- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN Staff Writer
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It was about this time last year that people started predicting that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck would hoist the Heisman Trophy. How'd that work out, by the way? Still, it's not too soon to start looking at some odds.
Odds maker Danny Sheridan -- as originally reported with Alabama flavor by Izzy Gould of al.com -- released his 2012 Heisman odds Tuesday and his list includes three Pac-12 candidates in total and one obvious front-runner.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley tops the list at 5-1 odds.
Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas checks in at 25-1 odds.
Washington quarterback Keith Price is the darkhorse at 40-1.
At first glance, Barkley is the obvious choice. He has a very good offensive line protecting him -- including the nation's top center in Khaled Holmes (just once, I'd love to see a center get Heisman love). The running game will come together, but until it does, you might see Barkley pass a little more. And why not? With his receivers he should put up crazy good numbers. A little surprised not to see Robert Woods on this list.
Thomas is going to do what Thomas does -- run really, really fast and score a lot of touchdowns. His chances might be hampered a bit by splitting carries with Kenjon Barner (by the way, shouldn't he be on this list also?). But with the amount of plays Oregon runs per game, that shouldn't be too much of a concern. Because Thomas is a speed guy, he's also going to have to get over the national stigma that he can't run between tackles. LaMichael James had the same label, but was quite good this past season at going up the middle.
Price is the wild card of this bunch. Last year, he spent the season with a lot of nagging injuries that forced him to be a better pocket passer. But when healthy -- as we saw in the Alamo Bowl with his three rushing touchdowns -- he can be just as explosive with his legs. Next season he should be a true dual threat and a player that should warrant serious consideration.
Other players picked by Sheridan include:
Wisconsin running back Montee Ball: 6-1
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones: 7-1
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson: 7-1
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith: 10-1
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray: 12-1
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson: 15-1
Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist: 25-1
Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead: 25-1
Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins: 25-1
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron: 30-1
But as we've seen in recent years, there is always an out-of-nowhere candidate that was off the radar. Just looking at this awfully impressive lineup, however, it seems like it's going to be tough for an unknown to wiggle his way in.