Does Ohio State's J.T. Barrett have the inside track to the 2017 Heisman Trophy?
While his coach may have just given him an endorsement, J.T. Barrett isn't ready to talk about the Heisman Trophy -- or as he calls it, "the H-word" -- just yet.
But following his 33-for-39, 328-yard, 4-touchdown (and 95-rushing yard) performance in Ohio State's 39-38 victory over Penn State last weekend, many are already linking the Buckeyes quarterback to college football's highest individual honor.
"I think that H-word is appropriate after today's game," Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said in his postgame press conference. "This has to be one of the best -- this is one of the best I've ever seen a quarterback play."
The betting odds agree.
According to Bovada, Barrett's Heisman odds moved from 14/1 prior to the Buckeyes' victory over the then-second-ranked Nittany Lions to 9/2. That gives the senior signal-caller the third-best odds of taking home the 2017 Heisman Trophy, trailing Stanford running back Bryce Love (4/1) and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (4/7).
Love's Heisman hopes, however, seemed to take a hit after he missed the Cardinal's game against Oregon State last week with an ankle injury. And while Barkley may still be the heavy Heisman favorite in the short-term, despite rushing for just 44 yards against the Buckeyes, Ohio State's victory may have given Barrett the inside track.
Because while Barkley should boost his already impressive season stat line (1,272 yards from scrimmage, 12 touchdowns) in Penn State's remaining games against Michigan State, Rutgers, Nebraska and Maryland, Barrett will be afforded to opportunity to not only do the same, but on a larger stage. In the coming weeks, Ohio State will play in at least two high profile games -- against Iowa and Michigan -- while seemingly controlling its own destiny in the race for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
More than that, the Buckeyes' victory over the Nittany Lions gave Ohio State the tiebreaker in the Big Ten East. That means that should Ohio State and Penn State each win out, it will be the Buckeyes playing in the conference title game in Indianapolis -- just days before Heisman Trophy ballots are due.
Of course, as Barkley learned last Saturday, all it takes is one week to change the direction of a player's Heisman campaign.
"I don't really focus on it," Barrett said of 'the H-word.' "Next week we've got to go beat Iowa. That's what I'll go focus on."
But if the Buckeyes can do that, his odds of taking home the Heisman -- or 'H-word' -- will only continue to increase.