Heisman Race 2012: Breaking Down Latest Odds for Favorites to Win Award

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 20:  Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on October 20, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

To win the Heisman Trophy is to instantly jump into college football lore. The winners of the prestigious award become a part of college football's rich history and become synonymous with the season they won the Heisman.

In 2012, there have been many players that have established themselves as worthy contenders for the award. Collin Klein has led his Kansas State Wildcats to one of the best seasons in school history. Marqise Lee has wowed us with his video game stats and Johnny Manziel became a sensation with his terrific play as a freshman quarterback in the vaunted SEC.

Unfortunately, the award can only go to one player. Here's a look at the latest odds for the favorites to take home the award.


Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

Odds via Bovada: 2-5

Why He Will Win It

At this point Klein is the prohibitive favorite to win the award. With two games left on the slate he has led the Wildcats to an undefeated season and a potential national championship berth.

Klein has everything that makes a Heisman candidate the favorite. He's the unquestionable best player on an undefeated team with eye-popping stats. Numbers like 748 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns would be considered a great season for a running back—those are Klein's numbers on the ground, and he's added 12 passing touchdowns with only three interceptions.


Why He Won't Win It

While Klein's season has been impressive, a large part of his Heisman resume relies on the fact that his team is undefeated. Should the Wildcats drop a tough one against Texas or get upset by Baylor to finish out the season, Klein's Heisman stock would take a considerable hit.

Klein also has a disadvantage because some of the other candidates have a conference championship game, while he does not. Klein could wind up losing the award if another candidate goes off in their conference championship game while Klein is forced to sit idle.


Johnny Manziel

Odds via Bovada: 3-1

Why He Will Win It

Johnny Football! Sorry, that's just fun to say.

Manziel leaped into the Heisman race with the performance of the year against Alabama. With the whole country watching, Manziel went into Tuscaloosa as a freshman against the best defense in the country and led the upset of the season. How's that for a signature moment?

Many thought the Aggies would be a doormat in their new conference. Manziel has led A&M to an impressive 8-2 mark through 10 games and shattered expectations for his team in their first SEC season.


Why He Won't Win It

Unfortunately for Manziel, signature moments aren't the only thing in consideration—it's about the whole body of work.

Manziel was clutch against the Tide, but that doesn't erase his disappointing performance against LSU. In a loss to the Tigers Manziel barely completed 50 percent of his passes and threw three interceptions without doing anything in the running department.

Manziel's three interceptions against LSU is the same amount of interceptions that Klein has thrown all season.


Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Odds via Bovada: 8-1

Why He Will Win It

There's no doubt that Lee is the best receiver in the nation.

In the preseason all the hype surrounded Matt Barkley and Robert Woods, but Lee has shown that he is the best player in the Trojans offense. With 98 receptions and 1,447 yards and 13 touchdowns, he could sit out the next two games and still be one of the top receivers in the country.

He's been amazingly consistent all season. The sophomore has recorded over 10 receptions in seven of 10 games this season and has recorded a touchdown in eight. Lee's 16 receptions and 345 yards against Arizona was the single most impressive performance by a receiver this season.


Why He Won't Win It

Lee's season has been incredible. No receiver has had more of an effect on his team's success than Lee, but that success has been limited for the Trojans.

A preseason favorite to make a run at the BCS National Championship, Lee's Trojans have been a huge disappointment at 7-3. While those disappointments haven't been Lee's fault, the voters will still hold it against him when it's time to cast their ballot.

Lee will be a strong contender again next season, but the other candidates' teams all have better resumes.


Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

Odds via Bovada: 10-1

Why He Will Win It

Barner is the most electrifying player in the nation's most explosive offense.

The speedy senior has 19 touchdowns on the ground to go with 1,360 yards and keys an offense that is putting up close to 55 points per game. His 319 yards and five touchdowns against USC is one of the biggest performances of the season.

In addition to his crazy stats is the fact that Oregon has pulled its starters after the first half in many of these games or slowed down once they were in hand.

If Oregon didn't blow out pretty much everyone, Barner's stats would be even more ridiculous.


Why He Won't Win It

We don't even know if he's really the best player on his own team. That distinction might belong to quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has been key to the team's success on offense.

Barner isn't always the star for the Ducks as De'Anthony Thomas was considered the Ducks' best candidate through the early part of the schedule.

With a plethora of explosive players in the offense, Oregon simply has too many players that take away from Barner's accomplishments. That's a good problem for Chip Kelly, but not a good omen for Barner's chances to win the award.


Manti Te'o

Odds via Bovada: 10-1

Why He Will Win It

It's rare that a defensive player still has an opportunity to win the Heisman at this point in the season, but Te'o is still a legitimate candidate.

That just goes to show how special Te'o is. He has completely transformed the Irish defensive unit into an elite one that has carried Notre Dame to an undefeated season. When you watch him play, he immediately stands out as a force that offenses must account for on every play.

Most of the time the best offensive player on an undefeated team is an automatic contender for the Heisman. The fact the Irish don't have an offensive candidate tells you that Te'o is the unquestioned leader of this team.

If Te'o isn't at least invited to New York, it'll be a travesty for the award itself.


Why He Won't Win It

In the end, the Heisman is an offensive award. Charles Woodson is the last defensive player to win the award (1997) and he even played receiver at times along with returning punts and kicks.

Despite being the best player on an undefeated team, Te'o's candidacy will take a big hit simply because he plays defense.