Jameis Winston tops Bovada’s initial 2014 Heisman odds

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As expected, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner is the early favorite to become the second player to claim back-to-back stiff-armed trophies.

In its initial set of odds for the 2014 Heisman, Bovada.lv has installed Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston as a 2/1 favorite for this year’s award.  Of course, this past season Winston became the second consecutive redshirt freshman to be named the winner of the most prestigious award in college football.

Winston serves as the only 2013 Heisman finalist to be represented as the other five — Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Auburn running back Tre Mason, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and Boston College running back Andre Williams –were either seniors or left school early.

Around this time last year, Manziel, the 2012 Heisman winner, was the prohibitive favorite at 4-1.  McCarron was the only other 2013 finalist to make Bovada‘s initial release in early February.  Winston was not listed as he had yet to claim the starting job coming off a redshirt year.

Right behind Winston are a trio of quarterbacks: Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (7/2), Ohio State’s Braxton Miller (4/1) and Baylor’s Bryce Petty (6/1).  Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon at 5/1 is the favorite running back, although I’d wait for his running mate Derrick Henry, who’s not included in the initial batch of odds, to be listed if you’re looking to drop some cash on a Tide back.

In somewhat of a surprise, six running backs are listed by Bovada to go along with nine quarterbacks.  Quarterbacks have won 12 of the last 13 Heismans, the lone exception being Alabama’s Mark Ingram in 2009.

Another surprise?  Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, who did not play in 2013 because he cheated on a final exam earlier in the year, is listed at 25/1.

The Seminoles are the only team with two players listed by Bovada, with Winston joined by running back Karlos Williams (33/1).

Below is the complete set of 2014 Heisman odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

Jameis Winston (QB, Florida State) 2/1
Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) 7/2
Braxton Miller (QB, Ohio State) 4/1
T.J. Yeldon (RB, Alabama) 5/1
Bryce Petty (QB, Baylor) 6/1
Brett Hundley (QB, UCLA) 12/1
Mike Davis (RB, South Carolina)  15/1
Melvin Gordon (RB, Wisconsin) 16/1
Everett Golson (QB, Notre Dame) 25/1
Trevor Knight (QB, Oklahoma) 25/1
Duke Johnson (RB, Miami) 33/1
Karlos Williams (RB, Florida State) 33/1
Matt Johnson (QB, Bowling Green) 66/1
Rakeem Cato (QB, Marshall) 66/1

Baylor strength coach apparently no longer with the program

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It seems every bit of news related to Baylor football nowadays has to do with the school’s on-going sexual assault scandal but it appears there is one bit of information coming out of the program that doesn’t have something to do with that.

A school spokesperson told ESPN on Friday that football strength coach Kaz Kazadi has been “reassigned to a role outside the athletic performance staff.” A report from the local ESPN Radio affiliate in Waco indicates that the move will eventually have the coach leaving the school altogether.

Kazadi spent nearly a decade with the Bears and played a big role in the team’s on-field turnaround under the former coaching staff. Several former players took to Twitter on Friday to express their shock over the loss of one of the cornerstones of the team in recent years.

After the hire of Matt Rhule this offseason, it isn’t too surprising to see some turnover among those staff members connected to the previous regime. Baylor’s new head coach brought most of his strength staff with him from Temple so it was probably only a matter of time before Kazadi moved on, though the timing of the quasi-announcement (the Bears started spring football last weekend) is somewhat interesting.

Either way, it appears Baylor will have a new direction in the weight room going forward.

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh has ditched his Dockers for another

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Peanut butter and jelly. Milk and cookies. Batman and Robin. Maize and blue. Jim Harbaugh and khakis.

All are iconic combinations, but it appears the latter is undergoing a few changes right now.

The Michigan head coach’s affinity for a pair of khakis has been so strong over the years that it’s become almost comical how much he likes the style of pant. Heck, he even got a commercial out of it a few years ago when he specifically started getting outfitted with Dockers brand khakis.

Despite being a paid endorser though, it appears that Harbaugh has dropped the famous Levi’s brand version of khakis to attack the day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind in another pair of pants.

Not only is the switch from Dockers to Lululemon result in a lot more comfort for the Wolverines coach, it’s probably a bit more of a hit to the ol’ wallet than dropping by Walmart for a pair of khakis off the shelf. It probably doesn’t make a huge difference for Harbaugh though given that he’s the highest paid coach in the country but it might result in a few more trips to the mall.

Either way, what it does mean is that now we demand a new commercial featuring Harbaugh and khakis. After all, if you’re upping the clothing game, you’ve got to up the ad game as well.

Former Penn State president found guilty of role in Sandusky scandal

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Former Penn State president Graham Spanier’s day in court has come and has resulted in a guilty verdict.

The Centre Daily Times is among the outlets reporting that a jury has found Spanier guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of children in a trial related to his role in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. In addition, Spanier was found not guilty on two other counts, one a similar child endangerment charge and the other a count of criminal conspiracy.

The verdict comes after lengthy deliberations by the jury in the case, which took a turn last week when former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz plead guilty to child endangerment charges as part of the same trial. All three figure to be sentenced in the next few months.

Prior to the scandal, Spanier was widely considered to be one of the most respected college presidents in the country and heavily involved in NCAA matters. However he was one of several key figures fired by the school as a result of covering up the actions of Sandusky, the Nittany Lions’ former defensive coordinator who was found guilty on 45 charges of sexually abusing minors.

While the verdict is likely to be appealed, Spanier is nevertheless facing the prospect of joining Sandusky behind bars as a result of his own involvement in the scandal.

Dad of RB Kingston Davis says son will transfer from Michigan

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Michigan’s the latest football program to see its roster hit with the annual spring personnel attrition.

The father of Kingston Davis confirmed to Sam Webb of Scout.com that his son informed UM officials earlier Friday of his intention to transfer from the Wolverines.  Apparently there were two reasons that triggered the running back’s decision: a crowded backfield and chatter that he would be changing positions.

While 2016 leading rusher De'Veon Smith is gone, the Wolverines’ second-, third- and fourth-leading rushers from last season — rising sophomore Chris Evans (614 yards), rising junior Karan Higdon (425), rising fifth-year senior Ty Isaac (417) — all return. Kareem Walker, a four-star 2016 recruit rated as the No. 4 running back in the country, sat out last season because of academics but should be a part of the rotation as a redshirt freshman. They also added four-star (O'Maury Samuels) and three-star (Kurt Taylor) backs as part of their 2017 recruiting class.

A three-star 2016 recruit, Davis was rated as the No. 1 fullback in the country in that year’s class. As a true freshman, the 6-1, 245-pound back carried the ball twice for 17 yards.