The big news in week three of the Heisman Trophy betting race is that week four became very important.
The big game in week four – Alabama at Arkansas –was set up by the events that took place in week three of the college football betting season.
Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett found himself in the thick of a 24-all tie in the final minutes at Georgia.
Mallett had never before won an SEC road game, so he needed to deliver the goods in an early-season conference contest. When Mallett threw a 40-yard touchdown strike to receiver Greg Childs with 15 seconds left in regulation, Arkansas not only beat Georgia by a 31-24 score; Mallett significantly enhanced his Heisman Trophy candidacy.
Now comes the hard part for Mallett, the strong-armed rifleman with the veteran receiving corps surrounding him: beating defending national champion Alabama this upcoming Saturday on the Razorbacks’ home turf. It’s a put-up-or-shut-up scenario not just for Arkansas as a team, but for Mallett as a Heisman candidate.
A win thrusts him into the thick of the Heisman race for the rest of the season, unless Mallett’s numbers are horrible beyond description. In all likelihood, Arkansas will need to score big to beat Alabama in the first place, so a win by the Hogs is almost certain to give Mallett a major push. If he stumbles and loses against Alabama, Mallett will be done.
The other player who needs to be taken seriously is quarterback Andrew Luck of Stanford. The sophomore was razor-sharp for coach Jim Harbaugh, completing just under 75 percent of his passes (17 of 23) for 207 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 68-24 romp over Wake Forest.
Luck, not Washington quarterback Jake Locker, is setting the standard for excellence in a West Coast signal caller, and he’s presiding over a Stanford offense that is steamrolling the opposition. One week after a 35-0 win at UCLA, the Cardinal produced 41 points in just the first half of play against Wake Forest.
Luck now takes center stage in a way that’s very similar to Ryan Mallett against big-name Alabama. Luck will play at Notre Dame – inside one of the cathedrals of college football, Notre Dame Stadium – this Saturday in a nationally-televised affair.
A big performance will vault Luck to the top tier of Heisman candidates, while a stink-bomb will send him tumbling down the ranks of Heisman contenders.
Current Frontrunner: Denard Robinson, Michigan
He struggled at times in week three against Massachusetts, but he still presided over an offense that registered 42 points. Robinson has still made the biggest impression on national college football observers through three games, which puts him in front of Heisman Trophy betting.
Other contenders: South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore; Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor; Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy; Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez; Arizona quarterback Nick Foles (after his team’s win over Iowa, even though the Arizona offense didn’t do all that much against the Hawkeyes’ defense); LSU defensive back/kick returner Patrick Peterson; Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore (who has a big date with Oregon State this upcoming weekend); TCU quarterback Andy Dalton.
Eliminated: Case Keenum, Houston (two interceptions plus a severe knee injury suffered against UCLA removes him from the Heisman Trophy betting conversation).
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