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

Arizona State, Mississippi State ink home-and-home

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Arizona State and Mississippi State on Tuesday announced a home-and-home series to be played in 2024-25. Arizona State will host the first game in Tempe on Sept. 7, 2024, and the clubs will meet in Starkville on Sept. 6, 2025.

The Sun Devils and Bulldogs have never met previously.

The Arizona State trip is not Mississippi State’s only upcoming trek from the Deep South to the Southwest. The Bulldogs also lined up a visit to Arizona in 2020 and Texas Tech in 2029. Mississippi State will open the 2024 season against Eastern Kentucky and visit Southern Miss the week after its Arizona State visit, on Sept. 14. The Bulldogs have no other games lined up in 2025 as of yet, according to FBSchedules.

Likewise, Mississippi State is not the Sun Devils’ lone upcoming SEC opponent. Arizona State has a home-and-home with LSU on the docket for 2026-28, per FBSchedules. The Mississippi State games complete both of the Sun Devils’ non-conference schedules for these respective seasons. Arizona State opens with Wyoming and visits Texas State in 2024, and hosts Northern Arizona and Texas State in 2025.

UCLA lands Texas Tech graduate transfer OL Justin Murphy

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Help is on the way for Chip Kelly‘s offensive line. One graduate transfer offensive lineman has the Bruins on his list, but another has already pulled the trigger for UCLA.

Texas Tech graduate transfer Justin Murphy on Tuesday committed to UCLA in a post on his Twitter account.

A native of Belton, Texas, Murphy signed with Texas Tech in 2014 and made four starts at right guard as a redshirt freshman. He again started four games at right guard in ’15 before moving out to tackle, where he started another four games. But after battling a series of knee injuries, Murphy announced in the middle of the 2016 season he had medically retired from the game.

After sitting out 2017, Murphy announced in March he planned to make a comeback.

UCLA remarkably started the same offensive linemen in all 13 games last season, but tackle Kolton Miller entered the NFL draft, guard Najoee Toran and center Scott Quessenberry graduated.

Toledo posts, then deletes, tweet offering to change mascot to Shrek

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There are plenty of annoying trends on Twitter, but perhaps the worst is the “I’ll do X if this gets retweeted X-thousand amount of times.” I blame Wendy’s.

But blanket policies are never a good way to go through life, and an exception was made on Tuesday when Toledo offered to change its mascot from a rocket to Shrek with 500,000 retweets.

Sadly, some dreams are simply too beautiful to live in this fallen world, and the tweet was outed to be a hoax. “We are definitely not changing the school mascot to Shrek,” Toledo media relations specialist Christine Billau told USA Today. “The tweet was meant to be fun, but it caused too much of a distraction.”

Meanwhile, Bowling Green gleefully hopped on the dog pile with both elbows pointed out.

UMass grad transfer lineman narrows choices to Auburn, UCLA, USC

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It’s not yet known to where Jack Driscoll will transfer, but the field has been significantly narrowed.

Earlier this offseason, Driscoll decided to transfer from UMass.  Tuesday, the offensive tackle confirmed to Rivals.com that he’s down to three schools as a potential landing spot — Auburn, UCLA and USC.

Neither football program will have to wait long for a decision as Driscoll expects to make an announcement Wednesday.  Driscoll had taken an official visit to all three of the campuses prior to whittling down his transfer to-do list.

“It will come down to one of those three schools,” the lineman told AuburnSports.com. “I feel like all three of the schools would be a good fit.”

Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 at whichever program he selects.  The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017.  All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.