If only the SEC were as flashy as Eddie George.

You know, I have to admit that the Heisman Trophy doesn’t exactly rock my world, but I respect the job that Chris Huston does covering that subject at his HeismanPundit blog.

It’s just that his blog would be a more enjoyable read if he could lay off his obsession with knocking the SEC at every turn.  This time, it’s about why the SEC hasn’t produced more Trophy winners than it has:

… What no one will talk about is that for most of the last 30 years, the SEC’s Heisman chances have been hampered by conservative, unimaginative, grind-it-out offenses.  Defense may win championships, but offense wins Heismans.  While other leagues were opening it up and putting up fancy passing numbers, the SEC (until recently) was content to run off tackle and play defense.  Players from the SEC may have had NFL-level talent, but they didn’t have the college production that players from other leagues had.

This explains why Florida State and Miami have had no trouble producing Heisman Trophy winners despite being located in the South, while the SEC as a whole has had just two–both from Florida teams with advanced offenses–since Bo Jackson won in 1985.

For real?  Take a look at the last twenty years of Heisman Trophy winners.  How many of those guys had resumes that were the result of cutting edge offensive schemes?  Five?  Fer Chrissakes, Ron Dayne won a Trophy.  In the last fifteen years, Ohio State’s had as many Trophy winners as Florida.

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UPDATE: Mr. Elkon adds a few choice thoughts here.

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UPDATE #2: HP clarifies his initial post in response to this one.  Evidently when he wrote about “advanced offenses” he didn’t mean cutting edge.  They’re just offenses in which “you’d better have guys who can throw the ball and put up numbers.  And if you have a great running back, he’d better get a lot of yards.” How can I argue with that?

By the way, before I get accused of it, I don’t think there’s a voter bias against the SEC in the Heisman balloting.  I just think HP’s reasoning here is inane.

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UPDATE #3: I’m starting to get bored with this, but in response to HP’s last comment -

GTP now mocks this rationale as ‘inane’, but if it’s not bias and it’s not lack of offensive production, what is it?

If you don’t gain a lot of yards, you won’t win the Heisman.  If a league has only one back in 20 years go over 1,700 yards and relatively few 3,000-yard passers compared to other conferences, what do you expect?

let me give two specific examples in rebuttal.

First, a player that HP dismissed in his initial post, Garrison Hearst.  Per Wikipedia,

Hearst attended the University of Georgia, and played football there for three years (1990-1992), leading the nation in touchdowns (21) and in scoring (11.5 points per game) in his junior year. During his career, he established new school and Southeastern Conference records for points scored in a season (126), total touchdowns (21), rushing touchdowns (19), and average yards per carry (6.8)*. Hearst was a consensus All-America selection, the Doak Walker Award recipient, ESPN‘s ESPY Winner for Outstanding Collegiate Athlete and SEC Player of the year in 1992. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting.

That’s third, as in two slots behind Gino Torretta.

Too partisan an example?  Then how about this one:

[Tim] Couch’s career totals at Kentucky included completing 795 of 1,184 passes (.671 completion rate) for 8,435 yards (including 4,275 passing yards during the 1998 season alone) and 74 touchdowns (including a 97-yard touchdown pass to Craig Yeast against Florida on September 26, 1998). Couch still holds the NCAA record for completion percentage in one game (minimum of 40 completions) at 83.0% vs. Vanderbilt (44 of 53) in 1998 and for completions per game (36.4, 400 in 11 games) that same season. He also left Kentucky holding NCAA records for most completions in a season (400 in 1998), most completions in a two-year period (763 in 1997-1998), most completions per game in a two-year period (34.7, 1997-1998) and career completion percentage (67.1%). His 1998 records of 4,151 offensive yards in a season, 377.4 offensive yards per game and 4,275 passing yards, stood as Southeastern Conference records for years after his departure.

Couch’s numbers his last season?  How about 430 for 601 (a 71.5% completion rate), 4611 yards passing and 38 touchdown passes?  He finished fourth in the Heisman balloting in 1998, behind such luminaries as Michael Bishop and Cade McNown.

There are plenty of other examples.  Those are just two I pulled off the top of my head.

So, to echo HP’s question, if his reasoning isn’t inane, what is it?

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UPDATE #4: OK, I lied.  Sorry, but I can’t resist pointing you in the direction of Michael Elkon’s follow up to HP’s second post.

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8 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Blogosphere

8 responses to “If only the SEC were as flashy as Eddie George.

  1. baltimore dawg

    “Defense may win championships, but offense wins Heismans.”

    tell that to peyton manning.

    • From the article:

      “The only real case [of the SEC being screwed] to be made is in 1997, when Charles Woodson beat Peyton Manning.”

      Even he acknowledges that one.

  2. Digidy Dawg

    The Heisman trophy doesn’t end up for whom it was intended for most of the time. It’s a beauty contest. Reggie Bush won the trophy cause he was more popular at the time. Vince Young should have won after his performance in the NC. Reggie Bush should have walked across the field that same night & placed that trophy into Vince Young’s hands. Troy Smith was nothing special either, but he played for the Ohio State Luckeyes. Instead of a trophy they should hand out a crown, tierra, & a buquet of flowers to the winner at the Downtown Athletic Club every year while singing thier praises. I believe a true test of a Heisman winner should be if that person was placed on a lesser team would they elevate the level of play for that team. I believe a lot of times these guys have a great team around them to make them look better than they are. I think I would rather my school win a NC than a Heisman anyways, but not everyone thinks like me.

  3. The Realist

    An award that claims such thought-provoking, emotion-evoking players as Gino Torretta and Rashaan Salaam, NFL greats Charlie Ward and Eric Crouch, and career achievement winners Ron Dayne and Ricky Williams (not to mention Andre Ware and Ty Detmer who founded the Graham Harrell school of racking up a ton of yards by throwing three-yard slants that WR’s broke for big yardage) is clearly on the bleeding edge of this whole fancy offensive movement. And those guys were just within the last twenty years!

    The only relevant fact is this… of the winners that can claim big offenses, how many won national titles the year they won the bronze statue?

    Matt Leinart in 2004 was the last. Charles Woodson won it in 1997, but, of course, he played defense. Danny Weurffel won it in 1996. And Charlie Ward in 1993.

    So three high octane offenses in the last twenty years (and one in the last thirteen) produced a Heisman and a national title in the same year. What does that tell you?

  4. Pumpdawg

    The Heisman became the Hypeman the year it was given to Gino Torretta.It seems the SEC is more concerned with winning National Championships than Heismans.If that bothers this guy then he must be a Big 10 fan.

  5. Mitch

    Yeah, I would like to have seen the Heisman really go to the best player.

    Certainly it is not unlikely that the Heisman is a popularity contest when you consider that people have to start their “campaigns” before the season begins. Is this not putting the cart before the horse. So many young men deserving of the trophy have not even been considered because of this travesty.

    I think that the Heisman has strayed from its roots all the way back when Charlie Trippi was not awarded the trophy because Glenn Davis was runner-up two years in a row and they did not want the Brave Ole Army team to be upset. BTW, I graduated from West Point.

    It has always been a popularity contest which perpetuated the media influence in college football. They now have more influence with the WWL of sports controlling not only who wins the Heisman but who goes to the MNC game. Now I am not saying they actually control the votes but they certainly make up a lot of people’s minds about a situation or dilemma a person may make. Case in point, Herbie wanting to put Michigan in with Ohio State in the MNC even though they were not conference champs but the following year Georgia can’t go because they were not conference champs. Hypocrisy.

  6. “Defense may win championships, but offense wins Heismans.”

    I fail to see how this advances the cause of making me care about the Heisman.

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