2013 Heisman Finalists Named, How Did the Preseason Oddsmakers Do?

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No Johnny Football this year.
Despite the arctic (for Houston) temperatures outside, September feels like it just got here yesterday, because in the blink of an eye, the 2013 college football season is now over. With all but one (salute Army, salute Navy) of the regular season games now behind us, the next item on the agenda is to crown the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner.

Historically, the previous 78 awards have been reserved largely for seniors. However, in the last 15 years or so, with more juniors leaving early for the NFL and underclassmen becoming more precocious, we've not only seen many non-seniors win the award, we've seen winners get repeat invitations as finalists the following season.

Since 2003, Jason White, Matt Leinart and Tim Tebow have all made return visits to New York as the defending Heisman Trophy winner.

Yesterday, it was announced that Texas A&M phenom, legend and party crasher Johnny Manziel will join that list, earning a repeat invite to this year's ceremony in the Big Apple (this year as a 21-year-old, which might deserve its own blog post).

The finalists are as follows:

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama
Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Tre Mason, RB, Auburn

If six finalists looks like a big number, it's because it is. Typically, there are anywhere from three (like last season with Manziel, Manti Te'o and Collin Klein) to five. The last time there were six was in 1994 (Trivia: Won by Colorado running back Rashaan Salaam).

I think it goes without saying that, much like last year's ceremony was an inevitable coronation for Manziel, this year's ceremony is essentially the Jameis Winston Invitational, with the Florida State phenom expected to take home the award with a fairly comfortable winning margin. This despite his being the focus of a sexual assault investigation for the last several weeks, an investigation that ended with no charges.

So barring injury or off the field drama, it's quite likely that Winston, a redshirt freshman, joins the list of returning winners next season. Most certainly, like Manziel this season, he will enter the 2014 season as the odds-on favorite to repeat taking home the honors. And like in February 2013, that will be reflected in next season's first round of Heisman odds (coming to a betting website near you, presumably, in February 2014).

Also, Winston's victory will keep alive a streak that has seen four of the last five Heisman Trophies won by a player who is not even available for wagering upon at the beginning of the season (Mark Ingram, Cam Newton, Manziel and now Winston), the exception being Baylor's Robert Griffin III, who was still a moderate longshot at anywhere from 15/1 to 25/1. In fact, you couldn't get betting odds (that I'm aware of) on four of the six finalists from this season (Winston, Lynch, Williams, Mason).

So while we are on that topic, let's go back and look at the first round of preseason 2013 Heisman Trophy betting odds and see how the oddsmakers did. (The answer: Unless there was a lot of money on "Field," where "Field" bets are available, they cleaned up.)


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