Based on the fact that Marcus Mariota is now off the board of the Heisman odds that we get from Bovada.lv, the Stanford Cardinal may have once again swiped the Oregon signal caller's Heisman hopes away in November. I don't think I would go nearly as far as to take him completely off the board, but the truth is that Mariota's campaign that was once running away with the trophy is now in a dog fight to get back to the top.
Statistically Mariota didn't have a horrible game in the Ducks' loss to Stanford, but he definitely didn't step up and use his only real time in the limelight this season to solidify himself as the leader. Had Mariota led the Ducks to a win and had a good game, it would have been the Heisman defining moment that every winner needs, but now, it doesn't look like another opportunity to do that will even present itself. The Ducks close with Utah, Arizona and Oregon State, none of whom should be rank when they face off, and even if the Ducks can sneak back into the Pac-12 Championship Game, they would likely be facing either Arizona State or UCLA, neither of which would likely be marquee enough opponents to make a statement against.
Right now Bovada.lv only lists the Heisman odd for four players:
Jameis Winston 1/5
Johnny Manziel 4/1
A.J. McCarron 7/1
Bryce Petty 20/1
All four are quarterbacks, three of them for undefeated teams, and while it seems hard to say that it is completely fair, the truth is that nationally, Mariota has probably fell a little bit behind this pack for the moment. The Heisman has never simply been a best stats or best player competition, but instead a crazy competition of hype, team success, defining moments and personality and right now someone like Winston or Manziel edges Mariota in that strange collection of categories.
But the chase is far from over for Mariota and there are a few things that can happen that can put him right back into the driver's seat for the award:
- As many of the four favorites right now need to lose a game, or as many as possible really. Obviously Manziel has already lost twice, but losing another game or two could really hurt his campaign if the Aggies finish 8-4 it will be pretty hard to vote for him. I think McCarron and Petty are guys that if their teams aren't undefeated, they lose a ton of votes. Winston is probably the toughest to crack here, but a bad game in an upset loss could crush his candidacy.
- Stanford loses to USC Saturday and the Ducks win out to get them back into the Pac-12 Championship Game. I know that I downplayed the game earlier, but Arizona State or UCLA would likely be borderline Top 10 teams and it would be another chance for Mariota to make a statement, though lesser than he could have against Stanford, on a national level.
- Mariota obviously needs to finish the season with as good of numbers as possible, but finishing the regular season with zero interceptions and more than 30 touchdowns could be the kind of hype-worthy stat that could push him over the top.