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Why Brandon Wimbush Could Win the Heisman in 2017

After reading the headline of this article, you’re probably thinking, “Come on, Jack. Brandon Wimbush hasn’t even started a game at Notre Dame.” This is true, and it might actually be an advantage for him when it comes to the 2017 Heisman race.

To be perfectly clear, Wimbush is far from a favorite to win the Heisman trophy this year. Heck, most people will tell you he has a slim chance to even be invited to the trophy presentation in New York at the end of the year.

If you are looking to place a bet on the winner of the 2017 Heisman trophy, Wimbush definitely has value. According to William Hill US, Wimbush’s odds to win the Heisman are 75-1. There are seven other players with the same odds as Wimbush and twenty-four players with better odds.

I understand that betting on anyone or anything with 75-1 odds seems like a quick way to lose money. However, I think his true odds are much better than that. To demonstrate that, let’s take another look at the list of Heisman hopefuls. First, I think we can effectively eliminate a good chunk of players that currently have better odds than Brandon Wimbush.

Fourteen of the last sixteen Heisman winners have been quarterbacks. This should come as no surprise since it is the most valuable position in the sport. So I’ll start by eliminating all other position players with better odds than Wimbush (there are 8). That brings our total down to sixteen players ahead of Wimbush.

It’s tough to win a Heisman when you have a teammate who is also contender for the award. In those scenarios, the players are looked at as having easier workloads. Resulting in each player being devalued in the eyes of the Heisman voters. There are eight players ahead of Wimbush that have a teammate who is also listed with Heisman odds (according to William Hill US). This brings our total down to eight.

There is one more player listed ahead of Wimbush that I think we can eliminate. That’s Quinton Flowers, the quarterback for the University of South Florida. The last time the Heisman winner came from a team not in the power-five conferences was Ty Detmer (BYU) in 1990. Yes, Notre Dame technically isn’t a member of one of the power-five, but they are regarded as such. After eliminating Flowers, we are left with seven players ahead of Wimbush.

Feeling better about that Wimbush bet yet?

Now that we’ve separated the pretenders from the contenders, we can make a case for Brandon Wimbush. There are a couple of reasons to like his Heisman chances in 2017. First, the Heisman trophy winner typically performs well above expectations. Since this will be Wimbush’s first year as the starting quarterback, expectations for him are relatively low. This presents a great opportunity for him to shine.

Second, Wimbush will have an excellent supporting cast. The Irish have two explosive running backs with plenty of experience, five pass-catchers that are 6’4” or taller, a couple of quick slot receivers, and a very solid offensive line. In total, Notre Dame will return eight starters on the offensive side of the ball. It would be tough for Wimbush to have a better situation in his first year as a starter.

Lastly, the Irish offense under new Offensive Coordinator Chip Long is going to score a lot of points. You know what Heisman voters (and every other football fan) love? Touchdowns. Coach Long’s offense will put Brandon Wimbush in a position to succeed in the upcoming season, and I believe he will make the most of that opportunity.


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