Today is such an exciting day. I made the major announcement Monday night that I would be taking the long trip under the Hudson River to Jersey City to place some Heisman bets. For reasons that make no sense at all, in New York you cannot bet individual player awards so to bet on the Heisman/Cy Young/NFL MVP etc. you need to shoot across to Jersey.
I am so determined to pick the Heisman winner this year. The past couple of years I have had a lot of success picking the National Championship winner, most notably my nuts on the line Georgia pick last year. However, I have been burned badly on Heisman picks. Last year my top two picks were Spencer Rattler and JT Daniels who both did not finish the season as their team’s starting quarterback. This year, I am going to change that. I am going for it all. I’m gonna run through some quick thoughts as to why I bet where I did and then explain the individual picks.
With Bryce Young winning the award last year, we are back on the QB track after Devonta Smith broke the run of 4 straight QBs winning the award. Since 2010, 10 out of 12 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks so that is where you want the bulk of your money. In the decade before that, 8 out of 10 Heisman winners were quarterbacks with Reggie Bush and Mark Ingram breaking the mold. So since 2000, 18 QBs, 3 RBs, and 1 WR win the Heisman. Charles Woodson was the last defensive player to win the award although he had special teams touchdowns to support his claim. Last year, Aidan Hutchinson was the runner-up for the award and in 2019 Chase Young was a finalist in New York. So, there is some precedent for edge rushers getting a little bit more respect from voters.
Bryce Young is an interesting case because he is the defending Heisman-winner on the team that is favorites to win the National Championship. There is no reason he should not be able to win it again, however Ohio State RB Archie Griffin is the only player to ever win the award twice, in ’74 and ’75. There is clear precedent of voters leaning in another direction instead of giving the award to the same player as they did in 2008 when Sam Bradford won the award over defending-Heisman winner Tim Tebow.
The final piece of criteria that seems to have a huge effect is being on a winning team. In the college football playoff era, 7 out of 8 Heisman winners has been on a CFP team. Lamar Jackson was the lone exception to this rule and he was truly undeniable that season. However, this does not mean Bryce Young or CJ Stroud is a lock to win. The prime example of how to find value betting on the Heisman is Joe Burrow. Burrow was a relatively unknown name going into this Heisman and National Championship winning season at LSU and he had massive value before the season started. So my suggestion when looking for value isn’t to bet on a Bailey Zappe type (puts up the biggest numbers but on a nothing team) but to bet on an unproven QB on a team otherwise capable of making a run to the playoff. Also betting on a wide receiver, running back, or edge rusher that could be a true game-changer. Any position outside of those three or QB is burning money in my mind.
The Favorite (1u)
CJ Stroud +275– I am all in on the Buckeyes this year. If you read my 2021 CFB Season Recap blog, then you saw my Ohio State future bet to win it all next year. I bet it the day after the National Championship just as I did Georgia last season and that worked out well. The future has already gained value as Ohio State’s odds have closed on Georgia and Alabama at the top. The main reason I like them is because of what I think CJ Stroud can do with this offense. With Smith-Njigba, Harrison, and TreVeyon Henderson this offense should be just as explosive as last season, if not more. If it comes down to him and Young as the two top QBs again, I think voters would lean Stroud instead of giving Young a second trophy.
The Longshots (0.5u on each)
Anthony Richardson 60/1– AR15!!! If you followed me at all last year, you know I was constantly losing my mind over Dan Mullen’s insistence on starting Emory Jones over Anthony Richardson. Emory Jones was not taking Florida all the way and had no chance of beating the Georgias of the world. AR15 on the other hand has all of the talent on the planet and entering the 2022 season after having a full offseason as QB1 should be huge for him. Florida should be much improved this year and if they can find a way to knock off the Dawgs and sneak into the playoff, AR15 has a real chance of captivating the nation and winning this award.
Will Anderson 60/1– This is my defensive prayer. From Clowney, to Young, to Hutchinson, the edge rusher for Heisman hype is building every year. This guy is on another level. WalterFootball’s 2023 mock draft has Anderson going 3rd after the franchise-changing QBs of Young and Stroud. If Alabama cruises through the SEC and we see Bryce Young’s numbers take a step back or he misses a couple of games, you could see Anderson’s name at the top of the odds board as the leader of this Alabama team. If he puts up Hutchinson type numbers and is the best player on the best team in the nation it could be hard not to give him this award and break the offensive streak.
Max Johnson 80/1– What am I missing here? The projected QB1 of the team with the 5th best odds to win the National Championship is 80/1 to win the Heisman? Max Johnson is no proven world-beater but he is a guy with experience and has proven he can win in the SEC. On a trash LSU team last year he still managed to have some great games, including going for 300+ yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs against his new team in a win. Johnson completed over 60% of his passes and had no multi-INT games last year against SEC defense and will have a much better roster around him. TAMU has multiple paths to the CFP and if Johnson leads them there he has a shot at a Burrow-esque run at this award.
Devin Leary 150/1– This is my long, longshot. Leary was one of the more underrated player in college football last year and ended up in the top-15 in yards per game, completions per game, and passing TDs. If he comes back improved he could jump into the top-5 of these categories this season. NC State will be Clemson’s biggest competition in their division and Devin Leary beat this Clemson team last season in a 4 TD performance. If he can pull off another upset over the Tigers and win the ACC, he could get to New York as a Heisman finalist.
Friend of the Program Picks
Deuce Vaughn 50/1– When Rico Bosco comes calling, you answer. I asked my followers for some Heisman picks to see if I was inspired by anything and one man had a clear answer.
Deuce Vaughn is undoubtedly one of the most electric running backs in the country. Deuce was top-10 in the nation last year in rush yard per game and rushing TDs as a sophomore. With Skylar Thompson headed to the NFL, this K-State offense could be even more run heavy next year. He also caught 49 balls for 468 yards and 4 TDs last season. With a less experienced QB, he could get even more work out of the backfield as a safe check-down option.
Taulia Tagovailoa 200/1– Taulia was the only player to get multiple responses in my replies. I am hoping putting some money on Taulia will suffice as my annual contribution to the Maryland football program so I don’t need to burn money betting them on a Friday night against a superior B1G opponent. In all seriousness, Taulia is electric and if he can just consistently play as well as he does when he’s at his best, he can be one of the best QBs in the nation. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Terps are making a CFP run to help him out.
That’s it for my Heisman picks! The CFB prep will really start to heat up in June and then more futures articles will start rolling out from me. I could always add a name to this list if excitement builds around a guy throughout the summer but this should be my list for the most part. From this point on, it’s Go Bucks.