Ohio State Football: Why Vegas Says Barrett is a Favorite for Heisman

Jan 1, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) looks to throw during the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Odds on the 2017 Heisman Trophy favorites, and why J.T. Barrett belongs as a strong contender.

Bovada Sportsbook released the betting odds on players winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy. Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was listed as the second favorite at 6-1 odds. He is behind Baker Mayfield at 11-2 and ahead of last years Heisman winner Lamar Jackson whose odds are 7-1.

After a sub par 2016 season, why is Barrett considered to be one of the favorites? The simple answer is, he should be. Urban Meyer might as well have said that would be the case, so you can expect Barrett to put up significantly better numbers next season than in 2016.

The Ohio State passing game pretty much evolved into a joke by the end of last season and coach Meyer said things would be much different in 2017. If history repeats itself, you can expect Barrett to light things up next season.

Remember the last time Ohio State was embarrassed by Clemson in a bowl game when it was the defense that was the primary problem? Things changed dramatically after that didn’t it?

The defensive backs were torched by the Tigers and Urban vowed that things were going to change. He started the process by bringing in Chris Ash as safeties coach and co-defensive coordinator. He demanded that coaches Ash and Fickell played a more aggressive style of defense, and uncharacteristically Urban spent more time on that side of the ball to ensure it would be the case.

Since then the defense has been very strong and the Ohio State defensive backs have performed as well as any other unit in the country. Now Urban has laid down similar demands for improvement on offense in 2017. Don’t you think that coach Meyer will be even more hands on than usual to make sure it happens?

He has already started things rolling by hiring coaches Kevin Wilson as offensive coordinator and Ryan Day as Co-OC/QB coach. It would be hard pressed to find two coaches that prefer an aggressive style of offense more than these two men.

For years coach Wilson’s Indiana offenses have been a pain in the side of defensive coordinators throughout the Big Ten. When he was the OC at Oklahoma, he had a record-setting offense and a Heisman Trophy quarterback in Sam Bradford.

Coach Day worked for Chip Kelly, probably the most aggressive coach in the country. And while Day was QB coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, Bradford had his best season as a pro.

All this leads to the prospect of Barrett having his finest season as a Buckeye with an excellent chance to win the Heisman Trophy. If he exceeds his freshman totals of 3,772 total yards with 45 touchdowns passing and running, and the Buckeyes make the playoff, that could be enough to win the Heisman  Yes, Mayfield and Jackson will probably put up better numbers because of the style of offense their teams run, but that may not matter.

Heisman voters may be having buyer’s remorse after Louisville lost the bowl game to LSU and Jackson laid an egg when he faced a top-notch defense. If Ohio State defeats Oklahoma next season and Barrett goes 2-0 against Mayfield, it may be hard for the Sooner quarterback to catch him.

So Vegas has this one right. J.T. Barrett should put up significantly better numbers in the 2017 season and be a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. Mainly because Urban Meyer has said it will happen.

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