Bovada Sports Betting came out with its way-too-early-but-why-should-that-matter? odds for the 2014 Heisman winners. Ameer Abdullah‘s name was not on the list.
It may seem strange that Abdullah – easily one of the best returning running backs in the Big Ten – didn’t even make a blip on Bovada’s radar, but this is no slight to Nebraska‘s No. 8. Rather, it’s a bold statement of what the Huskers will offer the college football world in 2014: Another year, four more losses.
That’s what you can expect from Nebraska now according to the numbers, and that repetitive story does not a Heisman resume make.
To have any chance of winning it’s nearly demanded that players have a flashy resume, and if they’re not legitimately gunning for the national championship they’d best have rolls of highlight film like Robert Griffin III or Johnny Manziel did. Heaven help you if you strictly play defense.
Since Bo Pelini took over as Nebraska’s head coach in 2008, the eventual Heisman winners’ teams have a combined record of 76-7, won four conference titles and three won the grand prize.
If the Huskers are going to jolt out of neutral and get back into the national spotlight, let alone fly their star running back to New York, they’ve got a mountain to climb.
They’ll have to be flawless through a non-conference schedule that features a trip to Fresno State and a Nebraska fan’s dream matchup of Miami (FL) visiting Lincoln.
Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz may be NFL-bound, but we all remember what Iowa’s balanced duo of Jake Rudock and Mark Weisman did in Lincoln last year.
An X factor is Rutgers. Yes, the Scarlet Knights come to Lincoln, but with rumors of former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen potentially signing on as their offensive coordinator running rampant, that game could loom large (no offense intended, Fridge).
What can get Abdullah a seat at the Heisman table is likely no less than an appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game, if not Nebraska’s first conference title in over a decade. A third-straight 1,000-yard season by Abdullah wouldn’t hurt either and doesn’t seem improbable.
Whether Tommy Armstrong, Jr. or Johnny Stanton is under center, a tenderfoot quarterback needs all the help he can get.
There’s one thing the Heisman committee seems to love over a guy expected to shine. It’s the guy that’s sick of a dull status quo, rolls up his sleeves and says, “I’ve had all I can stand, and I can’t stand no more!” before putting his team on his back and helps it scrape and claw to victory after victory.
Enter Abdullah, the Huskers’ surefire saving grace.