As the college football season moves on, it’s time to get serious about the 2018 Heisman Trophy race.
The Game Haus will provide weekly rankings of the top five candidates for college football’s most prestigious award. Here’s a look at this week’s version of the Heisman watch with the current contenders as we see it.
Previous week’s rankings in parenthesis. All times eastern.
1. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (1)
This week: vs. Missouri, 7 p.m., Saturday
The Breakdown: There are several statistics that jump out when discussing the nation’s top player and most obvious Heisman front-runner at the moment. For example, the 75.2 percent completion percentage that’s tied for the best in the country or his national-leading 19.67 yards per completion. However, the number that stands out most is “0”, as in the number of interceptions Tagovailoa has thrown. Now, he’s only thrown the ball 101 times in six games, but that’s still impressive, especially compared with his 18 touchdown passes. A knee sprain doesn’t seem likely to sideline Tago this week.
2. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State (4)
This week: vs. Minnesota, Noon, Saturday
The Breakdown: The nation’s leader in touchdown passes with 25, Haskins threw six in last weekend’s victory over Indiana. Sure, Haskins has thrown three of his four interceptions in the last two contests, but he’s also blossoming into the best player in the Big Ten – and it doesn’t seem close. The Buckeyes are a confident group with Haskins leading the way, and as long as they keep winning, he should be mentioned among the top two or three contenders for the Heisman.
3. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma (2)
This week: Idle
The Breakdown: We saw the best – and perhaps worst – that Murray has to offer in last weekend’s loss to Texas. He threw four touchdown passes and ran for one, but was also intercepted and lost the ball on the ground while trying to elude a pass rush. Murray also seemed rattled at times, but showed his competitiveness and leadership by getting the Sooners back into the game before losing on a late field goal.
4. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia (3)
This week: at Iowa State, 7 p.m., Saturday.
The Breakdown: Grier’s 21 touchdown passes are among the most in the country, but three interceptions – all in the red-zone – last week against Kansas, though more opportunistic this season, seems unacceptable. He also lost the ball on a sack. The Mountaineers got the win, which is the most important thing. But that kind of performance isn’t usually one worthy of a Heisman candidate. It will be interesting to see how Grier rebounds in a seemingly tougher test at Iowa State.
5. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (NR)
This week: at No. 12 Michigan, 7:30 p.m., Saturday
The Breakdown: Taylor should be back in the Heisman conversation after a 221-yard performance against Nebraska last week. The Badgers sophomore leads the nation at 169.8 rushing yards per game and his 849 yards are third. Michigan gave up a season-high 147 rushing yards to Maryland last week, but has not allowed any player to run for more than 65 in any game this year. This should be fun.