Happy Monday, everyone. The Heisman Trophy was awarded on Saturday, and it did not go to the best player on the stage. One voter, Tom Fornelli, was good enough to explain his reasoning.
In the end, I had to look for other deciding factors, and while I’ve felt recency bias plays too large a role in Heisman balloting (and many other awards as well as rankings), the one significant distinction between the two came down to how they performed at the biggest moments.
I did the same math for Murray in his two games against Texas, as well as the West Virginia game. For Tagovailoa, I looked at his performances against LSU, Auburn, and Georgia in the SEC Championship. This is where the clear separation became evident.
Uh, Tom? I appreciate your full disclosure here, as most are unwilling. My problem is that nowhere in your decision making process did you mention that West Virginia and Texas were #100 and #113 in passing yards allowed while Mississippi State, Georgia, and LSU are #6, #15, and #43 in that metric. Even worse, Tua’s three named opponents are all in the top five in the country in passing defense according to S&P+. Texas and West Virginia? #53 and #60, respectively. Seriously, Tom, how do you think the two performances would have looked had the opponents been reversed? You don’t have to answer, you’ll find out on December 29 when Kyler faces the #7 pass defense and Tua gets #91.
This is the problem with college football media nowadays: defense is an afterthought. It doesn’t matter that Murray’s “biggest moments” came against defenses that are better suited for the MAC than a Power Five league, only that he had better stats. Raw stats are a terrible way to measure a player or a team. Guess which QB leads the #1 passing offense in the nation according to S&P+? Hint: it ain’t Kyler. Opponent adjustments can be a real killer, eh?
Kyler Murray left the SEC to play against far lesser competition, and sportswriters rewarded him for it with the most prestigious individual award the sport has to offer. Nice job, Oklahoma. Whose QB are you going to bum for next season? Whoever it is, go ahead and book his flight to NYC. You’re two-for-two on Rent-a-Heismans.
Oh, and Alabama’s football marketing department should be utterly ashamed of themselves for failing Tua. I received an email promo from Oklahoma’s marketing director last Sunday titled “The Case for Kyler” with stats from both Kyler and Tua, and of course they were incredibly close. I can only assume that it went out to the entire FWAA mailing list. Maybe, just maybe somebody in Tuscaloosa should have gotten off their asses and put the opponent adjusted metrics in front of some eyeballs.
The good news, of course, is that Alabama players are angry about the snub. May it fuel a beatdown.
Moving on, it was a fantastic weekend for recruiting.
The Crimson Tide was busy on the recruiting trail overall last week. Nick Saban and his assistant coaches fanned out across the country to visit recruits. Here is what several prospects posted on Twitter about their visits
Really good stuff here as the commits were beaming about Dax Hill and Scooby Carter joining their class. Five-star OT Pierce Quick has been a monster recruiter for us. Fellow in-state five-star prospect Clay Webb is set to announce today at 10am, but I’m not optimistic. Clay’s mother Dana, a phys ed teacher at Oxford High where Clay attends, is from the metro Atlanta area and the bulk of her family still lives there. Her sister lives in Athens and both she and her husband graduated from Georgia. Dana has spoken glowingly about Georgia and particularly OL coach Sam Pittman lately. Luckily, Webb has become a luxury in this class with Quick in the fold along with Amari Kight, Tanner Bowles and Darrian Dalcourt plus the likely signing of either Evan Neal or Kendall Wright. All are blue chip OL prospects.
Speaking of blue chip prospects, this season could have been derailed with the injury to Trevon Diggs if not for the emergence of Patrick Surtain II.
For Surtain, the decision to choose the Crimson Tide over longtime favorite LSU came down to the eleventh hour. It was such an important choice that it left him in tears the night before.
But standing in a locker room filled with teammates celebrating an SEC Championship, knowing that his team was — without a doubt — advancing to the College Football Playoff, Surtain was more than content with his decision.
“That’s why I chose to come here,” Surtain said, “to play in big-time games like this.”
That’s a damn fine reason, Patrick, and you’ll be a high first rounder soon enough.
Elsewhere, Georgia Tech hired Temple head coach Geoff Collins, so of course Alabama’s assistants are mentioned for the Temple job.
A non-Temple source familiar with the situation said that Ohio State associate head coach/defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and Alabama co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis have expressed interest in the Owls job.
Look, we know that everybody wants a branch of the Saban coaching tree. We ain’t selfish around here.
Y’all can have Butch.
The Saban tree will be on full display in.... The Redbox Bowl? That’s a thing?
Mark Dantonio and Mario Cristobal share roots, even though they don’t exactly intertwine.
They both come from Nick Saban’s coaching tree, nearly 20 years apart. And the connections and shared philosophies — while not direct or duplicated — will be on display when Dantonio’s Michigan State football team faces Cristobal and Oregon in the Redbox Bowl on Dec. 31 (3 p.m., Fox).
This is an outstanding historical from Creg Stephenson.
AL.com spoke with more than 20 of Trammell’s teammates, and others who knew him for this series, in hopes of capturing the too-brief life but long-lasting legacy of the man legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant once called “the favorite person of my entire life.” Bryant wrote those words in “Bear,” his 1975 autobiography, but his admiration for Trammell was evident long before that.
“Ain’t no doubt,” said Bay Minette attorney Red Wilkins, an end on Alabama’s 1961 national championship team who later advised Bryant on legal matters. “Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Alabama — wherever he was, ain’t no doubt his favorite player was Pat Trammell.”
Do yourself a favor and give it a read.
Last, Kenyan Drake and Amari Cooper were out here walking it off yesterday.
KENYAN DRAKE. FOR THE WIN. pic.twitter.com/mWcSQQ9GPP— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 9, 2018
RT to celebrate the #DallasCowboys get the HUGE WIN! @amaricooper9 for the OT TD pic.twitter.com/NCk5tXeMxr— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) December 10, 2018
It was a quiet day for Drake until that moment, only six carries for 24 yards. All Coop did was catch ten balls for 217 yards and became the first player in NFL history to catch three separate go-ahead TDs in the fourth quarter or overtime. Dak Prescott got to watch him from the sideline in Starkville. Throwing to him has to be much better.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.