Will Winston win the Heisman again?
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) – Jameis Winston is a heavy favorite to repeat as Heisman Trophy winner but is he worth the price for bettors?
Jameis Winston will try to become the first player since Archie Manning in 1975 to be a repeat as a Heisman winner. Winston is currently a -350 favorite and I cannot see the value of placing a wager on him at this steep price.
Winston had an off-field issue last season as we all know and now has just recently been cited for shoplifting after walking out the supermarket with some crab legs. He was briefly suspended from the FSU baseball team and I only have to wonder what other off-the-field issues and distractions will come Winston's way for the 2014 football season. After Johnny Manziel won the Heisman in 2012, we all saw his fame was a huge disruption off the field and the bull's-eye was on Manziel and Texas AM last season.
The bullseye will be on FSU this year and it will be very tough for them to make a repeat performance for the National Championship. After losing 11 players to the NFL Draft in 2013, the Seminoles lost 7 more in the Draft this year. Can this team continue to reload like Alabama seems to do every season? That is the question that remains to be answered but I honestly feel like FSU will regress on the defensive side of the ball this season as well on offense. The linebacking core is clearly weaker in 2014 and they lack a true team leader on defense. Winston also loses some of his favorite targets on offense with WR Kelvin Benjamin being drafted by Carolina in the 1st round, then WR Kenny Shaw signing with the Browns as a free agent. Also missing in the backfield are James Wilder,Jr. and Devonta Freeman. Winston will have protection from 5 senior offensive lineman, but the playmakers are not available this season and I see the offensive production dropping and don't think the defense will be able to stand up in what will be tighter games than last season.
Looking at FSU's schedule, they will be tested in their opening game of the season vs. Oklahoma State. The Cowboys lost some key defenders, but this game is played on a neutral and HC Gundy will have his team ready. They will face a pissed off Clemson team on 9/20, then a potential let-down is in store @ NC State on 9/27. The other threats I see are Notre Dame who appears to have reloaded this season and the Irish defense could pose a problem for the 'Noles. FSU will then have 2 in-state rivalries left with the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida Gators. Both teams will play with huge chips on their shoulder. The Hurricanes come into this season with a good recruiting class and if the Canes find a quarterback that is consistent, this is an upset waiting to happen.
In closing, FSU will be the target of revenge this season and an early season loss, then another late in the season will knock Winston out of the Heisman race. At a -350 favorite, there is no way that I would advise placing a wager for him to repeat for the Heisman in 2014.
I would like to take a look at Oklahoma Trevor Knight who is a BIG darkhorse to win the Heisman at 25:1 odds. Knight shocked the nation in the Sugar Bowl with a big win vs. Alabama going 32-for-44 for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns. This gives Knight and the Sooners momentum heading into 2014. Blake Bell 'The BellDozer' has been converted to a Tight End and there is no pressure for Knight now as the starting job is his. Also with Bell at tight end, this gives the Sooners another offensive threat and a big-time blocker to seal the off the corner.
When looking at the Sooner's schedule this season, I see them possibly going undefeated and in position to compete for a National Championship. They will be playing with extra motivation vs. Texas after getting embarrassed last year. They play Kansas State at home and also play Baylor at home, which will be another BIG motivational/revenge game for the Sooners. Their biggest test might come the following week on 11/15 when they travel to play at Texas Tech. If the Sooners do not have a let-down, then they will close out the season at home vs. Oklahoma State. Not many go into Norman and come out with a victory and I see the Sooners going undefeated at home and there is a very good possibility they go undefeated on the road vs. some teams that simply are lacking on the defensive side of the ball. HC Stoops has stated that this is the best defensive unit the Sooners he has had in ages and I expect this unit to lead the Big 12.
While Knight is a longshot to win the Heisman at 25:1 odds, I strongly feel he offers a HUGE Low Risk- High Reward payoff. If the Sooners go undefeated, which I think they will, then Knight will be the frontrunner for the Heisman.