The Las Vegas Insiders have spoken, and redshirt senior quarterback Cody Kessler returns to campus as the leading candidate to win the 2015 Heisman Trophy, among eligible Pac-12 players. Following a record-breaking campaign, throwing for 39 touchdowns to just five interceptions with a nearly 70-percent, Kessler has emerged as one of the best players in the Pac-12 heading into this upcoming season.
We talk about Heisman moments a great deal, and Kessler could have his crack at the national spotlight with an enhanced Pac-12 schedule featuring flex games against Washington and Oregon, the defending Pac-12 champions who might be adding vaunted dual-threat quarterback Vernon Adams out of Eastern Washington.
After the Trojans open the season with Arkansas State and Idaho, scheduling breaks before the 2016 opener against Alabama, USC hosts Stanford before traveling to Arizona State. That stretch leads to games against Washington, Notre Dame and Utah, one of the most physical teams in the Pac-12 South, before a road trip to Cal Berkeley.
USC was ranked in the top-five among the way-too-early polls across the nation, but it wouldn't be crazy to expect another strong season for Kessler. Bovada feels that Ohio State talented running back Ezekiel Elliot is the leading candidate heading into the season, but Kessler is closing from behind with the 5th-best odds in all of college football.
The National Leaders
Ezekiel Elliott (RB Ohio State) 6/1
Dak Prescott (QB Mississippi State) 7/1
Leonard Fournette (RB LSU) 7/1
Trevone Boykin (QB TCU) 15/2
Cody Kessler (QB USC) 12/1
Nick Chubb (RB Georgia) 12/1
Paul Perkins (RB UCLA) 12/1
Derrick Henry (RB Alabama) 14/1
Samaje Perine (RB Oklahoma) 14/1
Cardale Jones (QB Ohio State) 14/1
J.T. Barrett (QB Ohio State) 16/1
Only two USC quarterbacks have won the Heisman: Carson Palmer in 2002 and Matt Leinart in 2004. Might it happen again this upcoming season for Troy? We just have to wait and see, especially with an up-and-coming wide receiver corp. Sophomores Adoree' Jackson and JuJu Smith lead the charge for a young group that must replace its leading pass catcher, Nelson Agholor, and fastest weapon, George Farmer.