“Still, Georgia didn’t lose. Everybody else did.”

You can probably guess that advanced stats aren’t that impressed with the 1980 national champions.  Or, as Bill Connelly puts it,

Vince Dooley’s Georgia Bulldogs were coming off of a 6-5 season and based their hopes on a freshman running back. That is not a sentence that should ever be followed with “…and then they won the national title.”

Still, as the quote in the header says, 12-0, baby.  And, really, about what other season can you say that?

So, no, I don’t have any problem debating that.  I just wish somebody would make the advanced stats case that Herschel was robbed of the Heisman Trophy that season.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

13 responses to ““Still, Georgia didn’t lose. Everybody else did.”

  1. Jared S.

    I know we’re all biased here, but aren’t there good grounds for the argument that Herschel was the first true freshman truly deserving of the Heisman?


    • Gene Simmons

      Probably the first true sophomore as well.
      Yeah, I’m looking at you Timmy!


    • Macallanlover

      In the post 2000 era, Herschel would have won the Heisman in 1080, and they may not have sent the next 3-4 vote getters….if there were any. He would have also been a slam dunk in 1981. But the voters of that era were tradition bound, which I have no problem with except the rules should have said “excluding freshmen”. And if you talk to rival fans over 50you will see it wasn’t just UGA fans who felt he deserved the award of best CFB player those two seasons.


      • Sh3rl0ck

        He would have won in 80 and 82, but I have no problem with Marcus Allen winning in 81. He deserved it.


    • HVL Dawg

      Another reason to hate Donald Trump


  2. Herschel’s best season in college or in the pros was his Freshman Season
    as a Dawg. He never ran with that much abandonment again,
    He even stated that the Defense knew what he was going to do his
    Freshman Year & after that he tried to change things up.
    That never worked. He was still great but not as good as his Freshman year,
    \That year he punished the guys trying to tackle him. Later he dodged them.
    Stating that got his first pro coach fired But the coach was not wrong.


  3. Mark

    Herschel sacrificed his entire career for UGA in that Sugar Bowl. Go back and watch the pop as he goes out of bounds on the play that dislocated his collarbone. He just let the trainer pop it back in and played on. Most people are done for the day and probably weeks. I never realized the severity of the injury until I read what Dooley said about in a book 30 years later. Herschel never complained about it but I’m sure the damage done was a big part of the reason he never ran the same way.


  4. 69Dawg

    Just imagine what could have been, if Dooley had had any imagination. The opposition did know that with very rare exception it was Herschel toss sweep right, Herschel toss sweep left and Herschel up the middle. Yet Herschel was as dangerous out of the back field as any back we have ever had. The 81 or 82 Florida game he scored at will on passes to him. If Dooley coached today he would be arrested for cruelty for the way he used Herschel. Dooley had zero offensive imagination and if you look back the worst years he had on offense were the years he acted as his own OC.


  5. allthegoodnameswereused

    You’re buddy the Heisman Pundit actually had a decent case laid out at one time and Garbin had an article that brought up an interesting point. The votes in 1980 were cast before the Tech game. George Rogers season was over and that kid out of Wrightsville still hadn’t broke Dorset’s frosh record. I’ve got an old Sporting News or something like that the a writer admits they flubbed up on that one. Of course the underclassman bias was huge then .


  6. Steve

    I remember the radio I used to listen to Larry Munson call the UT game from Knoxville the evening of 9/6/1980. I even remember where on the LR floor I got the best reception. And the leather cover over the transistor radio. If I recall, Donnie McMickens (#27) started the game at TB. We were playing Dooley-ball getting no where until Larry’s voice changed slightly. It got a little deeper and the words were louder as he described ‘the freshman’ from Wrightsville coming into the game. OMG…. From that point on while we were on offense it was like an emotional shock collar with brief rests as the refs reset the chain. Anyway, the next week we were on the sunny side about 30 rows up in Sanford stadium. I was with my 4 yo daughter, wife and father-in-law. It was as if everyone in the stands was somehow connected through an emotional icloud. The T A&M people had been bragging about Billy Cannon Jr. and how he was ‘the best freshman’ in the country. He was playing SS that day and his dad was a former Heisman winner. Hershel took a pitch and ran around the right end. I can still see in my mind’s eye the angle Billy Cannon Jr had on Hershel and I remember I was happy he was at least going to get a good gain. But something changed in Hershel’s gait and it almost looked like he was pulling a sled and increased speed. He ran as if his hamstrings were connected directly to his neck and every time he thrust his legs forward his neck moved forward, too, so you could count the steps by looking at his head. Motorcycle speed. No jukes, no hurdles, no unnecessary superman flights into the end zone. He simply outran everyone, scored and dropped the ball without a ‘look at me’ break dance. We beat the shit out of A&M.
    IMO, Hershel should have been Heisman as a freshman. No one else had such a dramatic influence. I never met him in person but one of my friends, a drug salesman from Abbot, knew him and said he was really a wonderful person.
    Oh…and getting out of Athens that evening, the second Saturday in Sept 1980, was the worst traffic ever.


    • Russ

      I have similar memories, except I don’t think I left Auburn that night. Had some serious sobering up to do.


  7. Who cares about the advanced stats? It’s a bunch of data that would matter if the games were played on paper. That team was tough, had an absolute superstar at Georgia’s most important position, and got the breaks when they needed them.

    I hope we’re not going to start Dawggrading our championship teams.