- Boston College recently had a prolific season from a running back come up well short of Heisman recognition
- West Virginia is bound for a transition year on multiple fronts
- Heisman voters are predictable in one way above all else: the award goes to players on winning teams
With the college football season starting this weekend, the time to get those final preseason bets in is now. That includes wagers on the sport’s most famous award: the Heisman Trophy. There are a lot of long shots out there and, the 2019 Heisman odds are more advantageous in some places than they are others.
Yet, in some cases, the odds will never be good enough to justify placing the bet. That’s how I feel about Boston College running back AJ Dillon and West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall. The pair are as short as +5000 and +2800, respectively.
2019 Heisman Trophy Odds
|Trevor Lawrence, Clemson||QB||+250|
|Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama||QB||+250|
|Justin Fields, Ohio State||QB||+600|
|Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma||QB||+650|
|Adrian Martinez, Nebraska||QB||+800|
|Jake Fromm, Georgia||QB||+1200|
|Justin Herbert, Oregon||QB||+1500|
|D’andre Swift, Georgia||RB||+1400|
|Sam Ehlinger, Texas||QB||+1800|
|D’Eriq King, Houston||QB||+8000|
|Shea Patterson, Michigan||QB||+2500|
|Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin||RB||+800|
|Travis Etienne, Clemson||RB||+1600|
|Najee Harris, Alabama||RB||+4000|
|Ian Book, Notre Dame||QB||+1600|
|AJ Dillon, Boston College||RB||+5000|
|Joe Burrow, LSU||QB||+8000|
|Jerry Jeudy, Alabama||WR||+2500|
|Khalil Tate, Arizona||QB||+4000|
|Austin Kendall, West Virginia||QB||+2800|
All odds in the table are as of Aug. 20, 2019.
It’s been a few years since Boston College had the truly dominant running back we’ve come to expect in the Steve Addazio era, but AJ Dillon has the looks of being just that. Dillon missed two games with injuries last year yet still ran for 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Addazio way of life is notoriously friendly to running backs who can handle the 227-carry pounding Dillon did last season.
But, the Golden Eagles lost four starters from the offensive line which made that sophomore season possible for Dillon. Boston College also has Anthony Brown returning at quarterback and talent coming back at wide receiver. It’s no guarantee that Dillon gets the 22.7 carries per game he got last year.
All of that being said, the biggest factor working against Dillon will be the win-loss record. For better or for worse, the overwhelming majority of Heisman voters have showed a reluctance to crown any player who is not in the thick of the national championship race.
Boston College is going through a complete overhaul on defense, putting it in a bad spot for their season opener against Virginia Tech, and it doesn’t get much easier thereafter.
Boston College RB AJ Dillon is an old school pounder. Bringing him down is like tackling a dump truck. Rarely goes down on first contact. pic.twitter.com/92WSOdCrmj
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) August 18, 2019
BC has to go to Clemson, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pitt. It’s not out of the question that the Eagles lose all four of those games. It’s also no guarantee they get wins at home over Wake Forest and NC State.
AJ Dillon could easily be one of college football’s most productive running backs this year, maybe top-five in rushing yards if healthy. But he won’t be granted the stage one needs to win the Heisman. He could repeat Andre Williams 2013 season: 2,177 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns .. and fourth in the Heisman voting thanks to his team’s 7-5 record.
It took until August 20th for Austin Kendall to be named West Virginia’s starting quarterback. That’s red flag number one.
Red flag number two: the larger conversation around the beginning of Neal Brown’s West Virginia tenure is that of a rebuild. Dana Holgorsen (probably) intentionally got out of town precisely because the roster is getting bare, particularly in terms of proven offensive playmakers.
Austin Kendall has been named QB 1️⃣.
"It was clear after Friday's night scrimmage in the stadium that he earned it." pic.twitter.com/p69H5Oay5F
— WVUfootball (@WVUfootball) August 20, 2019
Red flag number three ( somewhat related to number two): this team won’t win.
The Mountaineers have a tricky non-conference schedule of FCS powerhouse James Madison, at Missouri, and home against NC State. They also have road games against Oklahoma, Baylor, and TCU, while hosting Texas and Iowa State. Does anyone think the Longhorns and Cyclones aren’t good enough to win in Morgantown this year?
This is a transfer quarterback playing for a first-year coach with a difficult schedule and little help. The fact that he’s on the Heisman odds list in the first place is an ode to the highly-rated prospect he was and, admittedly, the potential for big success down the road.
But that success won’t be this year, and what success he does find definitely won’t be enough to win the 2019 Heisman Trophy.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.