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College football ’18: Heisman watch


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: at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m., Saturday

The Breakdown: Despite a bothersome knee, Tagovailoa’s lead in the Heisman race doesn’t appear to be dwindling. The luxury the Crimson Tide have is that they haven’t needed to push their star, especially with starter 1A Jalen Hurts ready to step in when needed. Tennessee should at least be taken more seriously than previously thought because of its win at Auburn, but Tagovailoa again might not be asked to go above and beyond.

2. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State (2)

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This week: at Purdue, 7:30 p.m., Saturday

The Breakdown: Haskins is having a dream season for the Buckeyes, and that probably won’t be hindered with this weekend’s trip to Purdue. This will be the second true road game of the season for the Buckeyes. Haskins has shown some mettle away from Ohio Stadium, guiding his team to a second-half charge against TCU in Arlington, Texas and rallying it at Penn State. No quarterback in the nation so far this season has starred more when the lights are brightest than Ohio State’s Heisman candidate.

3. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma (3)

This week: at TCU, Noon, Saturday

The Breakdown: Murray is back in action, two weeks removed from the Sooners’ loss to rival Texas. Though Murray shined often in that contest, it’s almost as if he’s being asked to do too much, especially if the Oklahoma defense doesn’t improve with Mike Stoops no longer running the unit. TCU has had its own struggles this season, most recently on offense. However, the Horned Frogs have held four opponents to 17 points or fewer, including each of their last two.

4. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (5)

This week: vs. Illinois, Noon, Saturday

The Breakdown: The Badgers fell at Michigan last week, taking their College Football Playoff hopes down the drain with them, but Taylor fared well. He needed only 17 attempts to gain 101 yards. Though a season low in yardage, it came against one of the best defenses in the nation. Taylor could be in for a monster day against an Illinois defense that’s allowed three opposing running backs to rush for 130 yards or more this season.

5. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (NR)

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This week: at No. 25 Washington State, 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

The Breakdown: Herbert probably won’t win the Heisman, but the buzz about his NFL future is getting louder. The junior seems to get more confident with each game, and showed tremendous poise in last weekend’s overtime win against Washington. He’s thrown just five interceptions, and none in the last two games. He’s also been sacked just eight times. An interesting road challenge awaits Saturday, which gives Herbert another chance to add to his growing popularity.

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