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Colt McCoy of Texas - Can he win the Heisman?

8-27-09

BetUS Sportsbook Odds To Win 2009 Heisman Trophy

Tim Tebow  +200
Sam Bradford  +275
COLT McCOY  +275
Terelle Pryor  +800
Jahvid Best  +1000
Evan Royster  +1400
Jevan Snead  +1600
Jonathan Dwyer  +1600
Todd Reesing  +2000
Darryl Clark  +2000
C.J. Spiller  +2000

Colt McCoy certainly did not come out of nowhere. He was an all-state quarterback in Texas, which is not a minor feat, and threw 116 touchdown passes in prep ball. Naturally the Longhorns came calling, and McCoy was part of the program, though he was redshirted at first, because the team had Vince Young under center. He didn't play, but his older brother Matt did see some action. After Young left school, it was time for McCoy to assume the reins, but he still had to beat out another freshman, Jevan Snead, who is now the starter at Ole Miss (and who is +1600 to win the Heisman at BetUS).

McCoy's freshman season was an unqualified success. He completed 68% of his passes in Mack Brown's well-designed offense, and had a tremendous ratio of 29 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions. The 29 TD's tied an all-time NCAA freshman record, and in order to do that he had to rebound from a pinched neck suffered in the game with Texas A&M that came as a result of a questionable tackle, so that he could play in the Alamo Bowl

In 2007 he was touted as someone to watch for the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award, but difficulties ensued. McCoy played some of the season with an arm injury, and found himself under assault from opposing pass rushes because his offensive line was decimated by injuries. He still completed 65% of his throws, but was also intercepted 18 times, and many observers of the Texas program began to question his leadership capabilities, perhaps to be expected at the first sign of trouble, especially in the wake of the Young "era." At least he ended his season on a high note, winning honors as the offensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl.

Something interesting happened while McCoy was running for his life that season. Fans discovered that he could run with the football. McCoy, who played in more or less a pro-style offense, had 492 net rushing yards and scored four touchdowns.

McCoy's big year was 2008, when he exploded. He continued to run well with the ball, scampering for 561 yards and eleven rushing TD's. He led Texas to a ten-point win over Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout, completing 28 of 35 passes. He was an incredible 29-for-32 for 337 yards against Missouri. After that game, he was actually over the 80% completion mark for the season. He completed 41 passes for 414 yards against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. When the dust cleared, McCoy had completed 77.6% of his attempts, with 34 TD's and eight INT's. His completion rate broke the Division I record for one season that was previously held by Daunte Culpepper.

What a lot of people don't realize is that it wasn't Tim Tebow who was the runner-up to Sam Bradford for the Heisman Trophy, it was McCoy, who got less first-place votes but wider support.

He won the Walter Camp Award and shared the Sporting News player of the year award.

That leads us into this season, where McCoy is listed at +275 to win the Heisman in the BetUS NCAA college football proposition betting odds, and Texas is +650 to win the national title. He's back at Texas because he wants to win the national championship, and probably because he wants to win the Heisman as well. The Longhorns have a chance, and they key to that season may be an October 17 date with Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in the Red River Shootout.

So what are his chances to win the Heisman?

Well, McCoy certainly shapes up as a major contender, but he has competition like no other challenger has had in years, because he has not one but TWO former Heisman winners to deal with. Bradford, who won last year, is in his own conference, while Tebow, who won for the 2007 season, is piloting the pre-season #1 team, the Florida Gators, who are +180 to win the national title in the BetUS NCAA futures odds.

If Texas becomes the #1 team and stays there until the time people have to start voting, McCoy will have something of an inside track. If they don't, McCoy has an uphill battle. That's because it was demonstrated last year that even though McCoy's team beat Bradford's in the head-to-head matchup, Oklahoma's QB won the trophy anyway. McCoy's ace in the hole as far as the head-to-head battle with Bradford is concerned is that he will be operating behind a more experienced offensive line that should be one of Texas' strengths, while Oklahoma (+500 to win the national crown at BetUS) has to bring new people in and is hoping the offensive line doesn't turn out to be a weakness.

While McCoy also runs well, he probably does not do so as spectacularly as Tebow, so the perception is that he doesn't offer the same kind of double threat as the guy who runs Florida's spread option. We're not even counting any of the running backs who are also contenders, like Jahvid Best of California (+1000 at BetUS), Jonathan Dwyer of Georgia Tech (+1600 at BetUS) and Evan Royster of Penn State (+1400 at BetUS).

If you backed McCoy, you'd have to hope he stays away from those annoying little injuries that threw his game off a couple of seasons ago (the year with 18 interceptions). However, at the same time, it is going to be tough for him to come close to his completion percentage or TD-INT ratio of last season, so I would say in the end that at the price in the BetUS Sportsbook, he is not someone I would necessarily take a chance on.

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