J.T. Barrett for Heisman?
Folks at Bovada are bullish on the Texas native after he announced he will return for a fifth season in Columbus.
In odds released Monday (which also happens to be Barrett’s 22nd birthday), Barrett trailed only Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield checked in at 11/2 with Barrett next at 6/1 – both ahead of 2016 winner Lamar Jackson, who will be back at Louisville for his junior season in 2017.
Of course voters will get a chance to compare Barrett and Mayfield side-by-side Sept. 9 when the Sooners come to Ohio Stadium for a rematch of a 2016 game Ohio State won 45-24 in Norman.
Barrett threw four touchdown passes in that game while Mayfield tossed two TDs and two interceptions.
The team’s offenses took divergent paths from there as Oklahoma finished first in the nation in passing efficiency and Ohio State was 44th.
The Buckeyes were still 13th in the nation in scoring, but they experienced numerous problems moving the ball in their last three games of the season.
For the second year in a row, coach Urban Meyer ended the season pledging to fix the passing game, and this time he brought in Kevin Wilson as his new offensive coordinator and Ryan Day to coach Barrett and the other quarterbacks.
Barrett conceded to reporters Sunday change was needed after the offense sputtered down the stretch, including a 31-0 shutout by Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.
“We weren’t awful by any means – we just weren’t lighting up the scoreboard,” Barrett said, presumably referring to the season as a whole and not just the whitewashing by the Tigers.
“We got the train running. We’ve just got to make sure it’s going full speed.”
Prior to spending the past six years as head coach at Indiana, Wilson was the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.
There the former Miami University assistant churned out high-powered offenses and produced the most recent Sooners Heisman winner – Sam Bradford.
At Indiana, he managed to fashion one of the best offenses in the Big Ten despite not recruiting anywhere near the level of the top teams in the league.
Before going to Oklahoma, Wilson crafted a powerful spread attack at Northwestern that was one of the inspirations for Meyer’s version of the offense, so their connection offers some “back to the future” possibilities that should give Barrett and Buckeye fans reason to feel optimistic.
And oddsmakers, too.
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