2018 Heisman Trophy Final odds: Guide to the three contenders
2018 has truly been a Heisman race of historic proportions, as all three finalists produced remarkable campaigns at the quarterback position that will long make this season an unforgettable year in college football.
Despite most of the favorite's attention going towards Tua Tagovailoa throughout the season, both Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins also showed how they would be runaway winners in a normal year themselves. But nothing is normal about these three quarterbacks. Instead, they are abnormal.
But despite Haskins' prolific performances, it is realistically a two-horse race for the most coveted award in college sports, between the two electric talents who will face off against each other in the College Football Playoff later this month.
Here are the odds at BetStars USA for the three finalists:
To reiterate, it speaks to how extraordinary both Tua and Murray were this season that Haskins is a mere afterthought for this award. All the redshirt sophomore quarterback has done this season was not just set Big Ten records in passing yards and passing touchdowns (the latter held by one Drew Brees of Purdue 20 years ago), but he shattered both of them!
And although he played well enough in some people's eyes early in the season, no one could argue that Haskins didn't reach a level where few NFL quarterback prospects have ever obtained in his last three games.
His heroics in saving the Buckeyes from a crushing defeat at Maryland, his six TD dominance over the No.1 defense in the country in rival Michigan, and his Big Ten record 499 passing yards and 5 TD mastery of Northwestern to cap off the season are truly displays worthy of a Heisman!
But the player with the best Big Ten season ever will have to settle just for a trip to Times Square.
This may go down as the greatest Heisman race ever, with the Alabama superstar's season-long stranglehold on the pole position slowly evaporating as the defenses got tougher and the weather got colder before last weekend.
And then, with Tagovailoa's massive struggles and injury vs Georgia in the SEC Championship, combined with Murray being marvellous again with his latest excellent effort in Oklahoma's Big 12 title win and revenge over Texas to catapult them into the Playoff, the momentum for the Heisman has completely shifted in Murray's direction.
Still, Tua has strong arguments that make betting for him very enticing, especially with him suddenly being the underdog. Although Alabama did not have a good non-conference schedule again and didn't play against tough defenses in Florida and Kentucky in their SEC schedule this season, Tua still faced the more formidable defenses than his Oklahoma elite counterpart on their schedule.
Army is the only defense ranked in the Top 30 that Murray faced, compared to three that Tua faced (Mississippi State, Georgia, LSU). But it's still about how you play against them that matters, and Tagovailoa didn't produce his staggering numbers versus that level of opposition like he did everyone else.
Murray, meanwhile, had to deal with Army's triple-option offense limiting his chances to have the ball and why his passing yards numbers that evening were pedestrian in Oklahoma surviving at home in overtime in that game (Murray still was remarkably accurate despite the finite number of chances versus Army, going 11 for 15 with 3 TD passes and 1 INT).
That was his "worst game of the season," as Murray never had a bad game at all while Tua struggled versus Mississippi State and especially against Georgia.
The two-sport start and Oakland Athletics prospect is the first player ever, entering the bowl season, to average over 300 yards passing (311.8) and at least 60 yards rushing (68.6) per game. Simply staggering totals.
In the end, Murray's record stats negate the "If Tua played the 4th Quarter, his stats would be better" argument, as if you removed Murray's stats in the final quarter, he would still have bigger numbers in passing yards and completion percentage than Tua.
In the end, it's a shame that two of these three young men won't win the award in what has been, for me, the greatest Heisman race ever.
If I had to choose who to bet on, with only 10 percent of Heisman voters casting their ballots before last week's conference championship games, I would place my money on Kyler Murray taking home the prize.