The Heisman Trophy, awarded to college football’s most outstanding player, actually could go to a baseball player this year.
Kyler Murray, an A’s prospect who plays quarterback for Oklahoma, is one of three finalists for the 2018 Heisman, along with Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins. The winner will be announced Saturday night in New York.
Oddsmakers like Murray’s chances after his excellent first season as the Sooners’ starter, listing him as a -190 favorite over the other finalists. Murray has thrown for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns, and run for 892 yards and 11 more scores in 13 games, and he’ll lead Oklahoma into the Dec. 29 Orange Bowl against Tagovailoa’s top-ranked Alabama squad.
Winning the Heisman likely would increase chatter that Murray could change his mind and pursue a football career over honoring his commitment to the A’s. Murray signed a $4.66 million contract with Oakland last summer, but an NFL first-round contract might bring seven times that amount.
Baker Mayfield, Murray’s Oklahoma teammate last season, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and signed a $32.68 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.
So, if you’d like to see if Murray wins the Heisman (and the speculation following it), here’s how you can watch the 2018 Heisman Trophy presentation ceremony live on TV and online.
When: 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 8
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Jim Harbaugh is being proactive in addressing the rumors this year: No, he isn’t leaving Michigan to return to the NFL, he says.
"I can't be any more clear about this -- it's not true," the former 49ers coach told ESPN’s Adam Schefter this weekend. "I'm not going anywhere."
Harbaugh’s success in San Francisco -- a 44-19-1 record and a Super Bowl berth in four seasons (2011-14) -- leads some to speculate each year that an NFL return could be in the cards. Harbaugh hinted that chatter could be planted by others to hurt him in recruiting players to Michigan, where he's 38-13 in four seasons as coach.
"This is a choreographed message that comes up at this time every year before signing day," Harbaugh said. "It's people spreading messages to further their own personal agenda.”
Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan in the mid-1980s. Schefter, the reporter, also is a Michigan alum.
FL teams that need an offensive-minded coach who can develop a young QB surely will inquire about Harbaugh’s availability, though. For example, should the Arizona Cardinals, who’ve struggled to a 3-9 record, decide one season with coach Steve Wilks is enough, they certainly could consider Harbaugh and the impact he’d have on rookie QB Josh Rosen.
That would mean seeing Harbaugh and his signature pleated khakis on the Levi’s Stadium sideline once per season. Not sure how 49ers fans would feel about that.
Everyone knew Kyler Murray was a great college football player. But his Big 12 Championship Game performance, along with Tua Tagovailoa's SEC title game struggles, showed he was the best college football player, thus worthy of the 2018 Heisman Trophy.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples shared a graphic that revealed Tagovailoa received the majority of Heisman votes made before and during the conference championship games, but Murray cleaned up after all was said and done.
It makes sense that the majority of Heisman voters who waited to cast their ballots picked Murray. The Oklahoma quarterback completed 25 of 34 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 39-27 win over Texas that pushed the Sooners into the College Football Playoff field.
Tagovailoa, meanwhile, struggled for Alabama, going 10-of-25 passing for 164 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions before leaving the SEC Championship Game against Georgia with an injury. Jalen Hurts relieved Tagovailoa and rallied the Crimson Tide to a 35-28 win that kept them in the CFP field.
Of course, the A's, who voted for Murray to play baseball by drafting him last summer, hope he sticks with his original plan. Or, at the minimum, pull a Bo Jackson and play both sports.