Brett McMurphy’s Heisman Ballot: No One Is Catching Tua

It’s over. Finished. The Heisman Trophy race is officially kaput.

I know all about the laundry list of September and early October Heisman locks (Leonard Fournette, Denard Robinson, Geno Smith, Kenny Hill and Saquon Barkley), who failed to win the Heisman. But this time it feels so much different.

It is Tua Time.

Even before Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa made his first career start, he was already a slight favorite to win according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. Midway through the season, he’s now the overwhelming favorite.

Make no mistake: If Alabama goes 13-0, Tagovailoa will win in a landslide. Everyone else, right now, is playing for second place.

Maybe the most amazing thing about Tagovailoa through six games is not that Bama has topped 500 yards in all six games this season (Bama only did so only four times last year), but it’s the fact he has yet to play one snap in the fourth quarter.

Without ever playing in the final 15 minutes of Bama’s first six games, Tagovailoa currently ranks 42nd nationally in yards passing per game, 40th in total offense and is tied for sixth in TD passes. However, if Tagovailoa’s stats were pro-rated over four quarters, he would rank fifth in passing yards per game (359.3 yards per game), third in total offense (332 yards per game) and second in TD passes (24).

His current QB rating – which is not diminished by not playing a full game – is 258.40. Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray is the next closest, a distant second at 227.76.

I will update my list each Tuesday. 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 – and the Crimson Tide – has yet to be challenged this season. Can a player win the Heisman Trophy without ever playing in the fourth quarter? Asking for a friend.

Up next: Alabama hosts Missouri on Saturday.

2. Will Grier, West Virginia

Grier struggled against Kansas, throwing three red-zone interceptions. Still, Grier has led the Mountaineers to a 5-0 start and a No. 6 ranking. Grier leads the nation with 4.2 touchdown passes per game.

Up next: WVU visits Iowa State on Saturday.

3. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Haskins continues to put up monster numbers for the Buckeyes. Last week he threw for a career-best 455 yards and six TDs against Indiana. He leads the nation with 25 TD passes and ranks seventh, averaging 319.8 yards per game.

Up next: Ohio State hosts Minnesota 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. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Murray put up big numbers against Texas (304 yards passing, four TDs, and 92 yards rushing, 1 TD), but committed two costly turnovers in the Sooners’ loss. Murray ranks fourth nationally in total offense, averaging 356.8 yards per game.

Up next: Oklahoma is off this week and visits TCU on Oct. 20.

5. McKenzie Milton, UCF

Just win, baby! That’s all Milton does. Eighteen consecutive starts, 18 consecutive wins. Milton threw for 278 yards in last week’s blowout victory vs. SMU. For the season, Milton ranks fifth in total offense per game (343.2 yards) and 13th in yards passing per game (300.2).

Up next: UCF visits Memphis on Saturday.

 

Others who could move into my top five (in alphabetical order):

Travis Etienne, Clemson

Justin Herbert, Oregon

Trace McSorley, Penn State

Benny Snell, Kentucky

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

 

My Heisman winner based on last week only:

Jordan Cronkrite, USF