Is the 2014 Heisman Trophy race over? Sportsbooks sure think so as Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota now appears to have an insurmountable lead on the NCAA football odds. Here are your betting favorites.
Ducks Avoid Utah Trap
Last week in this space I mentioned that only two things could likely stop Mariota from becoming Oregon's first Heisman winner ever. It was either an injury or an Oregon ugly loss. Mariota and the Ducks avoided both in Week 10, winning 51-27 at a very good Utah squad. Actually, Utah nearly took a 14-0 lead and the whole tenor of that game could have changed, but Utah's Kaelin Clay fumbled in the end zone -- he was already celebrating the touchdown -- and the Ducks' Joe Walker returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. That changed everything.
Mariota was 17 of 29 for 239 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also led the team with 114 yards rushing on 18 carries, adding another score. Mariota entered last week as a -200 betting favorite NCAA Football Odds and now is a huge -750 favorite.
Don't expect those numbers to change too much this week as Oregon is on a bye. It next faces Colorado on Nov. 22, which should be an easy win. The regular season concludes the following week with the Civil War at Oregon State.
Prescott's Chance Is Now
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott was +350 on NCAA football odds last week and is up to +500 in the updated odds. Prescott was 14 of 23 for 206 yards and two touchdowns in an easy win over cupcake Tennessee-Martin on Saturday. Prescott also rushed six times for 54 yards and a touchdown. Why Tennessee-Martin is on Mississippi State's schedule this late in the year is a story for another day.
If Prescott has any chance of catching Mariota, it has to happen this Saturday as the Bulldogs, who remain No. 1 in the polls, visit No. 5 Alabama. The Tide opened as 7-point favorites on NCAA football odds. That's not something you will see often: the nation's top-ranked team as a touchdown underdog. Last season, Mississippi State lost 20-7 at home to then-No. 1 Alabama. Prescott missed that game with an injury. Mississippi State managed just 197 total yards of offense.
The big riser on the Heisman odds -- although it may be too late -- is TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin. He is now +1800 at sportsbooks. The No. 6 Frogs won a huge game on Saturday, 41-20 over No. 7 Kansas State. That gives TCU a clear path to the Big 12 championship and to the College Football Playoff. Most had TCU pegged no better than fifth in the Big 12 preseason polls. Boykin was 23 of 34 for 219 yards with a touchdown passing while rushing 17 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns against the Wildcats. He had a bit of a Heisman moment with an acrobatic flip on one of those scores.
The Frogs played their fifth ranked opponent in six games and they won four of them. Their only loss came four weeks ago at Baylor when they led by 21 points in the fourth quarter before the Bears kicked a field goal on the last play of the game for the victory. The schedule really favors TCU the rest of the way as it visits Kansas and Texas and hosts Iowa State. None of those teams are ranked and realistically only Texas has a shot of upsetting the Frogs.
Another guy who jumped and might get an invitation to New York is Ohio State freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett, who is +2000 at sportsbooks. He played like anything but a freshman in Saturday's upset of Michigan State, going 16 of 26 for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Barrett also rushed 14 times for 86 yards and two scores. OSU now has a clear path to the Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes do face a potential trap game this week at Minnesota. OSU opened as a 12-point favorite on NCAA Football Picks.
NCAAF free pick: Stick with Mariota -- but if Prescott has a monster day against a very good Alabama defense, the race is back on.