The Norman Transcript

National Sports

November 25, 2013

Muddy Heisman Trophy race

NORMAN — Heisman Trophy voters were emailed a ballot on Monday.

It’s not due back for two weeks.

Good thing, because it’s going to take some time to sort this out. A Heisman race that not long ago seemed well-defined has been muddled in so many ways.

Not the least of which is a sexual assault investigation involving Jameis Winston, the Florida State star who would otherwise be the clear front-runner after the Heisman stock of several contenders crashed last weekend.

“Last week was a seismic one, and shook up the landscape,” Heisman voter Charles Davis of Fox Sports said.

Even with potential criminal charges hanging over Winston, online sports book Bovada has him as the favorite to win the award at 1-2 odds, meaning if you bet $200 on him to win the Heisman you’d win only $100. Though the odds that he wins it are not as good as they were last week.

Many Heisman voters say they are taking a wait-and-see approach on Winston’s legal issues. The state attorney in Tallahassee, Fla., has said a decision on whether to charge Winston with anything is unlikely to be reached this week, but maybe next.

“It can’t be forgotten that Winston’s constitutional rights supersede whatever privileges afforded him as an exceptional college football quarterback,” said Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press. “Heisman voters must let the investigation play itself out for as long as possible before rendering judgment.”

Winston and No. 2 Florida State play Florida on Saturday, and then the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game on Dec. 7. He leads the nation in passer efficiency rating (194.5) and has thrown for 3,163 yards and 32 touchdowns.

“Obviously, strictly as a player, he’s a leading contender,” said Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. “But I don’t want to prejudge his legal situation one way or the other. The presumption of innocence that he has legally ought to apply in terms of his Heisman chances. I just hope there’s a resolution before I have to vote.”

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