NEW YORK (AP) - The only thing standing in the way of Jameis Winston and the Heisman Trophy is the Duke Blue Devils.
The quarterback of No. 1 Florida State will not be charged with sexually assaulting a woman who accused him of raping her about a year ago. State Attorney Willie Meggs made the announcement Thursday, saying there was not enough evidence to win a conviction.
Even while Winston was being investigated for sexual assault, odds makers had pegged him as the clear favorite.
Now only a terrible performance in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship Saturday night against No. 20 Duke will keep him from a runaway Heisman victory.
Chris Huston who runs the website HeismanPundit.com says: “He’ll win very comfortably.”
If the case had not been settled it would have overwhelmed the Heisman proceedings and could have had a significant impact on the voting.
“How this case affected the national title race and the Heisman Trophy balloting is so far down the list of what matters, it feels almost silly to talk about,” said Heisman voter Doug Lesmerises of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “But in trying to make an informed choice for an award that does matter to people, the fact that a decision has been made regarding the legal process does allow us all to vote with a clearer mind.”
Huston said that now it’s unlikely the allegations will cost Winston enough votes to affect the outcome.
Not long after the announcement of no charges was made, RJ Bell of pregame.com Tweeted that the Heisman odds for Winston improved from -2000 to -3000, or a $30 bet in Las Vegas on Winston to win would pay out $1.
Winston would be the second freshman to win the award, and the second straight, joining Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Winston is a redshirt freshman, as Manziel was last year.
His latest straw poll was released Tuesday and Winston had received seven of the 10 first-place votes. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch received the others and was second. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller were tied for third.