Barkley Heisman Win Would Be Big For Bovada Bettors
Everyone knew that Stanford's two-time Heisman finalist Andrew Luck was going to the NFL after the 2011 season. So when Southern Cal quarterback Matt Barkley announced last December that he would stiff-arm the NFL draft and return for his senior season at Troy, it did three things: 1) surprise many people; 2) make USC the 2012 national championship favorite; 3) make Barkley the early odds-on favorite to win the Heisman Trophy in '12.
Sign up at Bovada and deposit for your 20% Free Bet bonus up to $100, and use it to bet on your favorite teams.
Barkley would have been a lock Top-10 pick in last year's draft after a junior season in which he set a Pac-12 record passing for 39 touchdowns and set a school record for completion percentage and single-game USC records for touchdowns, completions, passing yardage and total offense. He finished sixth in the 2011 Heisman voting.
This was the second time in the past seven years a reigning USC Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback passed up sure millions to return and try to win a national championship: Matt Leinart also returned to school after winning the award in 2004.
Leinart was a preseason Heisman favorite back in '05 but didn't win it - teammate Reggie Bush did. But Bush's parents received improper benefits during his stay at USC and that Heisman was vacated. Thus Barkley technically is favored not to be the record eighth but the seventh Heisman winner at USC, which would only tie Notre Dame and Ohio State for the most Heisman Trophies (OSU's Archie Griffin won it twice).
Barkley did open as the big favorite at the book and with the 2012 season set to kick off Aug. 30, he remains the 3/1 favorite overall and the 4/7 favorite to finish in the Top 3 of the voting. The book is exposed on Barkley more than another player on both props.
At least from a position standpoint, recent history seems to bode well for Barkley. Much like the NFL, the college game has become more pass-happy. Not surprisingly, a quarterback has won the Heisman 10 of the past 11 years. A senior has won the award just once since 2003: Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith in 2006. And the past two Heisman winners, Auburn's Cam Newton and Baylor's Robert Griffin III, came from almost out of nowhere (especially Newton) to win the award.
The only running back to win the Heisman this century was Alabama's Mark Ingram in 2009 to become the first Tide player to bring it home. The book is also very exposed on two tailbacks this year: Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas at 20/1 to win and Arkansas' Knile Davis at 17/1 to finish in the Top 3.
The Ducks have never had a Heisman winner, but they also may never have had a player as electric as Thomas. Last season as a freshman, he had 2,235 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns as a running back/receiver/returner. Thomas averaged an incredible 10.8 yards per carry but didn't get too many of them because of the presence of LaMichael James, who is now in the NFL. The "Black Mamba," as Thomas is known, delivered a potential preview of the 2012 season when he had touchdown runs of 91 and 64 yards on his only two carries vs. Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
It's conceivable that either Barkley or Thomas, who might be the fastest player in college football, could see his chances of winning the Heisman rest on the result of the Trojans-Ducks huge game Nov. 3 in Los Angeles.
As for Davis, he missed the 2011 season after suffering a broken ankle during fall camp. But in 2010, Davis rushed for 1,119 yards and 12 touchdowns in the Hogs' final eight games alone. He led all SEC running backs with 1,322 rushing yards on 6.5 yards per carry overall.
If Davis is 100 percent healthy, he should be the best back in the nation's toughest conference and that will carry weight with Heisman voters. And the Hogs, with fellow Heisman candidate Tyler Wilson (33/1 to win) at quarterback, could steal the SEC this season away from preseason national No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama. Arkansas's only two losses in 2011 were against those two powerhouses and the Razorbacks host both clubs in 2012.
Being in the national championship hunt also is almost a requirement these days to win the Heisman, although Griffin III's Bears were an exception to the rule in 2011.
Bet on 2012 NCAA football futures now at Bovada. Raise Your Game.