Heisman Hopefuls: Week 8

Photo: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

This is going to get weird. The last time we checked in with the 2018 Heisman Hopefuls, it was Week 6. Not much had changed. Perhaps a little off-hand reshuffling of the order...but the group was largely status quo.

In the time since then? West Virginia and Oklahoma have lost Big XII contests, knocking Grier and Murray from the ranks of the unbeaten. How big of an impact will losses have on these front-runners? It's time to take a look around the college football landscape and appraise the field to find out.

Just Missed!

Laviska Shenault Jr, WR, Colorado (Previously: N/A)

Colorado isn't exactly a household program but Shenault will be if he isn't already. New to Heisman Hopefuls this week, think about these numbers...Shenault is pacing for 120 catches and over 1500 yards in a 12 game regular season. A true marvel as a sophomore, Shenault will be placed on the back burner for pro-evaluation...at least for a year. But his big body and athleticism are stunning to witness. He's one of the most spectacular talents in the entire country.

Year to date:

Record: 5-1

60 receptions, 780 receiving yards, 6 receiving touchdowns

The Fab Five

On to the short-list! Below are my current standings for the 2018 Heisman race after the first seven full weeks of the college season.

5. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia (Previously: 1st)

Speaking of the turnover bug, Will Grier has had a case of butterfingers for the last few weeks. Grier has thrown four interceptions in the last two weeks after throwing just three in his first four games. But the real crippler for Grier's campaign was that he threw for 100 yards in his team's 30-14 loss at Iowa State. That is not a typo...Grier threw for 100 yards.

Entering the contest, the Mountaineers passer had thrown for no less than 332 yards in any game this season. But the Cyclones put the grips on West Virginia and Grier struggled to move the ball with the same success as he has all season. An ugly loss to a tough but not overly talented team is bad. Bombing your performance along the way makes for a huge hit to a Heisman resume.

Year to date:

Record: 5-1

137/192 passing (71.4%), 1919 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, 7 interceptions

4. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma (Previously: 4th)

Yes, Oklahoma lost. Yes, Murray looked frazzled for a great deal of the game. But Murray was also a central piece of Oklahoma's 21 point push in the 4th quarter to tie the game. Murray took a run up the sideline for 67-yards on his own, a play that jolted the Sooners back to life when it looked like they were dead in the water.

Ultimately, it was too little, too late. The game came down to who had the ball last. Murray rebounded well from a poor first few quarters and that keeps him on this list...but he did have two turnovers that aided in the Longhorns victory. That will weigh on the minds of the voters.

Year to date: 

Record: 5-1

96/135 passing (71.1%), 1764 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 377 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns

3. McKenzie Milton, QB, Central Florida (Previously: 5th)

With two minutes left before halftime this past weekend, Memphis led UCF by a score of 30-14. And then the Knights do what they always do: they flipped the switch.

UCF continues to be one of the most under-appreciated storylines in college football with Milton at the helm. Milton scored the game winning touchdown on the ground early in the 4th quarter, culminating a drive that needed 8 plays to rumble 74 yards and win the football game.

Milton's stats may not be as sexy as his competitors but the Knights wouldn't be undefeated without him. It will be hard to convince the voters Milton deserves the award, but I expect we'll see him in New York for the ceremony if the Knights run the table against East Carolina, Temple, Navy, Cincinnati and South Florida.

Year to date:

Record: 6-0

119/200 passing (59.5%), 1797 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 204 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns

2. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State (Previously: 3rd)

If you're a stat-head, Haskins is your guy. He's been such a tremendous catalyst for the Buckeye offense. But how much of Haskins' success comes down to his superb cast of characters? After all, his playmakers made so much of that come from behind win over Penn State happen a few weeks back.

It doesn't matter to me at all. Haskins has executed what he's been given offensively to damn near perfection. As a matter of fact, I'd argue the only way Haskins isn't the favorite to win the award is if there's a perfect resume out there.

Year to date:

Record: 6-0

175/242 passing (72.3%), 2331 passing yards, 28 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions 

1. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (Previously: 2nd)

Well I'll be....turns out there's literally a perfect resume out there. Tua survived an injury scare (thank goodness) this past weekend against Missouri but he continues to light the college football world aflame with his play. Sure, his ratio of incompletions to touchdowns is growing wider by the day. But you know what? The fact that we are even using that as a measuring stick for his performance speaks volumes.

I've been skeptical that a player who plays in only two thirds of his team's game on a weekly basis can run away with this award, so the divide in playing time will keep it close. But America loves a winner...and that's exactly what we have in Tua and the Tide.

Year to date:

Record: 6-0

88/123 passing (71.5%), 1760 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 117 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns

Written By:

Kyle Crabbs

Chief Brand Officer

CBO & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. Former NDT Scouting Overlord.