2019 College Football: Ranking the Heisman Trophy Favorites

The college football season is just a day away and Clemson and Alabama remain the teams to beat.

The two programs squared off in the College Football Playoff last season, so it is fitting to see their respective quarterbacks leading the race for the Heisman Trophy before a ball is even thrown.

According to Oddschecker, Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa and his Clemson counterpart, Trevor Lawrence, are both 5/2 favorites to be named the most valuable player in college football this season.

In his first season as a starter, Tagovailoa finished second to Kyler Murray in the Heisman Trophy voting.

The 21-year-old finished with 3,966 passing yards, throwing for 43 touchdowns and just six interceptions and added 190 rushing yards with five scores.

Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide to the national title in the 2017 season and took his team to the championship game again last campaign, where Alabama was denied a second title in a row by Clemson.

Tagovailoa completed 22 of 34 passes, throwing for 295 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also had two crucial interceptions in the first half, the first of which was returned 44 yards for a touchdown by A.J. Terrell.

Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama Crimson Tide
Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts against the Clemson Tigers in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7 in Santa Clara, California. Christian Petersen/Getty

Lawrence was instrumental in the Tigers winning a second title in three seasons, completing 20 of 32 attempted passes and throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns in the College Football Playoff final.

Lawrence took over as Clemson's starter in Week 5 and went on to lead his side to an unbeaten season, as the Tigers became the only team in the history of the playoffs era to go 15-0.

Behind the two, Jalen Hurts is the bookmakers' third-favorite at 11/1. Hurts played in the last two National Championship Games as a back-up for Tagovailoa but transferred to Oklahoma this year.

Hurts started a combined 28 games in the 2016 and 2017 seasons but lost his starting spot to Tagovailoa, after the latter led Alabama to a comeback win in the National Championship Game at the end of the 2017 season.

Hurts will be under pressure to follow the footsteps set by Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray with the Sooners, who won the Heisman Trophy in the last two seasons.

At 14/1, Georgia running back D'Andre Swift and his Wisconsin counterpart Jonathan Taylor have the shortest odds among non-quarterbacks. In his second season with the Bulldogs, Swift was used often as a receiver but still managed to rush for over 100 yards in three consecutive games.

Taylor was the top running back in college football last season and a Consensus First-team All-Big Ten after rushing for 2,194 yards at an average of 7.2 yard per carry for a total of 16 touchdowns.

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson Tigers
Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers throws a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the College Football Playoff National Championship held at Levi's Stadium on January 7 in Santa Clara, California. The Clemson Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 44-16. Jamie Schwaberow/Getty

After the two running backs, another pair of signal-callers feature prominently in the race for the Heisman Trophy.

Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm and Ohio State signal-caller Justin Fields are both 16/1. The former is yet to lose a home game since making his debut for the Bulldogs in 2017, when he was named co-newcomer of the year by the Associated Press after leading Georgia to the SEC Championship and to the National Championship Game, which they lost to Alabama.

Fields, meanwhile, served as backup to Fromm last year before transferring to Ohio State in the offseason.

The Buckeyes went 13-1 last season and won the Cotton Bowl. This season marks the beginning of a new era, however, with Ryan Day replacing Urban Meyer as head coach and a host of staff changes.

Heisman Trophy Odds

  • 5/2—Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence
  • 11/1—Jalen Hurts
  • 14/1—Jonathan Taylor, D'Andre Swift
  • 16/1—Justin Fields, Jake Fromm
  • 18/1—Adrian Martinez
  • 22/1—Sam Ehlinger, Travis Etienne
  • 34/1—Jerry Jeudy

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