Kamryn Pettway

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Baker Mayfield, J.T. Barrett, Lamar Jackson and Sam Darnold among 2017 Heisman Trophy favorites

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The new college football season may still be a long way away, but it is never too early to place your bets on who you think will win the Heisman Trophy in the 2017 season. The very early favorite, according to odds released by Bovada on Monday, is Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Bovada gives Mayfield 11/2 odds to win the Heisman Trophy this fall. He is followed by Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett (6/1), which sets up a nice Heisman Trophy showdown in September when the defending Big 12 champions head to Columbus for the second game in a home-and-home series that was won by Ohio State in Norman in 2016. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, is listed with 7/1 odds, with USC’s rising star quarterback Sam Darnold listed at 9/1.

Penn State’s dynamic duo of running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley each have 10/1 odds, along with Washington quarterback Jake Browning.

Looking back to the early odds from last January, Barrett and Mayfield each had 10/1 Heisman odds. Louisville’s Jackson was not on the radar.

Auburn RB Kamryn Pettway says he has “unfinished business” in 2017

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If there was any question about what Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway had planned for the 2017 season, wonder no more. The Tigers running back took to Twitter to silence any questions that may have been floating around about his playing future by saying he is coming back to Auburn in 2017.

“For all of the Auburn fans asking, I will be back next season,” Pettway said on his Twitter account Saturday night. “I have some unfinished business!”

It was never really expected Pettway would move on from Auburn so soon, but at least now we know for sure. His return to the Tigers next season will make for a formidable backfield. In addition to sharing running duties with Kerryon Johnson, Pettway will likely be taking handoffs from transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham. The former Baylor quarterback announced he will join Auburn next season. Because Stidham sat out the 2016 season, he will be eligible to play in 2017 for the Tigers.

Pettway was the SEC’s sixth-leading rusher in 2016 with 1,123 rushing yards and a conference-high 124.78 rushing yards per game.

Who will be the favorite for the Heisman Trophy in 2017? How about Lamar Jackson?

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Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson will now have an opportunity to do something no quarterback has ever done. Jackson will attempt to become the first quarterback in the history of the Heisman Trophy to win the award a second time. And considering how weel his 2016 season started (despite sputtering in the end), the hype machine will be in full force in 2017 out of Louisville. History will not be on his side of course, as there has been just one two-time Heisman Trophy winner (Archie Griffin of Ohio State).

Recent quarterbacks who have come up short of winning a second Heisman Trophy have included Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel. Jackson should have some stiff competition to pose with the stiff-arm trophy in 2017, including at the quarterback position alone. For starters, 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist Baker Mayfield will be back at Oklahoma with a chance to pick up where he has left this season, and that will include a second crack against Ohio State (in Columbus).

Other quarterbacks that should be in the conversation will include USC’s Sam Darnold, Washington’s Jake Browning and perhaps UCLA’s Josh Rosen out of the Pac-12. Alabama’s Jalen Hurts will certainly garner some attention, as will Penn State’s Trace McSorley) and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett if he returns in 2017. And with Tom Herman the QB Whisperer taking over the show in Austin, look for a big year from Texas quarterback Shane Buechele to catch some eyes.

Running backs have lost their edge in the Heisman Trophy game over the last 15 years, but Saquon Barkley of Penn State, Derrius Guice of LSU and Kamryn Pettway of Auburn may be worth watching closely. Ohio State’s biggest playmaker, Kurtis Samuel, should be in the conversation as well. And for those who insist on throwing a defensive player in the mix, Houston’s Ed Olliver will be the name to watch, although a defensive player from a Group of Five program likely has as minimal a chance to win the Heisman Trophy as there exists. USC’s Adoree’ Jackson isn’t shy about starting his own campaign either.

But the fun part about the Heisman Trophy conversation every season is seeing which player pops up out of nowhere to take the college football world by storm. That will likely be the case in the month of September, but it is anyone’s guess who it may be. Or maybe Jackson will have what it takes to make history.

Auburn DE Byron Cowart has emergency appendectomy

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Auburn defensive end Byron Cowart was rushed in for an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn announced today.

There were early reports suggesting Cowart, a sophomore, will be out for the remainder of the season as a result of the surgery, but Malzahn did not comment on the status for the defensive end for the long-term.

Cowart has recorded six tackles and forced a fumble in backup duty off the Auburn bench this season. Cowart was one of the nation’s top-rated players out of high school.

While updating the status of Cowart, Malzahn also said there is no decision on the availability of quarterback Sean White for this weekend’s game against Alabama A&M. White has been banged up and passed for just 27 yards last week in a road loss at Georgia. Malzahn has also ruled out running back Kamryn Pettway for this weekend’s game. Of course, as rough as Auburn’s offense has looked, the Tigers should still manage to score a victory this week against Alabama A&M.

Next week against Alabama, however, should be a much different story. The Crimson Tide have already locked up the SEC West Division crown and are heading to Atlanta and can still probably afford one loss without jeopardizing their playoff chances, but Alabama will look to finish the regular season on a strong note against rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

No. 21 Auburn rushes for 543 yards in 56-3 win over No. 17 Arkansas

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No. 21 Auburn (5-2, 3-1 SEC) rushed for more yards against No. 17 Arkansas (5-3, 1-3 SEC) than any team has since before the turn of the century en route to a smashing 56-3 victory over the Razorbacks Saturday evening in Jordan Hare Stadium. When all was said and done, the Tigers racked up 543 rushing yards.

Kamryn Pettway led the ground attack with 192 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Eli Stove had a 78-yard touchdown run to boost his 94-yard day and Stanton Truitt rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns to add to Auburn’s wildly productive day on the ground. Quarterback Sean White was a part of the fun too, with 61 rushing yards and a score to go with his 77 passing yards and passing touchdown.

On the other side, Auburn’s defense never allowed Arkansas to get a running game going. The Razorbacks ran 31 running plays and managed just 25 rushing yards in the game. A combined loss of 14 yards were credited to Arkansas quarterbacks Austin Allen and Ty Storey. Allen was forced to leave the game in the first half due to an apparent knee injury but he returned after a brief absence. Rawleigh Williams III was the leading rusher for the Razorbacks with 22 yards on 13 carries.

Auburn also played a pretty clean game with just two penalties for 10 yards and no turnovers (Arkansas had two turnovers). The Razorbacks are going to have to think long and hard about this one, or simply put the game film in the trash and forget about it. Either way, there was no denying this was one of the worst losses Arkansas has experienced under Bret Bielema.

Arkansas will get a little extra time to prepare for their next game. The Razorbacks have a much-needed bye week coming up next weekend, giving them an extra week to prepare for a home game against Florida.

OK, so time to look forward for Auburn. Before you start looking to the end of the year with the Iron Bowl matchup with Alabama, Auburn has to go on the road next week to play Ole Miss. Yes, the Rebels may be a fringe top-25 team this season, but there is no question they can be a dangerous opponent. However, Auburn’s defense has been playing very well the past month and has now held each of their past four opponents to fewer than 15 points. Doing that against Ole Miss may be difficult, especially on the road, but Auburn is playing with confidence.