Anti-Georgia Bias: Mel Tucker Should be a Broyles Award Finalist

Yesterday, I got this email:


I get a bunch of crap like this from back when people thought I was in the “media.” I ignore most of it. But what struck me here was the absence of Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. You see, the Broyles award goes to the top assistant coach in the country. You’ve probably heard of it because it’s something of a “who’s who” of future head coaches. Past recipients are some of the most well-known (and occasionally, most successful) head coaches in all of football—Gus Malzahn, Lincoln Riley, Tom Herman, Pat Narduzzi, Gene Chizik, Randy Shannon, Mark Mangino, David Cutcliffe, etc. Georgia’s Kirby Smart won it as an assistant at Alabama back in 2009.

But Mel Tucker didn’t make the cut as a finalist this year. Two defensive coordinators did: Kevin Steele (Auburn) and Jim Leonhard (Wisconsin). So how does Tucker’s unit stack up to those two? Well, that’s interesting, because he looks pretty damn good.

Category Georgia (National Rank) Wisconsin (National Rank) Auburn (National Rank)
Points Allowed Per Game 13.8 (5) 12.0 (1) 16.4 (9)
Yards Allowed Per Game 272 (4) 237 (1) 309 (13)
Passing Yards Allowed Per Game 159.4 (3) 156.4 (2) 183.0 (17)
Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game 112.5 (12) 80.5 (1) 125.8 (21)

On a raw, un-adjusted basis, Georgia is better at defense than Auburn. The Bulldogs are allowing fewer points, fewer yards, fewer passing yards and fewer rushing yards.

This gets even more interesting when you account for level of competition. Wisconsin’s 12.0 points allowed per game is impressive. But, it’s a little bit less stellar given that on average Badger opponents (FBS only) are averaging just 25.8 points per game throughout the entire season. For context: 25.8 points per game would rank 84th in the nation (so that’s like Michigan or Kentucky’s offense). Put bluntly: the teams Wisconsin holds to low scoring totals don’t score a lot to begin with. Georgia’s opponents (FBS only) are averaging 29 points per game and Auburn’s foes are averaging 32.7. Those averages would rank 63rd and 36th respectively. So what’s that mean?

  • Wisconsin is allowing 46.44% of its opponents’ season-long scoring averages.
  • Georgia is allowing 47.65% of its opponents’ season-long scoring averages.
  • Auburn is allowing 50.21% of its opponents’ season-long scoring averages.
  • Wisconsin and Auburn have a Broyles finalist. Georgia does not.


The same pattern holds on a total yardage basis. Wisconsin’s FBS opponents are averaging 365.1 yards per game (if it we an individual offense, this would rank 97th nationally). In blunt terminology: the offenses that Wisconsin stifles week-in and week-out basically suck. For further context, only two of Wisconsin’s 12 opponents rank in the nation’s Top 60 in offensive yards per game. Auburn’s FBS foes are averaging 431.2 yards per game. If this were a single team it would rank 37th nationally. Auburn has played eight Top-60 offenses as measured by yards per game. Georgia’s opponents averaged 394.6 yards per game. This would rank 70th nationally. Georgia has played five Top-60 offenses by this measure. So what are the takeaways?

  • Wisconsin is allowing 64.92% of its opponents’ season-long averages for yards per game.
  • Georgia is allowing 68.92% of its opponents’ season-long averages for yards per game.
  • Auburn is allowing 71.66% of its opponents’ season-long averages for yards per game.
  • Wisconsin and Auburn have a Broyles finalist. Georgia does not.


Georgia’s defense, which ranks fifth in points allowed per game and fourth in total defense, is at a minimium comparable to Wisconsin. As such, Mel Tucker should, like Jim Leonhard, be considered for the Broyles Award. Further, Georgia’s defense is better than Auburn’s defense on an absolute and opponent-adjusted basis. It seems like Tucker should be ahead of Kevin Steele on the list.

To be sure, Auburn beat Georgia a few weeks ago, but all of the data above includes that matchup. And as Auburn fans will be quick to point out now that they want to distance themselves from two early losses, the season is more than just a game or two.


That’s all I got/


About dudeyoucrazy

College Football Writer

Posted on November 28, 2017, in Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: