Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let me get this straight....

Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, Texas, Southern Cal, and Florida all have a combined record of…38-34? By the way, in all-time wins, Michigan is #1, Texas is #2, Tennessee is #9, USC is #10 and UGA is #11. Pretty crazy and unbelievable season. That, alone, should tell us how crazy it all is. UGA is 3 years removed from a #2 ranking. UT is 3 years removed from an SEC East Title. Texas is 1 year removed from a 13-1, undefeated regular season, Big 12 title, and BCS champ. Game appearance. Southern Cal is 2 years removed from a string of about a million Rose Bowls in a row. Florida is a year (a year!) removed from a 13-1, undefeated regular season and 2 years removed from a National Championship. Michigan is 3 years removed from spanking Florida on New Year's Day.

In the meantime, in 2008 Auburn went 5-7. In 2009, Auburn went 7-5. In 2010, Auburn is 12-0. There are no promises, but it can change for the worse in a hurry and it can change for the better in a hurry. And we can talk about coaching all we want, but the answers are pretty clear to me. UGA no longer has Knowshon Moreno. Texas no longer has Colt McCoy. Florida no longer has Tim Tebow. Southern Cal no longer has all those studs…okay, I'll name a couple: Taylor Mays, Mark Sanchez, Clay Matthews, Brian Cushing. Michigan no longer has Mario Manningham and Chad Henne…or anyone on defense. Tennessee simply had the luckiest season in 2007 in the history of college football.

Auburn? Insert Cameron Newton and Nick Fairley = SEC championship.

We weren't that much different from 2006 to 2007. Matthew got better, but by the Auburn game in '06 he was pretty dang good. The difference was simple: Knowshon Rockwell Moreno. Yes, we need to coach better and make some better decisions. We need to play D better. But, dang, we need better players. For me, Richt has the 2 most important months of his career ahead of him. We need guys that can play now. It sure does make it easier to call plays when you can run a toss sweep on 3rd and 4 and it sure is easier to play defense when your offense can burn a little clock or you've got a safety you can trust if you choose to blitz or you have David Pollack wreaking havoc in offensive backfields. I don't know if Van Gorder made Pollack or vice versa, but I know Eric Berry made both Chavis and Kiffin look pretty smart. I think it's the players.

Kudos to Richt on landing Murray. Do you realize how big of a get he was 2 years ago? Whew, we'd be in a pickle if he'd have chosen Florida. But this is the biggest issue. For all the talk about Strength and Conditioning, it doesn't seem to affect Houston, Green and Ogletree because they are beasts. We need more beasts. Richt gets it, and I think HIS motivation for the Boise game was what I suspected. He said so on his show:

"We’re trying to recruit guys right now who, when we open in the Dome next year against Boise State .. can come right in and we can introduce them to college football .. when you talk about impact players, that’s why I've been talking about a recruiting “dream team” .. if we can get the best players in the state to stay home we can show how good the football is in this state."

Are you listening Isaiah Crowell?

It's crunch time for Richt. Win this crappy bowl and sign the best class we've ever had. Bama did that and signed some guys named Ingram, Jones, and Cody in winter of '08. That turned out alright in '09. Heck, it wasn't so bad in '08. Get to that Dome and find a way to beat the Broncos and a way to beat the Cocks and home and get this thing rolling. It's that simple. It doesn't matter how you win, just win. In 2002, we opened up with 2 ugly wins against Clemson and South Carolina. It didn't matter. We were 2-0. Just find a way to win them and let the momentum take #11 for a ride.

Is it August yet?

And let me just say that if we land Crowell, talk all August about how he's having trouble pass blocking, lose to Boise, and Crowell plays 5 snaps because we aren't sure he can pick up the blitz...I might just lose my mind right there. If he can't pass block, I think I've got the play for him. It's called "Toss Right." I'll bet they already run that one down in Columbus.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Herschel is better than Bo


Anyone who's watched SEC football for the past, oh, 50 years knows that when it comes to running backs, there's Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson, and everyone else. So who's the better college running back? Bo? Herschel? There are a few ways you can look at this one.

1. Freshman impact. No contest here. Herschel set the freshman rushing record at 1,616 yards - and he did that in the equivalent of 9 games (he missed the bulk of the Ole Miss game, and a half against both UT and TCU). Bo? 829 yards. Ho hum. Or let me put it this way: Bo rushed for fewer yards as a freshman than Jasper Sanks did as a sophomore. Herschel should have won the Heisman as a freshman. Bo? Bo wasn't diddly as a freshman. Advantage: Herschel, and Bo doesn't really deserve to be mentioned in his company here.

2. Season rushing stats. Let's take a look at their seasons in terms of yards gained per season and put them in order.

1. 1,891 yards. Herschel, 1981.

2. 1,786 yards. Bo, 1985.

3. 1,752 yards. Herschel, 1982.

4. 1,616 yards. Herschel, 1980.

5. 1,213 yards. Bo, 1983.

6. 829 yards. Bo, 1982.

7. 475 yards. Bo, 1984.

Auburn fans will quickly remind you that Bo's 1984 season was shortened by injury. I will remind Auburn fans that Herschel missed a game and a half his freshman year and a game his junior year based on injury. OK, so let's go ahead and play the "what if" game. What if Bo and Herschel hadn't missed any time due to injury? To let you know how I came up with these numbers, I did it like this. Herschel missed 1.5 games in 1980 due to injury. Take 1,616, divide by 9.5, multiply by 11 for the revised total. Here are the "no injuries" numbers:

1. 1,936 yards. Herschel, 1982.

2. 1,891 yards. Herschel, 1981.

3. 1,871 yards. Herschel, 1980.

4. 1,786 yards. Bo, 1985.

5. 1,213 yards. Bo, 1983.

6. 1,045 yards. Bo, 1984.

7. 829 yards. Bo, 1982.

Bo don't know Herschel's yards. Put another way, Herschel's 3 years are 3 of the top 5 rushing totals in SEC history. Bo's second best year doesn't even make the top 20.

Advantage: Herschel, and it's not close.

3. Career rushing stats.

Herschel: 5,259 yards in 3 years

Bo: 4,303 yards in 4 years.

Some Auburn fans will tell you that a healthy Bo Jackson would have outrushed Herschel over 4 years. Fine. Let's play that game, too. I'll even give Bo a 1984 equivalent to his best season, 1985. Don't forget, though, that Herschel had another full year to play when he left. Giving Herschel the equivalent of his best year, you get these numbers:

Herschel: 7,150 yards

Bo: 5,614 yards

Sorry, Aubies. Advantage: Herschel, and again, it's not even close.

4. Durability. To make it through the always-brutal SEC schedule, a running back must have durability. The best home-run running back in the world doesn't do squat from the bench.

Per game: Herschel has two of the top 4 rush attempts in a game. Bo doesn't even make the list.

Per season: Herschel has the top 2 seasons. Bo's best season is at #15.

Career: Herschel had more rushes in 3 years than anyone in SEC history had in 4.

No contest here. Compared to Herschel, Bo was a china doll. Bo took himself out of games. Herschel put himself back in them. Advantage: Herschel, and Bo isn't in the same class.

5. Team impact. Good players get good stats. Great players get great stats. Elite players lift the teams around them. Let's look at the team records and accomplishments.

National championships: In Herschel's 3 years, Georgia won a national championship and played for another. In Bo's 4, Auburn won none and played for none.

SEC championships: Georgia won 3 in Herschel's 3 years. Auburn won 1 in Auburn's 4.

Winning percentage:

Georgia: .917 (33-3), Auburn: .755 (37-12)

At home: Georgia: 1.000 (19-0), Auburn: .846 (22-4)

Away: Georgia: .909 (10-1), Auburn: .714 (10-4)

SEC: Georgia: 1.000 (18-0), Auburn: .708 (17-7)

Win streaks:

Home: Georgia: 19, Auburn: 10

SEC: Georgia: 18, Auburn: 9

AP final ranking:

Georgia: 1, 6, 4, Auburn: 14, 3, 14, unranked


Georgia: Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Auburn: Tangerine, Sugar, Liberty, Cotton

Advantage: Herschel, and Bo is nowhere near.

6. Heisman balloting:


1980: 3rd (highest ever point total for a freshman)

1981: 2nd

1982: 1st (margin, 695 votes over John Elway)

Herschel beat out such names as John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Anthony Carter, and Dan Marino.


1982: not on the ballot

1983: not on the ballot

1984: not on the ballot

1985: 1st (margin, 45 votes over Chuck Long, the closest vote ever)

Bo beat out such names as Chuck Long, Robbie Bosco, Vinny Testaverde, and Allan Pinckett.

Advantage: Herschel, and Bo doesn't approach him.

7. Other arguments.

Bo was a great baseball player. So was Nolan Ryan, but no one mistook him for a football player.

Bo had a better pro career. By what standards? Consider this:

Bo never had over 1,000 yards. Herschel did it for two different teams.

Bo never finished in the league's top 10 in any statistic in any season. Herschel was in the top 10 in rushing yards twice, rushing scores 5 times, receptions twice, yards from scrimmage 4 times, and rush/recieve TD's twice.

Bo never finished in the top 50 for any stat in his career. Herschel is in 5 categories. Herschel is the only player to have 10,000+ yards gained on offense and 5,000+ yards on kickoff returns. Herschel is one of only six players to exceed 60 TDs rushing and 20 TDs receiving.

Bo is only one of two players with two 90+ yard rushing TDs, but Herschel is the only player in NFL history to score a 90+ yard TD rushing, receiving, and kickoff return in the same season, and he did it in his 30's.

In conclusion:

The SEC has seen a lot of great players, and a lot of great running backs. None of them have been better in four years than Herschel Walker was in three, and that includes Bo Jackson. Bo had one great year. So did Charles Alexander from LSU and Kentucky's Mo Williams, who both exceeded 1,600 yards in a season. So did Florida's Emmitt Smith, Auburn's Rudi Johnson, and Georgia's Garrison Hearst, who all exceeded 1,500 yards in a season. No one, however, has had the sustained excellence that Herschel had throughout his career.

No one comes close. Not even Bo.