The Ohio State Buckeyes finished the 2014 season with a 14-1 straight up and a 10-5 against the spread record en route to the first College Football Playoff championship. The defending champions return with a handful of Heisman Trophy hopefuls for this season, including the early Heisman favorite.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott leads current Heisman Trophy odds at 6/1 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Elliott finished third in the nation in rushing yards last season with 1,878 on 273 carries.
Both Melvin Gordon and Tevin Coleman, who finished ahead of Elliott last season, have departed to the NFL, and with national focus on the Buckeyes as Elliott enters his junior year, all signs point to a Heisman campaign for the star running back.
Another big storyline at Ohio State this year is the Buckeyes' quarterback battle. Whoever wins the starting job will have the potential to put up big numbers and should find himself firmly in the Heisman conversation if the Buckeyes have another big year.
Current odds have Cardale Jones at 12/1 to win the trophy, Braxton Miller at 20/1, and J.T. Barrett at 33/1; however, when the quarterback battle is sorted out, the winner's odds will likely climb the board.
Boykin put up excellent numbers last season with 3,901 passing yards and 33 touchdown passes while rushing for 707 yards and eight touchdowns. TCU made a statement with a 42-3 win over Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl and will try to carry that momentum into the 2015 season.
Besides Elliott, other running backs that are expected to contend for the Heisman this season include LSU's Leonard Fournette (8/1) and Georgia's Nick Chubb (8/1). Chubb averaged 7.1 yards per carry last season, and with fellow Bulldogs back Todd Gurley off to the NFL, Chubb should be the focal point of the offense.