any team so far this season, a 38-23 victory over No. 2 Auburn on Saturday that jumped MSU to the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press Poll. Prescott was 18 of 34 for 246 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions vs. Auburn and rushed 21 times for 121 yards and two scores. It was his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season. The Bulldogs are the first team since Auburn in 1983 to beat three straight AP Top-10 opponents. They have a tricky one this week at much-improved Kentucky and still must go to Top-10 teams Alabama (Nov. 15) and Ole Miss (Nov. 29) in the biggest Egg Bowl ever. Think Florida might gave Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen a call this offseason when Will Muschamp is fired? Mullen is a former Gators offensive coordinator.
Auburn's loss severely hurt the chances of Tigers QB Nick Marshall, who had been third on the Heisman Trophy odds at sportsbooks. Marshall was 17 of 35 for 209 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. He also rushed 17 times for 100 yards. Auburn is off this week before hosting South Carolina. It still has to play at Ole Miss, vs. Texas A&M, at Georgia and at Alabama. So one would expect at least one more loss for Auburn.
Presumably, the next two favorites after Prescott at sportsbooks will be Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson and Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, who has been my guy most of the season. Golson threw for 300 yards and three scores while rushing for 71 yards in the Irish's shootout win over North Carolina on Saturday. Golson's candidacy will get a monster boost with a big game this week at No. 2 Florida State.
Mariota is back in the conversation with Oregon's dominant win over UCLA. When the Ducks' offensive line can protect Mariota, he's the best player in the nation. He completed 17 of 27 for 210 yards and two scores vs. the Bruins, also rushing for 75 yards and two touchdowns. There's no reason Oregon can't run the table now. It has only two teams left on its schedule currently ranked: Stanford (Nov. 1 in Eugene) and at Utah (Nov. 8). Then a likely Pac-12 title game, maybe with a shot at payback against Arizona.
Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon won't win the award, but he has emerged as the top running back threat and could get a trip to New York. He had 175 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday against Illinois, his fourth straight game with at least 175 yards on the ground. It was the 14th game in his career that Gordon rushed for 140-plus yards, which is the most of any active FBS player. The Badgers are off this week.
Free College Football Pick: Prescott is the hot name, and he has to be the choice right now. But if Notre Dame somehow wins in Tallahassee then Golson is going to be right there. I just don't think that happens.