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Harry’s Heisman Trophy Talk Recap and the Week Ahead

Trevor Lawrence Oklahoma Heisman Trophy favorites betting odds Harry Gagnon

With Week 1 in the books, there were some ups and downs with players in terms of challenging to get to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City and a chance to win the Heisman Trophy.

The week started on Thursday night with defending champion Clemson taking on conference opponent Georgia Tech in Death Valley. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence may be the favorite according to the oddsmakers but he did himself no favors in his Heisman run as he only had 168 yards passing and had two interceptions.

Lawrence is going to have to be stellar from now on because the competition put up some big numbers and that includes his teammate, running back Travis Etienne. Etienne is trying to become the first running back to win the award since Derrick Henry in 2015 with Alabama.

My sleeper pick was Etienne, who was +4500 just 10 days ago, and after basically rushing for three touchdowns and 200 yards in the first half vs the Yellow Jackets, his odds were suddenly sliced in half.

This week, 12th-ranked Texas A&M comes to Clemson and this is where, with a huge performance against a solid Aggies squad, Lawrence can put last week’s mediocre game behind him.

Tagovailoa Virtually Flawless in Opener

Tua Tagovailoa and his 217 QB rating was practically flawless against Duke. It should be just about the same this week for Tua and the Tide as they are a 54-point favorite at home vs New Mexico State. This seems like a four- or five-touchdown game for Tua by halftime and then he rests in the second half as Alabama starts its conference season the week after at South Carolina.

Justin Fields of Ohio State had a huge first half for the Buckeyes vs Lane Kiffin’s crew, but let’s see what he has against in-state rival Cincinnati. The Bearcats were extremely good defensively last week against UCLA, holding them to only eight completions and just 62 yards on the ground.

A couple other big-time Big Ten performers had solid openers against lesser opponents. Running back Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin had four TDs (two receiving) in a shutout of South Florida and Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson was as efficient as always with three passing scores against Middle Tennessee.

Georgia’s Jake Fromm and teammate D’Andre Swift  put the car on cruise (if you will) in the second half vs Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs won easily and didn’t show much in Week 1. Swift did average 9.3 yards a carry and had 149 yards on the ground.

Jalen vs Tua: Wouldn’t That be a Game?

Jalen Hurts made a move when it comes to the Heisman race as he put up six total touchdowns in a nationally televised game Sunday vs Houston. Wouldn’t it be something if down the road we saw Jalen and the Sooners play Saban and Tua in a final-four game? (I’m just saying and throwing that possibility out there.)

Now there were a couple guys who just after Week 1 played their way out of Heisman discussion and both are quarterbacks.

First, I’ll lead with Oregon’s Justin Herbert. With the Pac-12 conference being soft, Herbert needed big numbers and had to win, and on Saturday at AT&T Stadium he did neither. The Ducks blew the game against Auburn and Herbert (second choice at +400, Tua -200 favorite to be the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft) only had one touchdown in this prime-time matchup.

The other quarterback who had a tough start to the season was Adrian Martinez of Nebraska. Martinez was +1000 to start the season to win the Heisman and slipped all the way down to +3300 now as he only had six yards rushing and had zero touchdowns against South Alabama.

His numbers went way down as Jaguars QB Cephus Johnson outplayed Martinez in Lincoln, tallying three total scores. The only way Martinez can get back in the Heisman discussion is to have a monster game at home vs Ohio State the last week of September.

The matchup of the week is Joe Burrow of LSU visiting Austin against Sammy Ehlinger and the Longhorns. Burrow is a value pick at +5000 as he ripped off five scores last week in a Tiger mauling. Ehlinger at +3300 isn’t bad value either. Look for Ehlinger to maybe run the ball more (had 16 rushing TDs last year) and if he can lead Texas (the Longhorns are a 4.5-point underdog at home) to an upset win, that 33-1 will be long gone.

Heading into Week 2, I mentioned the key games this week with Clemson, Ohio State and Texas playing notable opponents. In one other matchup that is worth noting, California plays at Washington and Georgia transfer Jacob Eason, with four touchdowns for the Huskies, is looking to overtake Oregon’s Herbert as the top QB in the Pac-12.

Eason might be the one long shot out there no one is talking about in the Heisman discussion as of yet, but a couple more powerful performances and that could change very quickly, plus Washington plays all three of its top 30 opponents in Seattle.

Check out Odd Shark’s Heisman Futures page for the latest on the race for the Heisman Trophy.