Yes, I get irritated when people start a Heisman Trophy watch after just one week in the college football season. Yet here I am providing updated Heisman odds, based largely on what Texas A&M's Kenny Hill did against South Carolina.
Johnny Football Who?
You couldn't even get college football odds on Hill for the Heisman at Sportsbook.com a few weeks ago yet you could on Kyle Allen, by most accounts the No. 1-rated quarterback recruit in the Class of 2014. However, Allen was beaten out by Hill, a sophomore. Now Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin looks like a genius. (Might Allen already be thinking of transferring?)
Hill destroyed what was supposed to be a very good South Carolina offense last Thursday in Texas A&M's 52-28 upset of the 10.5-point favored Gamecocks. All Hill did was set a school record with 511 yards passing, while completing 44 of 60 passes for three touchdowns. He was as good as, if not better, than Johnny Manziel ever was as the Aggies ended South Carolina's 18-game home winning streak. It's starting to look more and more like Sumlin's system can make a star out of anyone. When he was the head coach at Houston, Case Keenum put up obscene numbers in Sumlin's system (Keenum is the NCAA's all-time leader in total passing yards, touchdowns and completions) and then of course Johnny Football did the same. I wonder if the Cleveland Browns are having second thoughts about spending a first-round pick on Manziel. Maybe they should have hired Sumlin too.
Hill has jumped to a +1000 co-fourth favorite to win the Heisman along with Baylor's Bryce Petty and UCLA's Brett Hundley. Hill should put up crazy numbers at least the next three weeks as the Aggies play lightweights Lamar, Rice and SMU. Petty faced those Mustangs on Sunday and was rather quiet, going 13 of 23 for 161 yards and two scores while also running for a TD. He took a big hit to his lower back and it seemed to be affecting him.
UCLA, meanwhile, was fortunate to escape Virginia without being upset, winning 28-20. Hundley didn't have huge numbers, going 20 of 33 for 242 yards and no scores. He did rush for one. Hundley's Bruins should have their way this week as 25-point home favorites against Memphis. Then the schedule gets significantly tougher.
The favorite remains Florida State's Jameis Winston, who looks to join Ohio State's Archie Griffin as the only two-time winner of the Heisman. Winston is at +500. FSU was nearly upset in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday night by big underdog Oklahoma State. The Noles will definitely get everyone's best shot this season. Winston was 25 of 40 for 370 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for a score. He only threw two picks in two games a year ago. He's going to have to put up better numbers than in 2013 to win again and that's likely not possible.
The second-favorite remains Oregon's Marcus Mariota, now at +550. He was 14 of 20 for 267 yards and three touchdowns while also running for a score in the Ducks' shellacking of South Dakota. Mariota now holds the school record for total touchdowns as he passed Joey Harrington in that game. You could see Mariota as the favorite at this time next week. Why? The No. 3 Ducks host No. 8 Michigan State in the most highly anticipated non-conference game of the season. If Mariota puts up big numbers against that stellar Spartans defense, that's going to get everyone's attention. If Sparty shuts Oregon down, Mariota might not be able to recover from that.
MSU quarterback Connor Cook is also a Heisman option at +3500. He gave Spartans backers a major scare in Friday's rout of Jacksonville State when he had to be helped off the field after a hit to his left leg. Cook would return and prove fine. He was 12 of 13 for 285 yards and three scores in just a half of action. MSU opened as a 13.5-point dog this week.
Free College Football Picks: I liked Mariota as an College Football Pick before the season started and nothing has changed that yet.