With the 5 finalists for the Heisman trophy announced, there are no surprises who the top 5 are. However, I would prefer to focus on just one of these candidates, Toby Gerhart.
It is obvious, just by glancing at a stat sheet, that Toby Gerhart posts bigger and better number than any of the other Heisman Candidates. It's really not even close as a matter of fact. Let's review them shall we:
26 rushing TD's, tops in the nation
1,736 rush yards, tops in the nation
144.7 rush yards per game, tops in the nation
And as a cherry on top for his Heisman case,
1 for 1 passing for 17 yards and a TD.
Any intelligent fan is aware of Toby's statistical dominance over the Heisman race, but at a glance, here's something many people do not realize. Toby Gerhart actually played tougher run defenses this season that Mark Ingram did. Ingram may have faced Florida, but other than that, Toby faced 5 rushing defenses tougher than the next best rushing defense that Ingram faced.
Here are some very compelling numbers for Toby's Heisman case that I thought I would share with you all. I have these types of numbers for Ingram as well, but his are not nearly as impressive:
USC allows 124.2 Rush yards per game. Toby put up 29 carries 178 rush yards plus 3 TDs.
Arizona St allows 108.6 rush yards per game. Toby's numbers= 27 carries 125 yards plus 1 TD.
Oregon St. allows 114.25 rush yards per game. Toby= 20 carries 90 yards 2 TD's. Not his most impressive, but still a very solid game.
Cal allows 103.3 rush yards per game. Toby= 20 carries 136 yards, 4 TDs.
Arizona allows 100.4 rush yards per game. Toby= 28 carries 123 yards, 2 TDs.
Oregon allows 126.7 rush yards per game. Toby= 37 carries 223 yards, 3 TDs.
Keep in mind, Toby had some much better games than these. However, these games are far more signifcant as these are some of the best rushing defenses in the country.
A common stereotype is placed on the SEC. That is, that they have the best defenses in the country. Well, this is indeed true however there are 3 teams that are far and away better than anyone else in the conference in terms of rush defense: Florida, Alabama, and Georgia.
Obviously, Ingram cannot face his own defense in a game. So right there, one of the three power house defenses in the SEC never faced Ingram. Second, Alabama never played Georgia this season. So two of the three powerhouse defenses in this conference never even played against Ingram. Ingram had it relatively easy among running backs in the SEC.
Now, I'm not taking away anything that Ingram did. His season was still incredible and his performance against Florida will be remembered for decades to come by Bama fans and Florida fans alike. However, his strength of schedule in terms of rushing defense was far easier than most people realize.
Here are Ingram's numbers against the top defenses in the SEC excluding Florida, Georgia and Alabama (obviously):
LSU: 22 carries for 144 yards.... LSU allows 132.9 rush yards, Ingram= 144
Mississippi St: 19 carries 149 yards 2 TD's. Mississippi State allows 146 ryapg, Ingram= 149
Arkansas: 17 carries 50 yards 1 TD. Arkansas allows 150 ryapg, Ingram= 50.
Tennessee: 18 carries 99 yards. Tennesse allows 142.9 ryapg, Ingram = 99.
Notice two things about Ingram's list vs Toby's list. Ingram is not only playing worser rush defenses, but he is also putting up inferior numbers to that of Toby's. Toby puts up more TD's and more rush yards than Ingram.
The only case that people have against Toby in favor of Ingram, is team success. Ingram's team, is undefeated and headed to the National Championship game. Toby's team is 8-4 and headed to the Brut Sun Bowl. Now, while it is fair to say Ingram has superior talent around him compared to Toby, Ingram does get the edge here for beating out Toby by 5 victories and 4 fewer losses.
However, let me bring up this point. This part of the Heisman debate brings me back to the same case the writers use when determining the Cy Young winner. Why award a player for the category he can least control, wins. Or on the flip side, why hurt a player's chances at an award for the category they least control, wins. Toby was in no way at fault for any of his team's losses.
Anyways, people will have what opinions they please, and that is fine with me. I just hope that people make their decisions knowing all the facts.