If you have been staying up late on the weekends to watch some Pac-12 football, then you are well aware of the impact running back Bryce Love is having for the Cardinal. You also have been watching him skyrocket up the Heisman board the past few weeks. Now, according to Bovada’s latest Heisman odds, Love has pulled even on the board with Penn State’s Saquon Barkley.
Barkley and Love each have 7/5 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, with Love seemingly gaining the momentum in the race according to Bovada the past few weeks. Love continues to pile up the rushing yards, while Barkley is accumulating all-purpose yardage in a variety of ways. Barkley was off this past week, which may have played a slight role in the Heisman odds as well, especially after two not-so-Barkley-esque performances in the stat sheet heading into the bye week. Meanwhile, Love has been dominant in Pac-12 action.
As mentioned yesterday, Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett continues to move up the Heisman ladder as the Buckeyes have surged in recent weeks since losing to Oklahoma. Barrett moved from 28/1 odds last week to 9/1 odds this week. Barrett and Barkley will be going head-to-head in two weeks in Columbus, and Barkley’s make-or-break run for the Heisman Trophy will begin this week with the start of a key three-game stretch against Michigan and back-to-back road games against Ohio State and Michigan State.
USC quarterback Sam Darnold started the season as the Heisman favorite on the board, but his odds have slipped to 40/1 after a rough showing in a win this weekend. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, has slipped to 18/1 odds despite Louisville losing a third game this weekend.
Who didn’t see this one coming? Correct answer: absolutely no one, almost.
Heading into the 2017 season, defending national champion Clemson and Florida State were the overwhelming picks to win the ACC Atlantic and the conference championship. Not only that, but they were viewed as the league’s only realistic shot at a return to the College Football Playoffs.
With the seventh week of the season almost entirely in the books, and thanks in large part to Clemson spitting the bit Friday night, it’s North Carolina State that’s seated somewhat comfortably in the divisional driver’s seat following an impressive 35-17 win at Pitt.
If the Wolfpack is to win its first-ever divisional its and its first conference championship since 1979, however, they still have a couple of hurdles to clear.
While they’ve already knocked off Florida State and Louisville, they still have to face Clemson. The good news on that front, though, is that the Wolfpack gets the Tigers at home. Their other three conference opponents, Boston College, North Carolina and Wake Forest, are at the moment a combined 2-8 in ACC play.
As college football begins to hit the midway point in the regular season, the list of championship contenders is beginning to be whittled down. As expected, Alabama and Clemson are still very much in the running, and the two appear to be on a collision course for a third-straight meeting in the College Football Playoff national championship game. And now we have a betting line for whether or not that will actually happen.
Bovada updated its national title odds on Monday as they do every week. Alabama remains the firm favorite with 5/4 odds this week, followed by Clemson at 15/4. Ohio State has the third-best odds once again this week with a 15/2 shot to win it all, followed by Penn State at 10/1. Penn State was previously tied with 12/1 odds with Oklahoma, but the Sooners losing at home to Iowa State led to a tumble in the odds for the Sooners, who are now listed with 25/1 odds to win the national championship.
Florida, Florida State, Louisville, and Utah were among the teams wiped off the board this week.
But if you want to bet on the national championship game being a rubber match between the Crimson Tide and Tigers, then Bovada welcomes your wagers. A bet on a third meeting between Alabama and Clemson currently has 3/1 odds (+300), while a “No” has 1/4 odds (-400). History would suggest a third consecutive meeting in the championship game is not likely to happen, but both schools have looked to be as close to heads and shoulders above the rest of the field as imaginable.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was held in check for much of the afternoon on Saturday by Northwestern, but that wasn’t enough to change Barkley’s Heisman odds this week. The latest Heisman Trophy odds form Bovada held firm with the 5/4 odds placed on Barkley last week, which keeps him atop the Heisman board for now.
The most notable development in the Heisman odds this week may be the rise of Stanford running back Bryce Love. Love rocketed up the board this week by going from 14/1 odds last week to 4/1 odds this week. The only two players ahead of Love right now are Barkley and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. After a home loss to Iowa State, Mayfield’s Heisman odds moved from 9/4 to 13/4.
Love leads the nation with 206.67 yards per game and is the only running back in the nation to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark so far. Love leads the nation with 1,240 rushing yards, which is roughly 240 yards than the next leading running back, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny. For reference, Barkley’s rushing total stands at 649 yards, although Barkley’s all-purpose yardage adds up to 1,302 yards, which is ahead of Love’s all-purpose yardage so far.
Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, saw his odds dip from 10/1 to 16/1 after a road loss at NC State on Thursday night.
It was a rough film session for North Carolina State last season after the team played Louisville, as Dave Doeren’s coaching staff had to watch the eventual Heisman Trophy winner race up and down the field on the Wolfpack’s defense in a blowout to capture a key ACC win. Turnabout is fair play it seems because State did much of the same on Thursday night, pulling away at home starting in the second quarter and eventually winding up with a 39-25 victory that makes things even more interesting in the Atlantic division.
The Wolfpack offense stalled out early during the first quarter, including a red zone fumble in front of an amped up crowd at Carter-Finley Stadium, but promptly figured things out and sliced and diced the Cardinals’ defense on their following six drives to take control of the game. Quarterback Ryan Finley outplayed the Heisman winner on the opposite sideline with a steady performance, throwing for 367 yards and a touchdown, while big play machines Nyheim Hines (225 all-purpose yards with two scores) and Jaylen Samuels (104 through the air) both were terrific in the open field. Wideout Kelvin Harmon chipped in with 133 yards and a touchdown catch as well.
As well as the offense played however, the home team never could quite put the game away until late in the fourth quarter. Of course, a lot of that had to do with the dazzling play of Lamar Jackson. The signal-caller recorded a 354 yard (one touchdown) night using his arm and not surprisingly led the team in rushing with 73 yards and two scores. He was very much a one-man band for his team given the defensive woes and played heroically in the face of a lot of pressure from the Wolfpack’s stellar defensive line that helped record four sacks and played a role in forcing a pass that was tipped, intercepted and run back for a touchdown that iced the game.
The victory, one of the biggest of Doeren’s career in Raleigh given the circumstances, presents an intriguing road to the division title as the Wolfpack remain undefeated in ACC play. While No. 2 Clemson remains a favorite to return to the national title game at the moment, N.C. State did nearly pull off the upset of the Tigers last year and host this year’s meeting on November 4th. That game could not only decide the Atlantic Division in the conference, but could play a significant role in the College Football Playoff selection process as well.
But those are thoughts for another day and another week as Thursday night belonged to the Wolfpack as they savored a very sweet victory over the Cardinals.