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As the college football season gets underway, so does the race for the Heisman Trophy. A lot of high-profile games between very good teams are happening this weekend: LSU-Wisconsin, North Carolina-Georgia, UCLA-Texas A&M, Oklahoma-Houston, USC-Alabama, Clemson-Auburn and more. Anyone who plays extremely well in these games will get a head-start in the Heisman race. With that in mind, let’s check out the top Heisman Trophy contenders.


Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Odds: +400
Watson was the best quarterback in the country last year and was on the team that went unbeaten through the College Football Playoff semifinals. Watson is a lethal runner, he can make throws when on the move or from the pocket and he’s an experienced leader. He definitely had the stats to make a case last year with 5,570 total yards and 49 touchdowns. Repeating those numbers could put him in position to win the Heisman, but much will hinge on his performance in Clemson’s key road game at No. 4 Florida State on October 29.


Leonard Fournette, LSU

Odds: +400
Fournette averaged 193.1 rushing yards per game over his first seven games in 2015, but then he tailed off significantly. That’s because LSU didn’t have a well-developed passing game, and opposing defenses started to focus in on him. The passing game will need to improve for him to win the Heisman in 2016.


Christian McCaffrey, Stanford

Odds: +550
McCaffrey’s versatility is unparalleled. He’s more than just a running back; he’s an excellent receiver and kick returner, too. Last year, he broke Barry Sanders’ NCAA’s single-season record for all-purpose yards. He’ll be doing more of that in 2016 and will be a serious contender for the Heisman Trophy.


Dalvin Cook, Florida State

Odds: +750
Cook finished seventh in the 2015 Heisman Trophy vote, but could win the award this season if he keeps up his form. He averaged 7.4 yards per carry, which was the best number among any running back who had more than 205 carries last season.


J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

Odds: +1000
Two years ago, Ohio State’s offense was unstoppable, and quarterback J.T. Barrett was the heart of it. Last year, the offense struggled mightily, and Barrett took much of the blame. If Barrett and the offense can regain their 2014 form, he will vault into the center of the Heisman race.


Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Odds: +1200
Mayfield looks like great value on the board. He’s the star quarterback of a team that’s the clear favourite to win the Big 12. The key will be for Mayfield and Oklahoma to beat No. 6 Ohio State when they visit on September 17.


Josh Rosen, UCLA

Odds: +3300
If you’re looking for a sleeper, consider Rosen, who’s 11th on the odds board. UCLA’s quarterback has next-level potential, and if the Bruins put everything together this season, he could be one of the finalists.



*Odds as of September 1, 2016