If the 2012 college football season ended right now, there’s no question who would win the Heisman Trophy.
In his team’s 5-0 start, West Virginia QB Geno Smith has thrown for 1,996 yards, 24 touchdowns and zero interceptions, and he’s the runaway leader in the latest Heisman survey taken by the USA Today Sports Media Group.
But the season doesn’t end today. And there’s still a lot of football left to be played for each of the Heisman Trophy contenders.
Here’s a look at the current Heisman Trophy odds, courtesy of The Greek.
Geno Smith -250
Braxton Miller +500
De’Anthony Thomas +500
Matt Barkley +800
Collin Klein +800
E.J. Manuel +1200
Marcus Lattimore +2000
Aaron Murray +2000
Manti Te’o +2000
Teddy Bridgewater +3000
Johnathan Franklin +3000
Marquis Lee +3000
A.J. McCarron +3000
Kenjon Barner +5000
Todd Gurley +7500
Stepfan Taylor +7500
Based on the odds, it looks to be inevitable that Geno Smith will come out on top.
But is that really the case? Not at all.
Courtesy of SportsOddsHistory.com, let’s take a look at the Heisman Trophy favorites at this point in the season in each of the past three years.
Week 6 Favorite: Andrew Luck (+175)
Eventual Winner: Robert Griffin III (+4000)
Week 6 Favorite: Terrelle Pryor (+250)
Eventual Winner: Cam Newton (+1400)
Week 6 Favorite: Colt McCoy/Tim Tebow (+275)
Eventual Winner: Mark Ingram (+4000)
So in each of the past three seasons, the eventual Heisman Trophy winner has been flying well under the radar at essentially the midway point.
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Who’s worth a look this year? Here are a couple options.
Best Bet: Collin Klein (+800). Duh. You knew we’d go here after this “bold” prediction from the preseason, didn’t you? But, c’mon, Klein has 14 total touchdowns—including seven on the ground—and has led Kansas State to a No. 6 AP ranking with a decent shot at a Big 12 title after upsetting Oklahoma a couple weeks ago. If the Wildcats can score an upset at West Virginia on Oct. 22 and Klein has a solid performance, he should be able to narrow the gap or possibly even pass Smith in the race.
Value pick: A.J. McCarron (+3000). Alabama has a legitimate shot at finishing the season undefeated heading into the SEC title game. If that happens, and West Virginia loses a couple (or three) games, McCarron will surely become one of the favorites to win the award. He’s somewhat quietly having a fantastic statistical season. Like Smith, McCarron has yet to throw an interception and has passed for 12 touchdowns.
Bottom line: Opt for a longshot instead of Smith even though he seems like such a “sure thing” at this point in the season. History has proven that the most important games in the Heisman Trophy race have yet to come.