The 2015 college football season is barely a week old, but it’s never too early to start looking at potential Heisman Trophy contenders.
Football Betting Center says TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin was the preseason favorite to win the Heisman, so let’s take a look at his Week 1 performance, as well as the four other contenders with the best odds.
Trevone Boykin: 11/2 odds
So many people expected to see Boykin and the rest of the TCU Horned Frogs come out looking for blood in their first game of the 2015 season, a year after they were left out of the College Football Playoff. But most didn’t fully comprehend the challenge that faced TCU in a road game against a Minnesota team that’s much-improved, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Boykin will have plenty of time to shine in Big 12 games, and his 2015 debut wasn’t bad. He threw for 246 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an interception. Boykin was also the team’s leading rusher, racking up 18 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown.
TCU got the 23-17 road victory, and that’s all that matters for the Horned Frogs in Game 1.
Ezekiel Elliott: 6/1
The Ohio State running back was likely the only player on this list that wasn’t even the best player on his own team in its first game. That’s really saying something for a guy who ran the ball 11 times for 122 yards and a touchdown.
But if you watched the Buckeyes’ 42-24 victory over Virginia Tech Monday night, you’ll totally understand. Braxton Miller’s debut at wide receiver was nothing short of spectacular – so good that he’s now being discussed as a possible Heisman contender.
As for Elliott, he wasn’t fantastic in his first game. He fumbled a punt return that was a key turnover in the first half, and 80 of those 122 rushing yards came on a single play. It appears he’ll have company on his own team in the Heisman discussions.
Deshaun Watson: 10/1
Watson will neither win nor lose the Heisman against a team like Wofford, but his first game of 2015 was good enough to keep him at the forefront of the conversation. The Clemson quarterback completed 18 of the 22 passes he threw for 194 yards, and had two passing touchdowns and no interceptions on the day.
Watson could have a tougher road to the New York City Heisman ceremony if he loses arguably his best wide receiver, Mike Williams, for the season. The junior receiver collided with the goalpost after catching one of Watson’s two touchdown passes on Saturday, fracturing a bone in his neck. The injury could keep Williams out the rest of the season, which would be a huge loss for the Tigers.
Cody Kessler: 23/2
Southern California’s quarterback is expected to lead a Trojan resurgence this season, and he sure was sharp in the team’s first game of the year. In USC’s 55-6 win over Arkansas State, Kessler was 19-of-26 for 236 yards and a whopping four touchdowns.
Having built a 42-6 lead in the first three quarters, Kessler didn’t play in the fourth. He finished the game with no turnovers but was sacked five times – something the Trojans will want to get ironed out before the bigger programs come calling later in the season.
Nick Chubb: 12/1
It was business as usual for Georgia’s latest star running back, who carried the ball 16 times for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns. UGA easily defeated the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 51-14 in a weather-shortened affair at Sanford Stadium.
Consider this: with so much depth at the running back position, Chubb should have plenty of chances to get a “Heisman moment” or two later in the year against those top SEC foes. Fellow backs Keith Marshall and Sony Michel should be able to spell Chubb whenever he needs a break, keeping him fresher and running harder against the best defenses in the conference later in the year. That’s a really scary thought.
Photo: AP/Rainier Ehrhardt