There was no bad choice for the 2018 Heisman, but Kyler Murray turned out to be the easy one.
Kyler Murray came though in his biggest game of the year, and Tua Tagovailoa didn’t.
It’s mean, it’s not fair, and it’s totally harsh, but between Tagovailoa missing most of the SEC Championship – it was so much more than that, though – and the way Murray had to carry his team to the College Football Playoff, the Sooner star got my first place vote, Tagovailoa was second, and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins was an easy third ahead of the rest of the pack.
And I was this close to putting Haskins second and Tagovailoa third. Haskins was more valuable, came up bigger in the biggest games, and put up better numbers, but …
Tagovailoa was so amazing.
There was no denying his greatness this season, his historic numbers, or what he was able to do, and coming up with the second-most efficient regular season in the history of college football should’ve won the Bama star the Heisman. But …
Murray had the most efficient regular season in the history of college football.
In an MVP sort of way, I always thought throughout the season that Alabama would’ve gone 13-0 with an SEC Championship and a No. 1 College Football Playoff seed with Jalen Hurts – when healthy – at quarterback.
And then came the SEC Championship, when Hurts actually did show just how good he was, putting it in plain view that in terms of value, Murray meant more to Oklahoma than Tagovailoa did to Alabama.
Again, it’s not necessarily fair to judge a Heisman campaign on one game – unless it was for the SEC and possibly the national championships.
In a Most Outstanding Player sort of way, Murray won that, too. He simply did more than Tagovailoa.
Murray completed 71% of his passes for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns and just seven interceptions – and with 892 rushing yards and 11 scores. He ran for 892 yards and 11 touchdowns, too.
Tagovailoa, hit 68% of his throws for 3,353 yards – averaging 11.4 yards per pass – with 37 touchdowns with four picks, and ran for 190 yards and five touchdowns.
But it was more than that. Murray had to carry Oklahoma in game after game after game, overcoming a shaky defense and having to pull the team’s butt out of the fire.
Tagovailoa got his work in early and didn’t need to breathe hard in the second halves of most games, but without Haskins, Ohio State isn’t going to Pasadena and wasn’t remotely close to getting into the College Football Playoff.
And without Kyler Murray, Ohio State or Georgia gets into the CFP.
Murray’s historic season deserved the 2018 Heisman. But …
Check back on January 7th and let’s see who the true signature player of the 2018 college football season is.