Brett McMurphy’s Heisman Ballot: Waiting for Tua to Come Back to Earth

Because there were no huge upsets last week, my Heisman ballot remains unchanged from a week ago.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa – bad knee and all – is the still the overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

Some Heisman voters have asked a valid question about Tagovailoa’s status as the consensus No. 1 choice: How many other quarterbacks could have led Alabama to an undefeated season and No. 1 ranking? The answer: a lot of them.

However, Alabama certainly would not be as dominant or as efficient without Tua at the controls. With Tagovailoa, the Tide ranks No. 3 in scoring offense and No. 5 in total offense – despite Tagovailoa and Alabama’s first-team offense basically shutting it down in the second half of nearly every game this season.

In the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa has attempted exactly one pass and only been on the field for eight plays this season.

If Tagovailoa stumbles down the stretch, there are a couple of Big 12 quarterbacks and a Pac-12 QB from Pullman ready to take advantage.

I will update my list each week. However, I will not reveal my official Heisman ballot in the first week of December. The Heisman trust prohibits Heisman voters from disclosing their ballot until after the Heisman ceremony on Dec. 8.


My current top three:

1. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Tagovailoa is proving he’s human after all. He has thrown an interception in each of his last two games. For the season, he still leads the nation in TD-to-interception ratio with 28 TD passes and two interceptions. It will be interesting to see how much Tagovailoa plays this week against The Citadel with the Iron Bowl against Auburn the following week.
Up next: Alabama hosts The Citadel Saturday.

2. Will Grier, West Virginia
Grier has West Virginia three wins from the Mountaineers’ first Big 12 championship. Grier is the nation’s fourth-leading passer, averaging 329 yards per game along with 31 TDs and eight interceptions. In the Mountaineers’ current three-game winning streak, Grier has nine TDs and only one interception, averaging 346 yards in that span. This week he goes to Stillwater, Oklahoma, trying to snap WVU’s three-game losing streak to Oklahoma State.
Up next: West Virginia visits Oklahoma State Saturday.

3. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Murray continues an incredible season, replacing last year’s Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. He leads the nation in yards per passing attempt at 12.3 (Tagovailoa is second at 11.7) and is third in total offense, averaging 368 yards per game. In Murray’s last three games, he is averaging 424 yards total offense and was responsible for nine TDs.
Up next: Oklahoma hosts Kansas Saturday.


If the Heisman would expand its ballot to five players (something I’ve been a proponent for to get more players to New York and asked the Heisman trust to consider – unfortunately they said no):

4. Gardner Minshew, Washington State
Minshew is nearly averaging 400 passing yards per game (394) and has the Cougars two wins from winning the Pac-12 North title and earning a berth in the Pac-12 title game. In last week’s win at Colorado, Minshew attempted a season-high 58 passes. He finished with 335 yards and two TDs. In his last three games, he has 6 TD passes and one interception.
Up next: Washington State hosts Arizona.

5. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Haskins has been limited to only 479 yards passing in the Buckeyes’ past two games against Nebraska and Michigan State. Despite those low numbers, he still ranks fifth nationally, averaging 328 yards per game and 33 touchdown passes, second only to Houston’s D’Eriq King. Haskins will need solid performances the next two weeks against Maryland and Michigan to earn an invite to New York City.
Up next: Ohio State visits Maryland Saturday.

Others who could move into my top five (in alphabetical order):
Eno Benjamin, Arizona State
Travis Etienne, Clemson
D’Eriq King, Houston
McKenzie Milton, UCF
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

My Heisman winner for last week:
RB Ryquell Armstead, Temple (210 yards rushing, 6 TDs vs. Houston)