Round 1 is in the books, folks. Before moving on to Round 2, let's take a look back at how things have played out so far:
Julio Jones (86%) left Courtney Upshaw (13%) in his dust;
Mark Ingram (83%) stiff-armed C.J. Mosley (16%);
Trent Richardson (90%) trucked Dont'a Hightower (9%);
Barrett Jones (88%) pancaked Marcell Dareus (11%);
AJ McCarron (91%) went deep on Andre Smith (8%);
Javier Arenas (64%) returned it for a touchdown against Mark Barron (35%);
Of the eight matchups in Round 1, the favorites won seven - only Javy was able to pull off the upset. That's probably why they're called "favorites." Not a single defensive player came away with a win over an offensive player - the only two defensive players to make it into this Elitest of Eight did so by defeating other defensive players, and the only offensive player who failed to advance was undone by another offensive player.
What does this mean? Regardless of our rote recitation of the revered refrain "defense wins championships," are well all truly point-happy 12'ers (whether PAC or Big) at heart? Or does the very nature of offensive plays, with their potentially greater opportunity for individual visibility, favor that side of the ball in this sort of contest? Where is that inflection point where the popularity of offensive players in microcosm is overwhelmed by our apparent preference for defense in macrocosm? How does one explain the success of offensive linemen, who are generally only highlighted when they do something wrong? Or is everyone simply voting for the player who is, in their opinion, "greater?"
You tell me.
Now it's on to Round 2, where we will separate the wheat from the... slightly less popular wheat.
Round #2, Match #10
Mark Ingram, RB
Photo credit: Chris Graythen
1,992 Yards in a single season- 2009
Career all purpose yards- 3,976 Mark Ingram 2008-10 (3,261 rushing, 670 receiving, 45 kickoff returns)
Yards in a single game- 246 vs South Carolina (24 att .) Oct . 17, 2009
Yards in a single season- 1,658 (271 att ) 2009
Career 5.7 yards per carry
12 100 yard rushing games from 2008-10
Career 276 points on 46 TDs
Touchdowns in a career- 42 from 2008-10
MOST 100-YARD GAMES IN A SINGLE SEASON- 9 in 2009
Rolando McClain, LB
Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson
274 tackles (139 solo)
31.5 tackles for a loss
5 interceptions, returned for 73 yards (14.60 yards per return)
1 fumble recovery, returned 4 yards (4.00 yards per return) for a touchdown
1 forced fumble
21 passes defended
#13 (tie) in terms of tackles in a season (105; 2009 - will be #14 in next year's book, since C.J. Mosley had 107 in 2012)
#10 in terms of tackles in a career (275)
Butkus Award (2009)
Lambert Award (2009)
Unanimous 1st Team All-American (2009)
1st Team All-SEC (2008, 2009)
SEC Defensive Player of the Year (2009)
#8 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.