Matt Barkley, Montee Ball and Denard Robinson are Heisman favorites, though the past two winners Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton came from well back in the field. Here are five longshot bets that could be intriguing, in places where sports gambling is legal.
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon [20-1] He may be the most explosive player in college football. As a freshman last season, Thomas amassed 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns on 101 touches. He also ran back two kickoffs. Becoming more of a focal point for the offense with LaMichael James, putting up a 1,000 rush/1,000 rec season is not unreasonable.
Rex Burkhead, Nebraska [35-1] He kept Nebraska stable last year through a flurry of Taylor Martinez javelin throws. He ran for 1,357 yards and had 17 total touchdowns last year, despite being slowed late by injuries. He could be even more effective in 2012 with Nebraska pacing his workload. If Nebraska can pip the two Michigan schools for the Legends division title, Burkhead could be in the mix.
Keith Price, Washington [45-1] Price finished 7th nationally in passer rating last season as a sophomore, ahead of Matt Barkley among others. He outperformed Robert Griffin III in the Alamo Bowl last year, putting up seven total touchdowns. Downside: Washington has a brutal opening schedule with a road trip to LSU and Stanford, at Oregon and USC as first three conference games. Upside: He will be on TV a lot.
Eddie Lacy, Alabama [85-1] Alabama running backs tend to perform well in Heisman rankings. Lacy will be running with speed and power behind a ridiculous offensive line. He has averaged more than seven yards per carry the past two seasons. Should Alabama make another title run, someone in a skill position must be credited.
Jeff Tuel, Washington State [175-1] Tuel is a 175-1 shot for a reason. That said, he was supposed to have a breakout year in 2011 with a bad team as a junior before getting hurt. He has talent at the skill positions and Mike Leach running his offense. If he puts up some ridiculous numbers, and WSU finishes above .500 and maybe goes toe to toe in a high-scoring game with Oregon….