College Football Picks: Historic 3rd Straight Heisman Winner At Oklahoma?

Monday, April 15, 2019 3:42 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 15, 2019 3:42 PM UTC

No school has ever claimed a Heisman Trophy three straight seasons.  Could it happen this year at Oklahoma with transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts?

Hurts Go Good: Third Straight Heisman Winner At Oklahoma?

A few times over the years, a school has had back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners in college football. There was Larry Kelley and Clinton Frank at Yale in 1936-37. Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis at Army from 1945-46. The only two-time Heisman winner ever, running back Archie Griffin at Ohio State from 1974-75. Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush at USC from 2004-05, although Bush’s Heisman was later vacated because he took cash while in school.

We have yet to see a school win three straight Heisman Trophies, however. That could change this winter at Oklahoma with quarterback Jalen Hurts currently priced at +1300 at Bovada. Of course, quarterback Baker Mayfield, a transfer, won the 2017 Heisman under Coach Lincoln Riley. Last year, transfer Kyler Murray came from behind late in the Heisman race to beat out Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa (currently a +250 co-favorite this year with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence).

Now it’s presumably Hurts’ job to lose at Oklahoma after backing up Tagovailoa last year with the Crimson Tide. He’s eligible immediately at OU as a graduate transfer. Oklahoma played its annual spring game in Norman on April 12 (moved up a day due to weather) and Hurts looked good, completing 11 of 14 for 174 yards and touchdown while rushing for 12 yards and another score. He was playing for Murray, who served as one of the honorary coaches for the Red team, which beat the White 35-14.

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Jalen Hurts was very impressive in his spring game debut completing 11 of his 14 passes. Here's a glimpse of his performance.

1⃣7⃣4⃣ — Passing Yards
1⃣2⃣ — Rushing Yards
1⃣ — Passing Touchdown
1⃣ — Rushing Touchdown
#OUDNA | #BoomerSooner pic.twitter.com/AmPwl9Hi2L

— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) April 13, 2019
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There’s no question that Hurts is a proven winner with a 26-2 record as a starter for Alabama, and he saved the Tide’s bacon in last year’s SEC title game in place of an ineffective/banged-up Tagovailoa. Hurts isn’t considered a very accurate passer, though. He completed 62.8 percent of his throws in 2016 and 60.6 in 2017. By comparison, Murray hit on 69 percent last year and Mayfield 70.5 percent in his Heisman season.

NFL teams already covet Riley, and if he can convert Hurts into another Heisman winner then Riley will be able to name his price regarding a head-coaching job in pro football if he wants one. Hurts looked quite comfortable with zone reads and going through progressions in Riley’s offense in the spring game.

“I thought he handled it well," Riley said. "He made some nice plays in some scramble situations and he made some good decisions in the pocket. He got settled in quickly and felt settled in the whole time. He gave some guys some chances to make some competitive plays.”

Hurts hasn’t been handed the job yet, as he must beat out redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai. He was OK in the spring game, throwing for 153 yards and a TD (with a pick). It would be a stunner if Hurts didn’t win the job. History says Riley will wait until the middle of fall camp to officially make his decision.

The Sooners open the season Aug. 31 at home vs. Houston – no game odds are out yet. Oklahoma also hosts South Dakota and visits UCLA before starting Big 12 play. OU is +1700 at 5Dimes to win the College Football Playoff. Looking at the Sooners’ schedule, there’s no reason they can’t run the table in the regular season. They have the annual game in Dallas vs. Texas on Oct. 12, but West Virginia and TCU both visit Norman. It’s a pretty easy schedule overall.

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