Heisman odds: Clemson’s Deshaun Watson the early betting favorite

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2015 Heisman Trophy finalist and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is the early favorite to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy according to Bovada. In the first batch of early Heisman Trophy odds released by the popular sports book, Clemson’s quarterback was labeled the favorite to win the hardware next fall following a wildly successful 2015 season and run to the national championship game. The valiant effort in the championship game put everyone on notice just how good Watson is. Of course, he was already a Heisman finalist, so he has the college football world’s attention already.

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, another 2015 finalist for the Heisman Trophy, was tied for the second-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy with LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette had appeared to be the easy pick for the Heisman Trophy last season but his run to the trophy was steamrolled by Alabama, which allowed Derrick Henry to take the lead in the race.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was given a 10/1 shot to win the Heisman Trophy, the same as Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was among a handful of players receiving 12/1 odds.

Odds to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy

  • QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson (9/2)
  • RB Leonard Fournette, LSU (5/1)
  • RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (5/1)
  • QB JT Barrett, Ohio State (10/1)
  • QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (10/1)
  • RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (12/1)
  • RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State (12/1)
  • RB Royce Freeman, Oregon (12/1)
  • QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss (12/1)
  • RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma (12/1)
  • WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama (16/1)
  • QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (16/1)
  • QB Brad Kaaya, Miami (25/1)

Tom Herman names Shane Buechele starting QB… for now

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It’s certainly expected that Shane Buechele will start at quarterback for Texas this fall. After all, he did so last season and performed capably well — about as well as you could expect for a true freshman on a 5-7 team. Buechele’s competition for the job is true freshman Sam Ehlinger, and you definitely wouldn’t bank on a true freshman beating out an incumbent starter.

Tom Herman confirmed as much Monday. Herman said Buechele would start if the Maryland opener was tomorrow, and that will be the case until it isn’t.

“As of today, Shane’s starting,” he said. “Now, does that guarantee he’ll start against Maryland? No. But, he’ll take the bulk of the ones. If he doesn’t take advantage of them, Sam plays better than him, that’ll change. As of now, Shane’s getting the bulk of the one reps, but Sam will continue to do that…. It’s a good battle, but you can tell Shane’s played 12 games of college football.”

The question, of course, is not who will take the first snap against Maryland, but how much Ehlinger will play and how long Buechele can hold him off.

It’s no secret Herman asks his quarterbacks to take hits, and Ehlinger seems better equipped to do that. Texas lists Ehlinger carrying 230 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame, compared to Buechele’s 6-foot-1, 205-pound build. Ehlinger compiled 2,395 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns while playing through injury for the bulk of his senior year. Buechele rushed for 151 yards on 97 carries, while also setting Texas freshman records with 2,958 passing yards.

LSU officially welcomes new Mike the Tiger to his new habitat

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LSU is keeping the tradition of a live tiger mascot alive with the announced addition of Mike VII. The new Mike the Tiger has moved into his new spacious digs and is already having football fans and animal lovers fall in love with him.

The newest addition had to be checked to make sure he was qualified to be released into LSU’s special habitat that has been the home for previous tigers. Mike VII will not be making appearances at Tiger Stadium on game days as has previously been a tradition. Instead, Mike VII will be able to roam a recently updated and renovated tiger habitat in style and root on the Tigers from the comfort of his new home.

Mike VI died of cancer last October.

Utah’s surprise QB announcement tabs Tyler Huntley as starter

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Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham made one of the more surprising decisions on Monday. Instead of naming the senior captain as his starting quarterback, Whittingham chose sophomore Tyler Huntley to be the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1 against North Dakota.

The decision to go with Huntley means Troy Williams will be reduced to backup duty. Alabama transfer Cooper Bateman will also be sitting down on the depth chart, which is another mild surprise from Salt Lake City.

Williams was Utah’s quarterback last season when the Utes made a push for the Pac-12 South Division before falling just short of the Pac-12 championship game. Williams passed for 2,757 yards and 15 touchdowns. Williams also rushed for 235 yards and five touchdowns for the Utes.

As a freshman, Huntley appeared in six games and attempted just seven passes for 60 total yards. It would seem Huntley has done a lot to impress the coaches to earn the starting nod over an experienced starter and the transfer option. His improvement in the offseason and athleticism are said to be fueling his rise as a quarterback, so we’ll see how that pays off on the field once the games begin.

Jim McElwain says Florida is heading to Texas to “beat the heck out of Michigan”

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It goes without saying that coaches will say what coaches say. Suggesting their team is on a mission to score a big win in front of fans clad in the school colors should not be taken for anything more than simply aiming to get a rise out of the fans. Mission accomplished for Florida head coach Jim McElwain, but possible bulletin board material for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Speaking before Florida students over the weekend, McElwain laid it out there by saying his Gators were looking to do one thing against Michigan; win with authority.

“We’re heading to Dallas here in a couple weeks to go beat the heck out of Michigan, and then come back to you guys,” McElwain said, according to SEC Country.

The Gators are opening the college football season next week in Arlington, Texas against the Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten. Florida will be a bit undermanned with the recent suspension of seven players, including star wide receiver Antonio Callaway. Michigan also won the most recent meeting between the two schools, with Harbaugh’s Wolverines dominating McElwain’s Gators in the Citrus Bowl two seasons ago (41-7).

Michigan will be looking to reestablish its identity with a good amount of roster turnover this season, but the depth hit from the recent suspensions in Gainesville may help give Michigan an edge. Either way, we can only look forward to seeing how Harbaugh potentially responds once this claim from McElwain makes its way to Ann Arbor.