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 No. 4 LSU, 8 p.m., Saturday
The Breakdown: Well, this is it: what quite possibly could be the toughest test of the season for the Heisman frontrunner. A 70.4-percent completion-rate passer who has yet to throw an interception, Tagovailoa is the best player in the country, but the Tigers might have the kind of defense that can contain him. LSU’s defense has allowed an average of 11.2 points while going 5-0 at home this season. Then again, that unit has not seen an offense like that of the Crimson Tide.
2. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma (2)
This week: at Texas Tech, 8 p.m., Saturday
The Breakdown: Tagovailoa’s run without an interception gets a lot of pub, but Murray has only thrown three this season – on 31 more attempts than Tua – and none in the last two games. He’s also thrown three or more touchdowns in seven consecutive games and has been sacked only eight times. Perhaps it is not fair to compare Murray and Tagovailoa, as they are not the same kind of quarterback. But maybe the Heisman race is closer than it seems, since Murray’s season has been nearly as special.
3. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State (3)
This week: vs. Nebraska, Noon, Saturday
The Breakdown: One would think Haskins and the Buckeyes are eager to get back on the field and rebound from their loss at Purdue two weeks ago. Nebraska has won two in a row, but this game doesn’t figure to be a tough one for Ohio State. Maybe this will be a good time for the Buckeyes to find their running game again so some of the pressure can be taken off Haskins. The college football world knows how good he is, but does he have to prove it every week?
4. D’Eriq King, QB, Houston (NR)
This week: at SMU, 7 p.m., Saturday
The Breakdown: Have we found the most exciting player on college football? Perhaps, and he might reside in Houston. New to the Heisman watch, King entered the game-day weekend tied for third in the nation with 28 touchdown passes, and is sixth with a 173.0 quarterback rating and eighth with 2,403 passing yards. Oh yeah, and he also has 11 rushing touchdowns for the Cougars, who are ranked in the Top 25 and 4-0 in the American Athletic Conference’s West Division.
5. Gardner Minshew II, QB Washington State (NR)
This week: vs, California, 10:45 p.m., Saturday.
The Breakdown: He leads both the No. 1 passing offense in America (405.4 yards per game) and a team that averages 40.8 points. Minshew, who began his college career at East Carolina and leads the country with 3,183 passing yards, appears to be the perfect fit for Mike Leach’s potent offense. He’s also helped the grieving Cougars at least partially move forward respectably from the death of Tyler Hilinski in January.