Late last week, the Westgate Superbook released opening odds for the 2018 Heisman Trophy, with Stanford tailback Bryce Love as the betting favorite.

That’s not necessarily the ideal spot. Where hype and expectations collide, margin for error vanishes … especially for a small tailback with a history of ankle problems.

At the same time, dark horse candidates from the west coast have a ridiculously difficult journey to Heisman glory.

As we saw a few years ago with Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, it’s not enough to break one of the most hallowed records in the sport, held by one of the greatest players in history.

The preseason sweet spot for Pac-12 candidates, it would seem, is the contending tier: Enough name recognition to create a foundation, but without the exacting standards slapped on the favorite.

Based on Westgate odds, the conference has two players on the contending tier: Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate and Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.

Both are 14/1, tied with Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm and behind only Love (5/1), Wisconsin tailback Jonathan Taylor (7/1) and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (10/1).

For Tate and Herbert, success in the Heisman race is about the intersection of high-level performance and high-level exposure. They must be seen enough times by enough voters to offset the eastern-heavily tilt of the electorate.

The release of the early-season Pac-12 schedule in late May and the opening odds from the Westgate in early June prompted the Hotline to ponder the exposure issue for Tate and Herbert:

How many of their games will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks?

How many prime exposures will they have on networks with far greater reach?

How often will they make heart-stopping plays while the electorate is deep asleep?

The numbers are telling.

FS1 is in 84 million homes (approximately); ESPN and ESPN2 are in 87 million; ABC and FOX are in 100+ …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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