While the bottom half of the Heisman race continues to be a revolving door, one name remains at the top: Tua Tagovailoa. With yet another big week of college football ahead of us, here's how the race shapes up heading into Week Nine:
#13 Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback, No. 1 Alabama
Every week, Tua Tagovailoa performs to a level that makes great quarterbacks look good and good quarterbacks look helpless. With Tagovailoa, it isn’t about the numbers, which are still astonishing — it’s about the manner in which he gets those numbers. He is overwhelmingly efficient to the point that he still hasn’t played in the fourth quarter all season. This week against Tennessee, he threw for 306 yards and four touchdowns, bringing his totals on the season to 2,066 yards, 25 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Barring injury, or an unlikely collapse in performance, Tua Tagovailoa will win this year’s Heisman trophy.
#1 Kyler Murray, quarterback, No. 8 Oklahoma
Any other year, Kyler Murray would be the leading candidate for the trophy. He has his Sooners at 6–1 and has 25 passing touchdowns and only three interceptions. He has been electric through the air and on the ground. The future Oakland Athletic is able to extend plays with his feet, and keep his eyes downfield. Against TCU, Murray was spectacular, throwing for 213 yards and four touchdowns with an 80 percent completion rate.
#7 Dwayne Haskins, quarterback, No. 11 Ohio State
The sophomore quarterback had a strong game through the air last Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to translate to a win. Ohio State was routed, 49-20 — by Purdue. In the losing effort, Haskins threw for a school record 470 yards but only managed two touchdowns. Haskins was given every opportunity to put up those numbers, throwing the ball an astonishing 73 times. Although Haskins has the numbers — 30 touchdowns and five interceptions — the loss to Purdue means he has lost some of the sizzle and appeal usually carried by a Heisman contender. Right now, he is still poised to be in New York for the Heisman ceremony, but he’s trailing the rest of the pack.
#10 Ed Oliver, defensive lineman, Houston
Oliver once again showed his dominance against Navy. The stout defensive lineman earned a sack in Houston’s 49-36 win on the road. Usually, Oliver’s work doesn’t show on the stat sheet like other candidates, but he has a sack in two of the last three games. He’s become nationally recognized as one of the top three defensive players in the country this season. Against Navy, Oliver avoided a knee injury after being chopped blocked in his right knee. Luckily for him, he is still healthy and will have a chance to put his stamp on this season when No. 21 South Florida makes its way to Houston this weekend.
#23 Jonathan Taylor, running back, Wisconsin
Once a preseason favorite, Taylor has started to pop back up on the radar. He has been fairly consistent this year, rushing for over 100 yards in every game. Taylor could be higher on the list if it wasn’t for his low production in terms of touchdowns. He has had four games with no endzone trips. Those numbers could be offset by the sheer fact that as a pure runner, Taylor is showing to be the one of the best in the nation. Along with the string of 100-yard games, his yards per carry haven’t dropped below 4.5 this season. Taylor is climbing the ranks once again and making a solid case for himself down the final stretch of the season.