Could Toby Gerhart Start For Alabama?

aaron keyCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2009

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

Washington                                               67

UCLA                                                        60

Oregon State                                             25

Arizona                                                     22

Arizona State                                             18

Oregon                                                     38

USC                                                         42

California                                                  27

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

Arkansas                                                  69

Kentucky                                                 100

Mississippi                                                 55

South Carolina                                           46

Tennessee                                                58

LSU                                                         44

Miss. State                                               63

Auburn                                                     80

Florida                                                     13

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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