December 4, 2009
While this comparison and these stats have no real standing in the Heisman discussion, should both players excel in their conference championship games, some voters might choose to peek at career numbers before filling out their ballots. Also, about 10,000 Texas fans have visited the site and a decent portion of them keep reminding me about McCoy setting the total wins record.
Whatever way you look at it, these are the two best quarterbacks of the past several years. They’ve dominated statistical categories, games, their conferences and many of the national races. I’m going to let you do your own analysis…just providing the numbers. Note: Tebow only started three years. He participated in the offense as a freshman, but I have broken down some numbers into total and “as a starter”.
The most important stats (to most). Wins, win% and championships.
And, finally, context. Who’d you do it against? Seems some of the readers don’t see the relevancy in this stuff, but why do we keep stats if not to compare? And if opponents don’t really matter then why don’t we consider FCS and even high school teams/players for the big awards and bowl games?
December 4, 2009
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After watching the dearth of any defense in the Civil War last night, it made me wonder about the PAC-10 defenses. Well, not wonder so much – I have a pretty good idea about them after watching a couple of dozen games. If you didn’t watch the game, there were only five punts but fifteen kickoffs. Not exactly a defensive slugfest.
That Oregon defense you saw last night is the best ranked rush defense Toby Gerhart has played all year. They held him to 96 yards in a loss. Freshman LaMichael James torched them for 166 last night and their four rushers combined for 290 yards.
The only OOC defense he played that had a pulse (being generous to 5-7 Wake Forest) held him to 82 yards while beating Stanford. The week before the Stanford game, Wake Forest gave up over 200 yards rushing in their loss to Baylor. During the season they also gave up 338 yards running in a loss to Navy and 149 yards to Jermaine Thomas in their loss to Florida State.
Gerhart rushed for 980 of his yards against teams that went a combined 28-54. If we’ve truly decided that opponents and defenses don’t matter, why aren’t we considering Kellen Moore?
December 3, 2009
We’re really going to do this again this year. Big 12 fans are going to try to perpetrate the fraud that all of their offenses are so stellar that it just makes their defenses look bad…thus the poor rankings of their defenses. And by said “reason,” they’ve deluded themselves into thinking that SEC defenses are so highly ranked each year is because the conference’s offenses are so miserable the defenses look great by comparison.
Now to get to this spot, we have to ignore virtually every expert in the universe. Sagarin has said the SEC is the number one most powerful conference for four years and still does today (Big 12 is currently fifth). Teamrankings, one of the leading bettor tools on the web, has said the SEC is the number one conference for four years now and still does today (Big 12 is currently fifth). And we’ll ignore the NCAA official stats that say that, on average, the SEC has far more powerful defenses than the Big 12.
So we’ll ignore the facts and the experts and instead discuss the head-to-head games that the conferences have played. But let me preface this by saying that I’m a firm believer that last year’s games don’t mean much, but several Texas fans continually refer to the Texas-Arkansas game as some proof of their theory, so I will look at the results of all the Big 12-SEC matchups since last year.
Result (Game detail below): In five games, SEC defenses played Big 12 offenses with higher conference ranks. In five of five games, the SEC defense held the Big 12 offense to below their average season output in yardage (differentials were from just a few yards to well over 100). In 3 of 5 games, the SEC won. In the remaining two, two Big 12 teams that finished the seasons a combined 21-4 beat SEC teams that finished the seasons 12-12.
I may be wrong, but I think that’s all I’ve got. Stats, power rankings and game results. I’m sure that won’t be convincing to the Big 12 fans, but that may be all I can put together.
September 27, 2008. Arkansas (the SEC’s 10th ranked pass defense and last ranked total defense) travels to Texas. The game is a debacle. Arkansas turns the ball over 3 times and gets demolished by the Longhorns. But Texas’s offense that averaged 475 yards for the season only gained 421. Minor victory when you get beat by 35. But the SEC’s last ranked defense didn’t exactly get rolled over by the mighty Longhorns’ offense as much as the Razorback offense couldn’t hang on to the football.
January 2, 2009. Ole Miss plays Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. This looks like it could be a slaughter. The Big 12′s number one pass offense against the SEC’s last ranked pass defense. And scoring for Ole Miss would have to be a problem against the Big 12′s third ranked pass defense and fifth ranked total defense. Not so much. Mississippi went for 515 yards of offense (over 100 yards more than their season average) and beat the mighty Red Raiders 47-34. Tech was held to just over 60 yards short of their season average.
January 8, 2009. BCS National Championship Game, Florida vs. Oklahoma. Each conference’s number one offense vs. the other’s number three defense. The Oklahoma offense that spent the season rolling through most of the Big 12, gaining 562 yards per game and scoring 54 points per game was held to 363 yards. Florida gained slightly more than their season average (480 vs. 442) and won 24-14.
September 5, 2009. Georgia at Oklahoma State. Georgia is a lower middle of the road SEC team. #7 Defense & #8 Offense would finish the season with a 7-5 record. Oklahoma State has the Big 12′s #7 offense and #4 Defense and would finish the season 9-3. Georgia played poorly on offense and committed three turnovers, losing the game 24-10. Yet Georgia’s lowly SEC defense held OSU to 69 yards less than their season average for offensive output (307 vs. 376).
October 3, 2009. Arkansas hosts Texas A&M. Arkansas is the SEC’s last ranked pass defense and last ranked total defense. The Aggies ended the season as the number one offense in the Big 12. The game got ugly early with the Razorbacks leader 30-10 at the half. Thus A&M spent the entire second half throwing on the last ranked SEC defense and still was held to just below their season average. This is the same A&M team that put up 39 points and 542 yards on the vaunted Longhorn’s defense.
December 2, 2009
For those that missed our Twitter feed this morning, SI’s Stewart Mandel called this morning’s Toby Gerhart teaser (“Gerhart – 31st in yards per carry. Lost 4 to teams that lost 17. Heisman…really?”) a “smear campaign”. I took it as a teasing nudge (and still do) from a writer that happens to be one of my favorites in the business. His college football articles are part of the few “must reads” every week for me. His writing is unbiased and almost always “dead on”. And I (as a tiny flea speck of an amateur) was thrilled to even be noticed.
This afternoon I noticed SI’s cover. Pro Gerhart lead with an anti-Tebow follow (Why Tebow Shouldn’t Get the 2009 Heisman). Then there’s the Dan Patrick Show (an SI property) this week. Segments include Gerhart and McCoy themselves – and Gary Danielson dismissing Tebow.
(Continued after the graphic)
First, I understand that Mandel couldn’t have known anything about this. I’m certain he has zero web placement or editorial control. However, it does make me wonder whether SI is not-so-subtly pushing a candidate.
I make no bones that I am pro-Tebow…I’m a personal blog that has Tebow in my logo. However, I have utilized stats that I believe to be contextual. I’m more interested in yards/carry and yards/pass attempt than total yards. I believe it tells me more about a player than looking at total anything – without knowing context. And if you check out the site from two years ago, you’ll see I emphasized many of the same numbers then…this isn’t me choosing some obscure stat because it currently favors Tebow.
SI seems to be actively dismissing the Tebow campaign. I understand Gerhart’s had a good year and I genuinely like everything I know of the kid, his game and his lifestyle. I also genuinely question whether you can call a running back in 31st place in the nation in yards per carry (not to mention tenth in the PAC10 behind even his own QB) the “best player in the country”.
I understand the questions about Tebow’s candidacy – he doesn’t have similar numbers to prior years and his total yardage is low (compared to a McCoy or Keenum). However, SI is the only major outlet I could find (in a quick search) that doesn’t even mention Tebow in their weekly Top five. Between that, their article stating explicitly that he shouldn’t get it and the DP Show segments, one has to wonder if there is something else at play here. Their rival, ESPN, has an exclusive television deal with the SEC. Tebow already gets the SEC a ton of exposure. Would it be a coup for their rival to have the face of the SEC get an award like the Heisman? Would SI forgo editorial objectivity to try to prevent that rival from such a win?
Food for thought.
December 2, 2009 Comments Off
Texas fans – McCoy threw nine interceptions and Tebow threw four. Does that stat (by itself) mean anything to you? McCoy threw over twice the number of costly interceptions. That has to mean he sucks compared to Tebow, right? Without knowing context – how many pass attempts are involved – that stat means nothing.
Many of you claim I ignored the basic QB stat line. I say the basic stat line is all you see when you go to the typical Heisman site. Feel free to check SI or ESPN for those numbers. McCoy threw for more yards. Congratulations – when they give an award for that, I will wholeheartedly say he wins. My point with all my articles is context. Because he throws the ball 80% more than Tebow, McCoy SHOULD have more overall yards AND touchdowns AND interceptions. How many yards does he get every time he tries? What percentage of those throws are for touchdowns (the point of the game)? What percentage of attempts are interceptions? There’s a reason these stats are ALL kept on the passing efficiency page of the NCAA stats home. To be able to compare quarterbacks that run very different offenses. There’s a reason that QB rating is one of the major stats in the NFL.
My writing isn’t to say McCoy sucks and I’m disappointed that’s what many of you have come here to comment (about Tebow personally). McCoy (and Gerhart and Ingram and Spiller) is an honorable man playing a sport for our enjoyment for (basically) no pay. He is also a great quarterback. When fully informed of the efficiency numbers (which I also pushed on the site in 2007 when he had the yardage too) and the defensive rankings, I believe Tebow should be under more serious consideration for the Heisman. Please note – I have never once said any of the candidates suck. I welcome intelligent discourse.
Best of luck in your game this weekend – may you perform well with no injuries. I genuinely hope the Gators and the Horns are able to settle this debate on the field.
December 2, 2009
First, I love everything Toby Gerhart stands for. Good player, good student, good guy. But the Heisman? Seriously? Is everyone just looking at total yards and total touchdowns wetting their pants or something? He’s got amazing total yards. But you get that if I hand you the ball 1,000 times you’re probably going to get a ton of yards and TDs too, right?
Gerhart got 311 carries this year. I want to put that into perspective for you. The top 100 rushers in the nation averaged 181 carries during the season. Gerhart got 130 more carries than the average back this year…72% more carries. Even with that, he ended up second in total yards gained. Ryan Matthews of Fresno State took almost five fewer rushes per game and still ended up with a higher per game average.
Gerhart is exactly 31st in the country in yards per carry. 30 players in the top 100 in rushing, including the quarterback and two running backs from Nevada, Joe McKnight from USC, Jeff Demps from Florida, Noel Devine from West Virginia and Dion Lewis from Pitt averaged more yards per carry than Gerhart. 13 players would have broken 2,000 yards had they kept their current averages and gotten the number of carries Gerhart got, including Mark Ingram. (Continued below the graphic)
I hear it now – “So, his team leaned on him. He was their “go to guy”. That makes him their MVP.” I agree – their MVP. If we’re going to discuss a player as MVP of the nation, shouldn’t his team lean on him AND they have significant success? I don’t mean an undefeated season, but success.
The Cardinals put many of their total plays in his hands. It also led them to be 8-4. Four losses to teams who themselves lost 17 games. Held to 82 yards in a loss to 5-7 Wake Forest and their 81st ranked rush defense. MVP of the nation?
Yeah, yeah, but you saw him against Notre Dame and he looked unstoppable. I agree. 7.1 yards per carry is amazing, until you remember that Notre Dame has the 89th ranked rush defense in the nation and that Navy had three backs average more per carry against them, including Vince Murray who averaged 11.3 YPC over 14 carries.
EDIT: Based on a couple of e-mails I went back and checked his YPC in the PAC 10. Getting the argument that the YPC number is skewed because the PAC10 is so good this year. We’ll see about that in the bowl games, but I hear the argument. Took the top 30 rushers in the conference according to the NCAA. Gerhart is 10th in yards/carry…behind his own quarterback. Again, MVP of the nation?
November 30, 2009
It appears from much of the discussion on the major sites and in Twitterland that (unless someone else does something amazing) the Heisman will come down to Gerhart, McCoy and Tebow. I think Gerhart has been fantastic this year, but he’s going to struggle when it’s all said and done. He’s on the west coast, so many of the voters haven’t seen him. Plus, Stanford is 8-4 with a loss to a very mediocre Wake Forest team. This doesn’t mean I’ll ignore his candidacy this week, but I think there’s a pretty good chance that it will come down to McCoy and Tebow for the trophy.
McCoy’s got great numbers and for those voters that will just pull their stats lines, he’ll be their guy. I think McCoy is a very good quarterback. But I think his level of competition merits scrutinizing those stats of his. I’ve written before that Tebow’s numbers come from this year’s coaching philosophy, not some failure on his part. The Gators have become a team focused on running the ball first and rarely throwing it down field. They also play in the very defensive minded SouthEastern Conference. Say what you want about a “down year,” but the SEC still plays the best defense in the nation.
Total passing yards McCoy beats Tebow hands down. But when you look at things like total interceptions, Tebow has fewer than half the interceptions of McCoy – again because of the offensive mindset. But what about efficiency and effectiveness at the position. When you do attempt a pass, how many yards do you average? How frequently do you throw a touchdown? How infrequently do you throw costly interceptions? And how do you perform when you play the best opposition?
Overall, both players have played effective, efficient football. Their best stat line is 12-0. However, how did they contribute to being there?
Tebow has the better passer rating, TD percentage, Interception percentage and more total touchdowns. He also has a significantly better passer rating and yards per attempt. Most importantly, he’s faced far better overall pass defenses.
But how have they both performed while under pressure? How much do those overall numbers change when you focus on just their best competition. I looked at the same stats for games against only the Top 40 pass defenses. (Note: when I first published this article, I was asked almost immediately “Why Top 40 pass defenses?”. The inference was that I am cherrypicking good numbers for Tebow. I chose 40 because that is the exact ranking of the second best pass defense Texas played. They didn’t play another pass defense in the Top 70. Once you get to the bottom 50 pass defenses, I can no longer justify it as checking stats against the “best competition”.)
The difference between the quarterbacks becomes far more pronounced when you look at these stats. Tebow’s numbers are virtually identical to his full season numbers. McCoy’s drop substantially. In fact, McCoy’s average stat line for these games plunges – 196 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 Int.
November 29, 2009
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Let’s be realistic – none of the candidates played in games that should have been particularly close. A&M is bad, as is Florida State. Auburn shouldn’t have been a problem for Alabama. Notre Dame wouldn’t be trouble for any Top 20 team – Stanford just isn’t that good, but… I hear the cries of “rivalry game”. Whatever. Do your business.
Tebow did what was expected of him. Very good numbers against a very mediocre defense. How far the (once) mighty Seminoles have fallen. 17/21 for 221 yards. 3 touchdowns 0 Interceptions. 90 Yards Rushing and 2 Rushing TDs. Oh – and he didn’t play the whole game.
On a personal note – it was amazing to be there. The mood was electric. I saw men openly weep. I know that many are sick of the Tebow coverage, but it’s not like he’s asked for it. And he’s been good for the game.
McCoy had a ridiculous stats day. 24/40 for 304 yards and four touchdowns. 175 yards rushing for 1 touchdown. 111th ranked pass defense. 107th ranked total defense. Meh.
I’m a big fan of Gerhart. Old school, hard nosed player. Also had a ridiculous week against weak competition. 29 rushes for 205 yards. 1 reception for 33 yards. 89th ranked rush defense.
The Twitter world has been going crazy with these stats. I plan to actually go through the season stats and put them into context as the week goes on.
November 29, 2009
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Who watched any of the Mizzou-Kansas game last night and lost the fact that this game was supposed to be between two teams from one of the top conferences? This conference is getting the benefit of the doubt in the National Title race. If everything goes according to plan this weekend, it’s expected champion will be going to the BCS National Championship game over TCU and Cincinnati and Boise State.
The average pass defense in the Big 12 is 71st in the country. I’ve heard some Big 12 fans claim that it’s that their pass offenses are just “so good”. Amazing claim after watching the Mizzou-Kansas debacle. Three yard passes continually turned into 50+ yard plays due to what seemed to be dozens of missedd tackles (yeah, impossible – but did you watch the game?).
This has direct relationship to the Heisman race. Colt McCoy has earned his yards against these same defenses. If he’s a leader heading into the final weekend of the season, why aren’t Todd Reesing and Taylor Potts on the radar? (more yards/game)
Competition matters and no one will tell me the SEC isn’t the best competition week in/week out.
For what it’s worth, McCoy has faced one good pass defense…Oklahoma’s in October. Ranked 22nd in the nation. McCoy’s performance? 127 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 Interception…84.5 passer rating.
November 27, 2009
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As I wrote just a couple of days ago, Ingram may not even be the best back in Alabama’s backfield let alone the nation. Ingram rushed 16 times for 30 yards against the 88th ranked rush defense in the country. Freshman Trent Richardson gained 51 yards on 15 rushes. Love the kid and his work ethic, but Bama Nation may have to wait until next year for their first Heisman.