Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston tops Bovada’s initial 2014 Heisman odds


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

Stanford hands keys to offense to QB Keller Chryst

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Quarterback Keller Chryst #10 of the Stanford Cardinal looks downfield to pass against the Washington Huskies on September 30, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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With things not going anywhere close according to plan this season, Stanford head coach David Shaw is in need of a change. This week that change will come at quarterback, where Keller Chryst will get a chance to start his first game with the Cardinal. Chryst will replace Ryan Burns, who has been picked off seven times this season.

”I hate to get to this point,” Shaw said. ”But it’s the best thing for this offense. We need more production at that position. It’s our challenge to support Keller.”

Chryst has attempted 18 passes this season, completing seven for 63 yards with one interception. He has also rushed 11 times for 11 yards.

Stanford’s offensive woes are not to rest squarely on the shoulders of Burns, but one of the biggest ways to spark a struggling offense is to change the quarterback. Shaw hopes this change will turn things around before things get too much worse this season. Stanford’s offensive numbers are down much more than anyone would have expected this season. The Cardinal are averaging just 17.0 points per game and 299.1 yards per game. Stanford has reached the end zone on offense just 10 times. Oklahoma and Texas Tech combined for 17 touchdowns on Saturday.

”I’ve been working with both all year and they’re both great people,” Stanford wide receiver Trent Irwin said. ”Sometimes you just need a change. We’ll see where it goes and have fun with it.”

Stanford takes on Arizona in Tucson this Saturday night.

Mizzou loses LB Mike Scherer and DL Terry Beckner Jr. to torn ACL injuries

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 27:   Tailback Mike Davis #28 of the South Carolina Gamecocks tries to outrun linebacker Michael Scherer #30 of the Missouri Tigers during the second quarter on September 27, 2014 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages)
Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages

Missouri’s defensive depth just got hit with a serious injury big. Missouri head coach Barry Odom announced today linebacker Mike Scherer and defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. have been lost for the rest of the season due to ACL injuries.

“It rips my heart out that he’s done everything he’s done and it ends for him with that injury,” Odom said when reflecting on the injury to Scherer. The senior also suffered a torn MCL in addition to the ACL injury. Scherer’s season comes to an end after leading the Tiger sin tackles this season.

This is the second season in a row Beckner has injured his ACL. Beckner tore his ACL and MCL last November, but the latest injury was to the opposite knee.

While Scherer will be forced to call it a career, Odom said Beckner will most likely be able to make a return to the team in 2017. It is just a matter of when he will be able to rejoin the team, as his rehab would likely linger into the winter and spring months. As noted by Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Beckner did not miss any preseason camp activities this year.

There was some positive injury news for report from Missouri. Defensive back John Gibson and safety Thomas Wilson each returned to practice on Tuesday after having a strained knee and taking a hit that required a concussion test, respectively. Wilson was not diagnosed with a concussion, allowing him to return to practice.

Navy QB Tago Smith denied extra year of eligibility by Naval Academy

ANNAPOLIS, MD - SEPTEMBER 03:  Quarterback Tago Smith #2 of the Navy Midshipmen celebrates after rushing for a first quarter touchdown against the Fordham Rams at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Annapolis, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
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It was considered a bit of a long shot for Navy quarterback Tago Smith to receive an extra year of eligibility from the Naval Academy, but today it became official. Smith was denied an extra year of eligibility by the academy, meaning his college football career is over.

Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the season. Had this been almost any other college football program, Smith would have had little problem filing the paperwork to the NCAA to apply for an extra year of eligibility given the circumstances. Things work differently in the service academies, however, and Smith needed to get approval from Vice Admiral Walter Carter, the superintendent of the Naval Academy. After reviewing the situation, Carter’s decision was made, and it was not what Smith had probably hoped.

“The mission of the Naval Academy is to graduate officers for the Navy and the Marine Corps,” Commander David McKinney said in a statement to The Capital Gazette. “This is a four-year academic institution and midshipmen are expected to graduate in that period of time unless the superintendent determines there is a significant reason why they cannot do so.

“Vice Admiral Carter looked at this particular situation and decided that is not the case with Midshipman Smith. While we are sympathetic to Tago’s athletic career, we aren’t an institution that exists to develop professional athletes, we exist to develop leaders.”

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo could not help but feel for Smith upon learning of the decision. After backing up Keenan Reynolds for three years, Smith’s time as starter could not even last one full game this season.

“I would have loved for Tago to have the opportunity to come back, but I have to support the superintendent’s decision,” Niumatalolo said. “I just feel really bad for the kid. Tago has worked so hard and it’s heartbreaking to see his career end this way.”

Helmet sticker to The Capital Gazette.

Herm Edwards visits Illini to give pep talk

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Head coach Herm Edwards of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game on November 30, 2008 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
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Former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards paid a visit to another former NFL coach on Tuesday. Edwards was in Champaign to visit Lovie Smith and his Illinois football program. While there, Edwards was scheduled to give the Illini a good old-fashioned pep talk. He’s good at that.

This is a reminder that the NFL coaching fraternity remains a strong bond over the years. Smith and Edwards were never a part of the same coaching staff in the NFL, but the two have remained friends over the years. Smith having these types of connections should be exploited at every opportunity to help promote the Illini program and boost it when needed. Edwards has been a vocal supporter of Smith, so it makes sense Smith would have his pal stop by and do what he does best. And he’s done it a number of times…

At Alabama in 2013…

Or the previous year before the Las Vegas Bowl…

Or this past summer with NC State…

Illinois is 2-5 this season and now flirting with the likelihood of not going to a postseason bowl game in Smith’s first season on the job. We’ll see if Edwards is able to give the program the extra juice it needs.

Here’s hoping we get some video footage of Edwards speaking to the Illini.