Georgia Football: A Bulldog Should Have Won The Heisman Trophy This Year – And It Wasn’t Roquan Smith
Baker Mayfield, who will soon be known nationwide as Faker Mayfield after he faces the first real defense (other than cops) he’s ever seen, won the Heisman Trophy. He had a good year. He may or may not have deserved the award. But was he clearly the most deserving person? Let’s go to the dictionary. Per the Heisman Trust’s Mission Statement, this is who should win the award:
The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winners of the trophy epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work.
So there are really seven components to winning the award:
- Outstanding Player
- Performance that exhibits the pursuit of excellence.
- Performance that exhibits integrity.
- Great ability.
- Hard work.
What’s interesting is that almost all of those qualities apply the vast majority of college football players. Most work hard, persevere, display diligence and demonstrate great ability. As a result, the pursuit of excellence is relatively commonplace in college football. Relative to the broader population, most college football players are outstanding. But how many really display integrity?
Baker Mayfield grabbed his crotch during a football game. People seem to have forgotten that, and I’m not sure that is a display of integrity. And that’s why a Georgia Bulldog should have won the award. You may think I’m talking about Roquan Smith. I’m not. He may have been deserving as well. But I’m talking about Jayson Stanley.
There’s a moral high ground and selflessness that embodies integrity. Stanley has demonstrated that when it matters most for the Dawgs.
A few short weeks ago, Georgia won the SEC Championship and essentially clinched a College Football Playoff appearance. Boys will be boys and a number of them boys got into trouble immediately thereafter.
Most notably, Natrez Patrick, a beast of an inside linebacker, was arrested for marijuana possession. This was Patrick’s third weed-related infraction—or at least it could have been. It is entirely possible that Patrick’s career with the Bulldogs would have been over had this third charge stuck. Most certainly he would have missed Georgia’s Rose Bowl appearance and all-but-guaranteed National Championship Game showdown with Alabama/Clemson.
Indeed, things would have been bleak for Patrick and the Georgia defense were it not for integrity. Fortunately, Jayson Stanley, who should have won the Heisman Trophy, stepped up. Having never had a previous run-in with the law or marijuana-related infraction, Stanley saw an opportunity to selflessly help his team win a National Championship. That’s integrity.
He pleaded with the arresting officers and insisted that the green bud found was his own. I wasn’t at the scene of the alleged crime, but you can practically hear Stanley saving the day, the season and a young man’s career. “No, officer. If anyone should be punished for marijuana-ing, it is I! That marijuana is mine. I am the weed doer here, not my friend and teammate Natrez. I did the marijuana!”
Amazingly, it worked. Sometimes the good guys do win. Patrick’s charges were dropped earlier this week thanks to Stanley and an excellent lawyer, who astutely pointed out:
When you get into someone’s car, you’re not going to search it to see if there’s marijuana in the car. My client didn’t know the marijuana was there. If you’re sitting on a little piece of marijuana that you didn’t know was there, you’re not knowingly in possession of it.
That attorney is right.
Sometimes we’re not even aware of what we may or may not have possession of. Sometimes, we’re sitting on something. And in Georgia’s case, the Bulldogs have been sitting on a Heisman Trophy Candidate all along. His name is Jayson Stanley. The ultimate teammate. He is the very definition of excellence with integrity.
That’s all I got/
Running Back Depth
We heard about Georgia’s depth at running back all off-season and it lived up to the hype, thanks in no small part to a much-improved offensive line.
- Georgia will likely finish the year with two 1,000-yard rushers – Nick Chubb has racked up 1,175 and Sony Michel is sitting on 948.
- Georgia should have four running backs with at least 700 yards, as D’Andre Swift is at 597 for the year.
- Six Georgia runners (including wide receivers Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley) are averaging 5.0 yards per carry or more, this includes Swift, Michel, Chubb and Elijah Holyfield.
Jake Fromm, allegedly a true freshman, has played with staggering efficiency for Georgia.
- Fromm ranks 7th in the nation in passer rating at 168.2
- No freshman is ranked ahead of Fromm in this category. Baylor QB Charlie Brewer is the next-highest rated QB at no. 31 in the nation with a rating of 146.3.
- Fromm is on pace for about 2,500 passing yards, 25 TDs and just 6 INTs (assuming two more games).
From has been helped out tremendously by big-play receivers.
- Georgia has five receivers with at least five catches and a per-catch average of at least 14.5 yards – Ahkil Crumpton (5 catches, 19.2 YPC), Terry Godwin (29 catches, 18.6 YPC), Riley Ridley (8 catches, 17.0 YPC), Javon Wims (38 catches, 16.6 YPC), Mecole Hardman (14.7 YPC).
- Last year, Georgia had only one wide receiver who fit that bill – Riley Ridley.
Well-Rounded Defensive Success
- Georgia ranks 4th nationally in scoring defense, 4th in yards allowed per game, 2nd in passing allowed yards per game and 12th in rushing yards allowed per game.
- Roquan Smith has been a monster. He’s first on the team by a wide margin in tackles (113 to J.R. Reed’s 69), a close second in tackles for loss (10.5 vs. D’Andre Walker’s 11.5), first in sacks (at 5.5) and first in QB Hits (17 vs. Lorenzo Carter’s 15).
- Nine different Bulldogs have come up with turnovers in the form of recovered fumbles or interceptions.
- SixBulldogs have come up with multiple turnovers. J.R. Reed leads the team with four takeaways (2 INTs and 2 FRs). Lornzo Carter (all FRs) and Dominick Sanders (all INTs) have three takeaways. Deandre Baker (both INTs) and Aaron Davis (one of each)
Special Teams Proficiency
That’s not something we’re used to around here!
- Rodrigo Blankenship has kicked 60 touchbacks on 82 attempts.
- Hot Rod is also 15/17 on field goals and his back up, David Marvin, is 1/1. Georgia is 6th in the country in field goal percentage, with both misses coming from outside 40 yards. Georgia has not missed an extra point.
- Georgia is 14th nationally in punting average (44.5) and 8th nationally in net punting average (42.1). All punts have come from grad transfer Cameron Nizialek, an underrated Dawg.
Georgia Football: It is a Travesty that Auburn’s Defensive Coordinator is Up for the Broyles Award and Georgia’s Mel Tucker Isn’t
I wrote at length about this last week, but here’s an update. Ignore for a moment who should win the award, because it’s completely arbitrary. But consider the comparison between Kevin Steele (Auburn’s Defensive Coordinator and a Broyles Award Finalist) and Mel Tucker (Georgia’s Defensive Coordinator), and tell me why Tucker isn’t a finalist. Note that these statistics are updated through Saturday’s beat down of Auburn.
|Category||Georgia (National Rank)||Auburn (National Rank)|
|Point Allowed Per Game||13.2 (4)||17.3 (10)|
|Yards Allowed Per Game||271 (4)||312 (14)|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per Game||158.3 (2)||177.8 (8)|
|Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game||112.6 (12)||134.5 (32)|
|Average National Rank||5.5||16|
There is not a single major statistical category in which Auburn’s defense is as good or better than Georgia’s.
If we adjust for the quality of offenses faced, things are just as lopsided in Georgia’s favor.
Georgia played 12 FBS opponents (which includes Auburn twice). Those 12 opponents posted season-long scoring averages of 29.45 points per game. So, Georgia’s 13.2 points allowed per game represents just 44.8% of opponents’ scoring average. In simple terms: Teams scored less than half of their season averages against Georgia..
Auburn also played 12 FBS teams (which includes Georgia twice). This set of 12 opponents posted season-long scoring averages of 32.60 points per game. Therefore, Auburn’s 17.3 points allowed per game reflects 53.1% of opponents’ scoring average. In simple terms: Teams scored more than half of their season averages against Auburn.
What does this actually mean? Well, the national FBS scoring average this year is 28.785. If Georgia allows 44.8% of opponents’ scoring average and Auburn allows 53.1% of opponents’ scoring average and both teams played a truly average (28.785 points per game) team, Georgia would allow 12.9 points and Auburn would allow 15.3. Which defensive coordinator is better by that measure? Do you want to allow more points or fewer? According to the Broyles Award, more points allowed is better.
The butt-kicking continues on a yards basis.
This year, Georgia’s opponents have posted an average season-long per-game yard tally of 399.5. Against the Dawgs, however, they’re only getting 271 yards per game. So, Georgia is holding opposing offenses to 67.8% of their season-long averages.
Auburn’s opponents have averaged a total of 428.3 yards over the course of their entire seasons. Against Auburn, though, these teams are just gaining 312 yards per game. Auburn is holding opposing offenses to 72.8% of their season-long averages.
Again, Georgia is doing better than Auburn on an opponent-adjusted basis, but what does this look like practically? The national yards per game average is 403.992. If Georgia played an average offense and allowed 67.8% of the expected yards gained (which is Georgia’s average so far this year), the Dawgs would give up 273.9 yards. If Auburn allowed its 72.8% average, the Tigers would give up 294.1 yards. Again, Georgia holds the edge here.
So how about common opponents? Georgia and Auburn both played Missouri and Mississippi State. Georgia held Mississippi State to fewer points than Auburn did but gave up more points to Mizzou, so that’s a split. Georgia held both Mississippi State and Missouri to fewer yards. So Georgia checked three of four boxes there.
It is a CRIME that Mel Tucker is not up for this award.
That’s all I got/
The Southeastern Conference is in shambles! Alabama lost a football game this year, and they’re the only respectable team in the conference. The rest of the league just hires Nick Saban disciples and destroys itself from within. Guys like Kirby Smart, with no head coaching experience, will never cut it.
Case in point: only two of the College Football Playoff’s four teams are from the SEC.
But consider the “down” SEC’s bowl slate as a whole:
|Bowl||Date||SEC School (Conference Rank)||Opponent (Conference, Rank)|
|Rose Bowl||1-Jan||Georgia (1)||Oklahoma (Big 12 no. 1)|
|Sugar Bowl||1-Jan||Alabama (2)||Clemson (ACC no. 1)|
|Peach Bowl||1-Jan||Auburn (3)||Central Florida (AAC no. 1)|
|Citrus Bowl||1-Jan||LSU (4)||Notre Dame (Independent no. 1)|
|TaxSlayer Bowl||30-Dec||Mississippi State (5)||Louisville (ACC no. 5)|
|Outback Bowl||1-Jan||South Carolina (6)||Michigan (Big 10 no. 6)|
|Belk Bowl||29-Dec||Texas A&M (7)||Wake Forest (ACC no. 7)|
|Music City Bowl||29-Dec||Kentucky (8)||Northwestern (Big 10 no. 4)|
|Texas Bowl||29-Dec||Missouri (9)||Texas (Big 12 no. 4)|
SEC teams are consistently scheduled “up” relative to their peers. I guess that’s because the conference is so weak.
I mean, can you imagine if the show was on the other foot? Like what if the Big 12’s 9th-best team had to play the SEC’s 4th-best team? Baylor vs. LSU would be a hate crime.
That’s all I got/
First things first, congratulations to the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs. Not only did the Dawgs convincingly win the SEC Championship, but they also (from my estimation) established themselves as the best team in the country.
But is this any sweeter because it happened against Auburn? Meh. I’m not sure. I mean the revenge factor matters, and Kirby still hasn’t lost back-to-back outings against a single opponent. But I don’t know that this is anymore special because it’s Auburn.
As I pointed out on Friday, Georgia pretty much always beats Auburn. That’s what we should expect. Since 2006, Georgia is 10-3 in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. This 21-point win was only the Dawgs 6th-most lopsided win over the Tigers. Georgia has beaten Auburn in each of the past four years.
Honestly, getting past Florida was a bigger deal this year. Getting McElwain fired was huge. Crushing Tennessee was epic. Beating a team like Mississippi State was actually awesome, because the Bulldogs don’t get to beat Mississippi State every single year (like they do Auburn). You could make a case for wins against lowly Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech mattering more in isolation.
Again, this game mattered because it was Georgia’s first SEC Championship in far too long. But did it matter that it was Auburn? I don’t think so.
In any event, most of my thoughts are summed up in this reaction from right after the game. Let’s do some Playoffs.
That’s all I got/