Heisman Watch 2017: Examining Odds and Highlights for Finalists

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2017

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates with the Golden Hat Trophy following the team's 29-24 win over Texas in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

The three finalists for the 83rd Heisman Trophy ceremony were announced on Monday night, as the Heisman trust narrowed down the candidates to Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, Stanford running back Bryce Love and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. 

While all three players will get to enjoy their moment in the spotlight in New York, it is a foregone conclusion that Mayfield will hoist the trophy on Saturday night. 

According to OddsShark.com, as at December 6, Mayfield is favored at 15,000-1 odds to win.

We may already know the outcome of Saturday's ceremony, but it's still worth looking back the remarkable seasons of the three finalists. Here are some fun stats and highlights for each of the three contenders:

     

Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, becomes the first winner to earn a trip back to the ceremony since Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel won in 2012 and returned as a finalist in 2013. However, Jackson will likely fall short of becoming just the second two-time Heisman winner—a distinction that should remain with former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin.

Once again, Jackson did a little bit of everything for the Cardinals this year. For the second consecutive season he threw for over 3,000 yards and added another 1,000 yards on the ground. 

Here's a sampling of some of Jackson's highlights from his final game of the year, a 44-17 victory over rival Kentucky:

Unfortunately for Jackson, the Cardinals weren't competitive enough to keep him in the Heisman discussion throughout the year. While Louisville closed on a high note, they entered November with a 5-4 record and Jackson was forced to play out the final games of his season out of the spotlight. 

The fact that he even rallied enough to earn an invitation to the ceremony shows just how dominant he was on a relatively mediocre team. 

         

Bryce Love, Stanford

For a school that lacked much college football history until the past decade, Stanford has turned into a Heisman-contender factory. 

Love is the sixth Heisman finalist from Stanford and the fifth since 2009. According to Heisman.com, only Miami, Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama have sent more finalists to New York. 

Injuries limited Love down the stretch and even forced him to sit out Stanford's game against Oregon State in October. Had Love played in that game, he likely would have eclipsed the 2,000-yard milestone, which could have made him a more serious threat to steal the award from Mayfield. Instead, he came up just short with 1,973 rushing yards and will likely come up short again on Saturday night. 

Love's Heisman resume wasn't just about stats, however, 

His tendency to break off long runs captured the attention of Heisman voters early in the year. The Pac-12 Network recently shared some of his best highlights:

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Mayfield returns to New York, where he finished third in the 2016 voting and will likely become the first candidate to win the award after being selected as a finalist the previous season since USC's Reggie Bush in 2005. 

Despite causing some controversy with his antics on the field this season, Mayfield's combination of team success, impressive statistics and highlight-reel plays made him the overwhelming favorite. 

Earlier this season, Oklahoma's Twitter account shared some of his remarkable highlights:

While Mayfield is expected to cruise to victory on Saturday night, there is some drama to follow when the voting results are released. 

According to Heisman.com, Ohio State's Troy Smith holds the record for earning the highest percentage of possible voting points at 91.6 percent. Given the fact that he is an overwhelming favorite, there is a chance Mayfield could put himself in the record books by eclipsing that number.