Daily Blog •July 17, 2013

Who Will Win the Heisman in 2013?

Since 1935, the best college football player of the season receives the Heisman Trophy, the most talked about award in college football. Every week, sports shows list which prospective candidates are rising and falling on the list to win the Trophy. Phil Steele is proud to be a member of the Heisman voting committee.

Predicting who will win the Heisman is a tough task, even with a couple of weeks left in the regular season and there is always plenty of debate. With just a few weeks left in 2002’s race, Carson Palmer was not even in the Top 5 but he still ended up winning. Naturally, it is even tougher predicting the winner four months prior to the season.

In 1998 I listed Ricky Williams (Texas) as my Heisman Trophy favorite. Things did not look good for Williams when Texas was humiliated by UCLA and Kansas St in B2B weeks and he had just average games in both. At the time it looked like his Heisman chances were GONE. When the smoke cleared Williams broke the NCAA career rushing record and was the recipient of the coveted trophy.

In 1999 I listed Ron Dayne of Wisconsin as my Heisman favorite. Much like Williams, Dayne’s chances of winning the Heisman appeared to go out the window after Michigan shut him down and then he fumbled late in the Badgers’ upset loss to Cincinnati. When the season was over, Wisconsin was in the Rose Bowl and Dayne had broken Williams’ career rushing mark and won the Heisman.

In 2000 I had the only preseason publication in the country which called for Chris Weinke to win the Heisman and he was not even on many folks’ lists at the start of the year. This long shot simply delivered my THIRD straight winner, despite the big odds. Michael Vick was by far the preseason favorite in 2000 but came up short.

In 2001 I missed with Chris Simms but did have Heisman winner Eric Crouch listed as #3 coming into the year. It would have been tough to pick who was going to win the Heisman that year, even on the morning of the presentation, as the voting was one of the closest ever.

In 2002 NO ONE pegged Carson Palmer to win the Heisman prior to the year and he was about a 100-1 long shot over the summer but I did have him #7 on my list of Preseason Heisman Favorites.

In 2003 Jason White was posted at 30-1 odds to win the Heisman with 20 players listed ahead of him so another darkhorse won the award. In 2004 Jason White again finished 3rd in the voting with one of the favorites, Matt Leinart, taking home the trophy.

In 2005 Leinart was my pick but he didn’t become the second two-time winner with his teammate Reggie Bush beating him out. If the vote had taken place AFTER the bowls, Vince Young of Texas most likely would have won it.

In 2006 the QB of the #1 team in the country led from start to finish in the Heisman race as Troy Smith took home the award in a landslide. In ‘07 Tim Tebow became the first soph to win it while in ‘08 Sam Bradford became the 2nd straight soph.

In 2009 RB Mark Ingram became Alabama’s first ever Heisman Trophy winner despite the preseason favorites being Tebow, Bradford and Colt McCoy. Stanford RB Toby Gerhart finished a very close 2nd!

In 2010 Cam Newton surprised everyone as a 1st year starter one year removed from JC. I had him as a “Possibility” but no one had him on their main preseason list.

In 2011 Robert Griffin III of Baylor, who I had listed again as a “Possibility”, edged out Andrew Luck of Stanford and my preseason favorite Trent Richardson of Alabama.

Last year Matt Barkley of USC was everyone’s favorite prior to the season and yet again there was another surprise winner out of nowhere. Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M who was not even projected by most to be the st’g QB for the Aggies (I had him projected) became the first frosh ever to win the award.

Here are my Favorites to win this year’s Heisman and current odds to win the award according to Bovada.com

My 2013 Favorites to Win the Heisman

1. QB Braxton Miller • Ohio St (May 1st Odds 7/1: July 17 Odds: 6/1) Miller is a perfect fit for Urban Meyer’s offense and LY threw for 2,039 yds (58%, 15-6) while adding 1,271 rush (5.6) and was named the B10 OPOY. TY he has a stronger supporting cast (9 ret st’rs) and should put up even better numbers in his 3rd yr while leading OSU to another Top 5 finish.

2. QB AJ McCarron • Alabama (10/1: 10/1)
While it has been the Bama RB’s and D that get a majority of the credit in the Tide’s run of dominance, McCarron has been rock solid in each of the L/2 yrs incl throwing for 2,933 yds (67%, 30-3) while throwing 291 passes w/out an int LY. If Bama wins a 3rd consecutive National Title and McCarron puts up similar numbers, how can anyone deny him an invite to NY?

3. QB Teddy Bridgewater • Louisville (13/1: 12/1)
One year after throwing for 3,718 yds (68.5%, 27-8) while leading the Cardinals to a Sugar Bowl win over Florida and a Top 15 finish, Bridgewater not only has his sights on the Heisman in 2013, but he also is the current favorite of being the 1st QB taken in the 2014 NFL Draft! If the Cards live up to my high expectations, then Bridgewater should be a slam dunk for a NY invite.

4. QB Marcus Mariota • Oregon (15/1: 14/1) While it was another rFr Johnny Manziel who got most of the hype LY, Mariota “quietly” was named 1st Tm P12 as he threw for 2,677 yds (68.5%, 32-6), rushed for 752 (7.1) and led the Ducks to a #2 finish. TY as long as he stays healthy, Mariota could even improve upon LY’s outstanding numbers while leading the Ducks to another Top 5 finish!

5. QB Johnny Manziel • Texas A&M (4/1: 9/2) While I may take some flak from Aggies fans for putting LY’s Heisman winner at #5, keep in mind only one ply’r in history has repeated (Archie Griffin, Ohio St ‘74-’75). Defenses also now have a year of film and will most certainly spend the off-ssn keying on him. Still, I expect “Johnny Football” to put up solid numbers again but voters will be comparing his stats to LY.

6. DE Jadeveon Clowney • S Carolina (11/1: 10/1) In recent years, defensive players have been starting to make a push towards being legitimate Heisman contenders with Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh finishing 4th in ‘10 and ND’s Manti Te’o finishing 2nd LY. Clowney has amassed 21 sks in 2 yrs and has clearly lived up to his PS#1 billing. He is not only the top defensive player TY, but the overwhelming favorite to be the top pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

7. QB Aaron Murray • Georgia (10/1: 12/1)
Murray already owns many UGA records incl single ssn pass yds, total off and pass td’s. He also finished 2nd in the country in pass efficiency LY (95-32 car ratio) and in his 4th ssn as the st’r should put up similar numbers while leading the Dogs to another SEC Champ gm appearance.

8. QB Tajh Boyd • Clemson (13/1: 16/1)
LY Boyd became the 1st ACC ply’r ever to have 2 seasons with 4,000+ yds of ttl offense. While he can’t improve too much upon LY’s stats (3,896 pass yds, 67%, 36-13, 514 rush), I think with a healthy WR Sammy Watkins to throw to, he will!

9. WR Marqise Lee • USC (10/1: 16/1) Lee easily won the Biletnikoff LY with 1,721 yds (14.6) and finished #4 in the Heisman. TY with his WR counterpart Robert Woods gone to the NFL and a young QB who will use him as a safety net, Lee could get even more touches and put up better numbers.

10. RB TJ Yeldon • Alabama (15/1: 9/1) Bama RB’s have fared well recently in the Heisman with Mark Ingram taking home Bama’s 1st trophy in ‘09 and Trent Richardson finishing 2nd in ‘11. LY Yeldon ran for 1,108 yds (6.3) as a true frosh while splitting carries with Eddie Lacy. TY he should see even more carries and have more yds.


This list is heavy on experienced QB’s and RB’s who could put up big stats for Nat’l Title contenders, which has been the formula for 10 of the L/12 Heisman Trophy winners.

De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon     14/1 Current Odds
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska          18/1
Sammy Watkins, Clemson           
Kevin Hogan, Stanford                       
Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor           20/1
Todd Gurley, Georgia                       
Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Duke Johnson, Miami, Fl           14/1
Devin Gardner, Michigan           30/1
Brett Hundley, UCLA                 33/1
Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona            40/1
Casey Pachall, TCU
Jeff Driskel, Florida                    40/1
Jameis Winston, Florida St


There are some quality players who will put up big stats but aren’t likely to be playing for a National Title contender or may play for a contender but could split votes with other prime players. The following players are listed alphabetical by school:

Amari Cooper, Alabama
CJ Mosley, Alabama
Taylor Kelly, Arizona St
Will Sutton, Arizona St
Bryce Petty, Baylor
Kyle Van Noy, BYU
Derek Carr, Fresno St
Dri Archer, Kent St
Terrance Broadway, Louisiana
Zach Mettenberger, LSU
Jeremy Hill, LSU
Rakeem Cato, Marshall
Stefon Diggs, Maryland                40/1
Stephen Morris, Miami, Fl            25/1
Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska           25/1
Cody Fajardo, Nevada
Bryn Renner, North Carolina
Venric Mark, Northwestern
Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
Tyler Tettleton, Ohio
Carlos Hyde, Ohio St
Blake Bell, Oklahoma                   40/1
David Fales, San Jose St
Devonte Fields, TCU
Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
Mike Evans, Texas A&M
Anthony Barr, UCLA
Kolton Browning, ULM
Silas Redd, USC
Chuckie Keeton, Utah St
Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Keith Price, Washington
Bishop Sankey, Washington
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
James White, Wisconsin
Antonio Andrews, WKU

Let me know who you think will win the Heisman on Facebook or Twitter!

Only 43 Days Until the First College Football Game!!!