With the 2017 NCAA football season back in action this week, it is time to start thinking about which players will contend for this year’s Heisman Trophy this December.

Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley top odds board

If USC quarterback Sam Darnold plays like he did in his freshman season, he may be a shoo-in for the Heisman. Darnold is the heavy favorite to win the 2017 Heisman at +400 or 4/1 odds. Last season Darnold looked wise well beyond his age as he appeared more like a seasoned veteran than a first-timer. Darnold completed nearly 70 percent of his passes, and threw for over 3,000 yards while tossing 31 touchdowns in his first season as an NCAA quarterback.

He also finished the season with a 161.0 passer rating.

Right behind Darnold is Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. This kid has NFL written all over him. The junior is poised to help Penn State have a successful season this fall, while making a run toward the Heisman. Can Barkley rush for 2,000 yards this season? While that would be a huge feat, he may flirt with the mark at the pace he is going. Barkley rushed for 1076 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015 as a freshman. He followed that effort up in 2016 by running for 1496 yards and 18 TD's. If he can once again top his numbers from the previous season, he has to be a top candidate for the Heisman.

Watch out for Heisman long shots

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson may be a household name right now, but last year at this time the Cardinals' quarterback wasn’t known by many folks outside of campus.

That quickly changed just after a few games when Jackson showed the world that he is as fast as lighting and could pass well for a freshman.

Las Vegas odds makers had Jackson nowhere on their radar to win the Heisman last season. In fact, he was listed at a whopping +11,000 when the season kicked off last August, meaning a $100 bet on Jackson to win would pay out $11,000.

To go a step further, not a single one of the top five preseason favorites made it to New York and the Heisman finals. To jog your memory, those five were Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook of Florida State, and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett. Outside of Barrett, who is a Heisman favorite this season, the other four are now making their living in the NFL.

One stat to keep in mind if you happen to be taking a shot at predicting the 2017 Heisman winner is that 14 of the last 17 winners have been quarterbacks.

Here is a look at the current odds to win the 2017 Heisman Trophy as of August 29, according to Oddsshark.

  • Sam Darnold (QB USC) +400
  • Saquon Barkley (RB Penn State) +700
  • Baker Mayfield (QB Oklahoma) +800
  • Lamar Jackson (QB Louisville) +800
  • JT Barrett (QB Ohio State) +800
  • Derrius Guice (RB LSU) +1200
  • Bo Scarbrough (RB Alabama) +1400
  • Jalen Hurts (QB Alabama) +1600
  • Deondre Francois (QB Florida State) +1800
  • Jake Browning (QB Washington) +1800
  • Jarrett Stidham (QB Auburn) +2000
  • Derwin James (S FSU) +2000
  • Nick Chubb (RB Georgia) +2500
  • Mason Rudolph (QB Oklahoma State) +2500
  • Josh Rosen (QB UCLA) +2500
  • Trace McSorley (QB Penn State) +3300
  • FIELD +4000