Could Toby Gerhart Start For Alabama?
The Heisman race from some projections is boiling down to a two man race. A classic east coast vs. west coast showdown for the most prestigious award in college sports.
As an Alabama fan, I'm hoping beyond hope for Mark Ingram to bring the Crimson Tide their first Heisman. I'm not alone in this as all the Bama Nation has threw their support and love behind this truly dominate running back.
Where I do fall off the wagon though is when 'Bama fans start the, "Well, Gerhart couldn't put up those numbers against the defenses in the SEC.", or the one I heard yesterday, "Could Gerhart even start for the Crimson Tide?"
The resounding answer was no. Most fans didn't even believe he would beat out Trent Richardson for the 2nd team. And of course, he loaded up his stats on the weak PAC-10 defenses.
Now don't get me wrong, I love Ingram and Richardson, and happen to think they are the best one-two punch in the game. I just think our thinking has to be a little flawed not to believe a 6-1 235lb bruiser, with deceptive speed couldn't trounce our conferences defenses, or any others for that matter.
I know what your saying, well these are just a bunch of opinionated arguments with no facts to back it up.
Well, let me dispel the assumptions.
I took Stanford's schedule, and found the statistical rankings for rushing defense for the 12 teams they played.
Team Rushing Defense Ranking
Washinton State 117
Wake Forest 82
San Jose State 119
Oregon State 25
Arizona State 18
Notre Dame 90
Ok, I took those numbers along with some elementary math, found the average rush defense Gerhart faced would be ranked 59.1 in the nation against the run.
I then did the same thing for Alabama, except I dropped the one FCS team, and kept the number of games at 12.
Team Rushing Defense Ranking
Virginia Tech 52
Florida Int. 116
North Texas 104
South Carolina 46
Miss. State 63
The numbers show here that Ingram and Co. faced an average rush defense of 66.6.
Pretty mind numbing for the SEC homer isn't it.
Before you get ready to hit your next point in your argument, I'll take care of it for you.
What about just conference games then?
If you take Stanford's nine conference games, you get an average of 46.2.
Alabama's 9 conference games gives us an average of 58.6.
So either way you look at it Gerhart, by the numbers, faced better run defenses on the year.
Now I'm not putting all this out there to say that Gerhart is a better back than Ingram, or vice versa. They are both great players, invaluable to their teams, whose performances stand on there own.
What I am saying is, if you think Ingram should win the Heisman, that's great. I do too.
If you want to argue the fact Ingram should win it, then let's point out how important he's been to the #1 team in the nation. Mention the fact that he carried the offense during a tough stretch for quaterback. Bring up how he played the best in the biggest games on the schedule.
Just don't say Ingram should win it because he put up the numbers in a conference Gerhart couldn't even play in, it simply won't hold water.
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