Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up during pregame against Texas Longhorns at the NCAA college football game at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas Texas on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. [RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

BEVO BEAT Football

Murray or Tua? How our four Heisman Trophy voters cast their ballots — and why

Posted December 8th, 2018

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The American-Statesman has four Heisman voters. Here’s how they voted this year:

Kirk Bohls: Murray wins it because Tua lost it

Voter since: 1979

My ballot: 1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma; 2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama; 3. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

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I tend to discount the argument that Tua Tagovailoa deserved the Heisman because he rarely played in the fourth quarter of Alabam’s lopsided games. All that shows is Tua is surrounded by better teammates and has more help. Kyler Murray IS Oklahoma, and he’s No. 1 on my ballot for these reason:

Murray was more valuable to his team than Tagovailoa was to his. Without Tua, Alabama STILL reaches the Final Four as the No. 1 team. Without Murray, OU is in the Camping World Bowl.

And he was better in the biggest game of the year than Tagovailoa was in his. And Tua was on the sideline, injured with a high ankle sprain, when the SEC championship game was decided and backup Jalen Hurts willed the Crimson Tide to yet another playoff. Murray, meanwhile, was needed for every OU snap.

Murray had better numbers than Tagovailoa. He averaged more passing yards, had a better quarterback rating, a better completion percentage and threw for more touchdowns.

Murray wins the Heisman because I believe Tagovailoa lost it.

Brian Davis: Who would you rather pay to watch play?

Voter since: 2004

My ballot: 1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma; 2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama; 3. Garner Minshew II, Washington State

It was rather surprising to learn the Heisman folks require three names. Turning in only two is unacceptable, at least it was on my computer ballot.

To me, this boils down to Kyler Murray vs. Tua Tagovailoa. The SEC crowd rushed to crown Tagovailoa early in the year. But Jalen Hurts could have led Alabama to a perfect record, of that I am sure. Murray was simply electric. He’s the sole reason why the Sooners went 12-1 and won the Big 12 title. He’s the main reason why OU is now headed to the CFP.

Ask yourself this: Who would you rather pay to see? To me, that answer is easy. OU is average without Murray; Alabama still would’ve been great without Tagovailoa.

Suzanne Halliburton: Murray is Manziel minus all the choas

Voter since: 2007

My ballot: 1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma; 2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama; 3. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

This is the way I look at Kyler Murray: He’s Johnny Manziel, all grown up and without the chaos. He passes with precision and patience. When he runs, you hold your breath wondering if he’ll dash for 10 yards or 50. He didn’t have a bad game all season. Never mind all the pressure of following in the footsteps of Baker Mayfield, last year’s Heisman winner. Tagovailoa had been a study in perfection, but in his team’s biggest game so far — the SEC championship — he stumbled.

Cedric Golden: Tua tackled the pressure, expectations

Voter since: 2009

My ballot: 1. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama; 2. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma; 3. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Tua Tagovailoa played flawless football in all but one game and put up tremendous numbers despite throwing only eight fourth-quarter passes in 13 contests. The numbers — 67.7 completion percentage, 3,989 yards, 37 touchdowns and only four interceptions — may not reach the level of Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, but you must credit Tua for handling the pressure and expectations that came with saving the 2017 title game in relief of Jalen Hurts. He took that pressure and kicked its butt, along with the competition’s.

That’s why he got my vote.

Murray was amazing all season and got the runner-up slot ahead of Ohio State gunslinger Dwayne Haskins. Murray is one or two games from starting his professional baseball career, but something tells me he isn’t finished with tackle football. We’ll see him again on the next level.

Haskins has all the measurables of an NFL quarterback and the arm to boot. Of the three Heisman finalists, he has the biggest upside.

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