The Dayton Daily News has reported that The Ohio State University has spent in excess of $64,000 on “bow ties and related items” since the fall of 2007 on behalf of University President, Gordon Gee.
Gee, who was the center of criticism for his handling of the Jim Tressel, Terrelle Pryor fiasco, is known for his trademark bow ties.
The newspaper requested various documents from the University nearly a year ago and reports the following:
“Ohio State says the bow ties are props or symbols of the university and its President who expenses a total of $7.7 million in that same period.”
Gee is the country’s highest paid University President and the benefits of holding this title don’t end at his salary as the Daily News reports that millions have been spent for Gee to “travel the globe, throw parties, wine and dine donors, woo prospective faculty, hang out with students and staff and maintain a 9,600 square foot mansion on 1.3 acres.”
Gee has made $8.6M since taking over as President in October of 2007 and he has funneled nearly that much ($7.7M) through the University as expenses as well.
Whether legal or not, this certainly seems to be a bit on the excessive side given the fact that Ohio State is a public University. Not to mention the intense scrutiny the University has been under since the Tressel/Pryor scandal.
Jared Sullinger is the latest of the freshman phenoms recruited by Ohio State Buckeyes Head Coach Thad Matta. Matta has had incredible success in his tenure in Columbus both on the floor as well as on the recruiting circuit. The unbeaten Buckeyes stand poised atop the NCAA landscape at #1 in the country, largely due to Jared Sullinger.
Sullinger has not only been the best player for the #1 team in the country and positioned himself for National Player of the Year consideration, but he has done it the right way. Sullinger, by all accounts, appears to be humble, hardworking, sincere, and despite his young age appears to be a leader on the Buckeye team.
Sure, he is not THE leader on THE Ohio State Buckeyes due to the strong senior leadership that is exhibited by guys like David Lighty and Jon Diebler, but he already exhibits more leadership qualities than Terrelle Pryor likely ever will. Before you get upset with my disdain for Pryor, remember that I am a huge Buckeyes fan and I want the same things you do. I want all Buckeyes teams and players to succeed.
I’ve seen things from Pryor, however, that honestly hurt the team and I personally have no respect for him. Yes, he’s a very young man and he can grow and change. But to this point he hasn’t and he has shown little to signs of improvement in my opinion. I am not a fan of Pryor and you have every right to disagree with me.
I am, however, a huge fan of Jared Sullinger. He assuredly a top 5 pick in the upcoming NBA draft should he choose to declare, he’s the best player on the best team in the Country, and at Ohio State he is literally treated like a god among men. Yet he still remains humble, polite, hardworking, and a great teammate.
For instance, you may have heard the story about the Minnesota fan who taunted Sullinger with a sign during the Buckeyes recent victory over the Golden Gophers. The fan had a sign with a picture of Sullinger wearing lipstick and earrings mocking his rendition of a Miley Cyrus song (video below).
Now, ask yourself how Terrelle Pryor would likely have responded. All you must do is think back to many of his ill-advised tweets and comments responding to criticism last year. But Sullinger approached the young man (Andrew Wagner) and requested the sign from him. The Plain Dealer asked Sullinger why he requested the sign and he said that he wanted to give the sign to his mother, thinking she would “love it, to have it to hang up.”
Wagner later read the story on the Plain Dealer and contacted Sullinger on Twitter. Sullinger responded by mentioning this fan on his account, telling everyone that he liked the sign and asked them to follow the Minnesota fan. The fan was so impressed by Sullinger’s response on the court and on his twitter account that he mailed the sign to him.
Wagner is quoted as saying “He was very classy and professional in dealing with the hostile crowd, he had a good sense of humor about the sign and it was for his mom.”
This is just one example of the class, professionalism, leadership, and decency displayed by Sullinger throughout his short career with the Buckeyes. It’s a shame there aren’t more guys like this in sports and it’s a shame that he will likely only be around for this one season. Hopefully he and the Buckeyes can make it one to remember for many years to come.
It has been a whirlwind week for all those involved in the Ohio State football program, especially the 5 players at the center of the controversy for NCAA violations. The players were found guilty of selling and trading items received from the University in exchange for cash and tattoos in 2009. In a blatant money grab, the NCAA suspended them for 5 games to begin the 2011 season but is allowing them to play in the upcoming Sugar Bowl.
Jim Tressel has left the decision on whether or not these players will suit up for the Sugar Bowl up to the seniors who will vote on the matter. Today at 3:30 PM, all 5 players addressed the media and offered their public apologies. The only real news from the event was Devier Posey’s promise to return for his senior season despite the suspensions.
Ohio State will appeal the suspension as they believe the punishment is far too harsh. Some people in Columbus are already speculating that the suspensions will be reduced from 5 games to 2 or 3 games by the beginning of the next season.
Following the news of significant NCAA violations and suspensions in 2011 for 5 prominent Ohio State players, Head Coach Jim Tressel and Athletic Director Gene Smith sat down almost immediately to address the media. Unfortunately, the “company line” delivered by these two shows us exactly what is wrong with the Ohio State program in my opinion, and on a larger scale, part of what is wrong with NCAA Football.
As you’ll see in the video below and as you may have already heard, the Buckeyes Brass is deferring all responsibility away from the players and they’re placing ALL blame on themselves. Why?
The reason is two-fold, simple, and disingenuous at best.
1. By taking the blame for what their players did and by saying that they didn’t properly educate the players, it gives credence to the verbiage the NCAA included in their ruling. The NCAA stated that part of the reason they allowed the players to participate in the upcoming Sugar Bowl was because the players weren’t educated and they didn’t know they were violating any rules. We all know this is total BS as the NCAA wants to preserve the ratings and revenues for their precious BCS game and maintain their prosperous relationship with Allstate and avoid setting a dangerous precedent that could affect future advertising deals.
But by going along with this BS, Ohio State is hoping to reduce the penalty by demonstrating that the players made a mistake but it wasn’t their fault. I have no idea if they were told about this particular rule or not and I don’t really care. It’s my opinion that it’s a stupid and selfish thing to do regardless of a specific NCAA rule. To sell your Big Ten championship ring and various awards shows the program, your coach and teammates exactly what it means to you. If I were Jim Tressel and the rest of the teammates, I would take this as a significant insult and sign of complete disrespect. Gene Smith tried to justify the actions by saying that they were selling the items to “help their families” which, I’m sorry, I don’t buy. Pryor, for instance, has thousands of dollars worth of tattoos. That money could have been used to help his family if that were the primary concern.
2. The secondary reason for the Buckeyes Brass taking all the heat on this issue is to try to preserve their relationships with the players and increase the odds of the players staying at Ohio State next season. Obviously, if the NCAA reduces the suspensions to 2 games for example, it would improve the chances of convincing the players to stay on for another year. In addition to just the NCAA suspension, taking the heat and publicly defending them should, in theory, gain favor with the players and improve the chances of having them return. Unfortunately, despite his incredible physical talents, I feel the Buckeyes will much better off once he leaves Columbus.
Here is an excerpt of the press conference:
Let me be clear by saying that at this point, this is an unsubstantiated rumor. But it is a rumor, that if true, would be such a substantial occurrence, that I thought it important to mention. Rumors began circulating today that long-time Head Coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Jim Tressel may be coaching his last game at Ohio St. in the Sugar Bowl.
The program was certainly shaken by the recent NCAA violations leading to Terrelle Pryor and 4 other prominent Buckeyes’ suspensions for 5 games in 2011. This is certainly the largest instance of violations during Tressel’s tenure, but it isn’t near the scale of the violations and impending sanctions placed on USC that caused Pete Carroll to bolt for the NFL. For this reason, the rumor is categorized in the doubtful category as far as I’m concerned.
But there are two possibilities that could make this true. The first, as one rumor suggests, is that Tressel will step down but it’s not at all his decision. Jim Tressel has absolutely owned the Big Ten since arriving at Ohio State and he’s won a national championship in the last decade. Assuming the NCAA violations are limited to what we’re already aware of, I couldn’t imagine the University severing ties with “The Vest” over these violations and they certainly couldn’t base it on performance. Despite some issues with Tressel’s play calling, roster decisions, etc., he’s still had incredible success and this year is no different. Any program in the country would love to have a perennial ticket punched to a BCS Bowl game with a legitimate opportunity to win a National Championship.
So that brings me to the second possibility. The only possible reason I could see causing Jim Tressel to step down either voluntarily or involuntarily would involve wide-spread and pervasive NCAA violations on scale with, or worse than what we saw recently with USC. If the NCAA is already sniffing around and Tressel and the University are aware of significant violations which could lead the NCAA to concluding that they lack “Institutional Control”, then it would make perfect sense for Tressel to leave.
If something horrific like this were going on and he or the University sees the writing on the wall, then it would make sense for either side to part ways. I’m certainly not suggesting that this is what’s going on and sure hope it isn’t but one article I read today referenced Ohio State leading the nation in NCAA violations from 2000-2009. Obviously most have been minor and have gone unnoticed, but there would appear to be some issues going on in Columbus if this is accurate.
I’ll keep a close eye on the story (or non-story) as it develops and I’ll update as soon as I hear more.
As you know, Ohio State QB, Terrelle Pryor and 4 of his teammates were suspended for 5 games next season for NCAA rules violations. The NCAA decided to allow them to play in the nationally televised Sugar Bowl to protect it’s revenues, despite finding the violations serious enough to suspend them for nearly half a season.
Today on Colin Cowherd’s radio show, he spoke with Kirk Herbstreit about Terrelle Pryor and these NCAA violations. While I would like to hit Cowherd in the face repeatedly with a board with a rusty nail stuck in it, I thought the interview was interesting. I also typically find Herbstreit to be arrogant, hypocritical, and wouldn’t mind throwing an unopened beer bottle at his grill, but that’s besides the point.
Take a look at the video below and notice some of the comments Herbie offers on Terrelle Pryor. This is not the first time he’s ripped the Buckeye QB either.
Terrelle Pryor has had a rough season after being projected as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He was shut out of the Big Ten post-season awards, let alone any national recognition and he’s made it quite clear that he’s upset about it. Despite the Buckeyes 1 loss season and earning a share of their 6th straight Big Ten Championship, he has been quite displeased. The Buckeyes earned yet another trip to a BCS Bowl game where they will face off against Akransas in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
News came out today from multiple sources that Terrelle Pryor and multiple Buckeye players are involved in potential NCAA violations. Specifically, it is alleged that Pryor and the other players received free tattoos in exchange for autographs from a Columbus tattoo parlor, Fine Line Ink.
Pryor denied the charges on his Twitter account saying “I paid for my tattoos!”
It has been reported that OSU officials are meeting for the second time today to discuss the potential of NCAA violations. Ohio State officials have thus far denied any claims of an NCAA investigation or any wrongdoing by their players. Officials have gone so far as to state that all players are eligible for the Sugar Bowl.
But as we’ve seen, it doesn’t take much for the NCAA to come down hard on a player for something that appears petty and minor even though the NCAA can stand idly by while certain players (past, present and future) will take cash from programs for their services. As we saw, A.J. Green was forced to sit out multiple games for selling an autographed jersey, Dez Bryant lost his entire final season due to his attendance of a party and a USC player was suspended for taking a ride on a golf cart.
There are no details as to the proof obtained thus far or validity of the charges, but I have often wondered myself how these players can afford the dozens of tattoos that many of them have. After all, these are supposed to be scholarship athletes with limited resources. How could they afford thousands upon thousands of dollars for these tattoos? I’m not saying that they traded autographs or Buckeye gear in exchange for them or even that this is limited to Ohio State, because it’s not. But I am saying that they got the money from somewhere or these tattoo artists are awfully generous.
The other Buckeye players implicated are Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, Travis Howard, Jonathan Newsome, Jordan Hall, Chris Fields, and Michael Brewster. Many are key players for the Buckeyes and many are very close friends with Pryor.
I’ll be sure to keep you updated as things progress.
Ohio State Buckeyes QB, Terrelle Pryor has been showered with pre-season accolades and expectations since he arrived in Columbus. The problem, however, is that he has yet to live up to the expectations in his three years at Ohio State. The Big Ten post-season awards were announced yesterday and Terrelle Pryor, despite being voted as the pre-season player of the year, Pryor fell short in the post-season awards.
Michigan QB Denard Robinson was named Offensive Player of the Year and Northwestern QB Dan Persa was named as the 1st team QB. Wisconsin QB, Scott Tolzien was named the 2nd team QB, leaving Terrelle Pryor on the outside looking in.
The Buckeyes lead the Big 10 with ten all-Big Ten selections, but Terrelle Pryor only received honorable mention.
First, let me say that I completely agree with the awards. Pryor has done nothing to warrant to the attention and hype that’s been placed on him. Is that his fault? No. But this is….
In yet another of a rash of immature and whiny comments by the Buckeyes QB, Pryor lets us all know that he’s unhappy with being shut out of the Big Ten awards. Obviously, he’s just whining and won’t really quit, but this just shows you the depth of his immaturity at this point.
Like I said, he has done NOTHING to warrant any sort of accolades and I sincerely hope the Pryor for Heisman BS stops. All year Buckeye fans have been telling me that he deserves an invite to New York.
Look, Pryor is an incredible physical specimen. But he’s an immature, whiny, bratty, child. He has not come close to utilizing his immense talents and until he does, he deserves no such accolades. Each year he’s give pre-season awards as the player of the year (which are asinine by the way) and each year he fails to deliver.
As a fan, I hope he wakes up and grows up and puts his talent to work. But at this point, I don’t see it happening.
Ohio State QB and Heisman hopeful Terrelle Pryor
Ok, I know I’m a little late on this, but hopefully its not TOO outdated to at least get a little interest and conversation going….
It seems each week of the 2010 College Football season has allowed for some great opportunities for Heisman hopefuls to either rise or fall in the eyes of fans and voters throughout the country and week 6 was no different. In each of the preceding weeks, someone has either jumped into the conversation, strengthened or maintained their position, or put up a dud of a performance and dropped out of the picture (at least for now).
Last week’s frontrunner and electrifying QB for the Michigan Wolverines, Denard Robinson ran into his first true test of the young season against the Michigan St. Spartans. If you are a regular reader or take a look at previous Heisman Watch posts, you’ll see that I have put great stock into Denard’s ability, but have been a bit skeptical due to the level of competition. Not just the weak teams Michigan has played, but the ridiculously awful defenses he has been faced up against. Against Michigan St., though, he and his team would have a legitimate opportunity to show the country and the rest of the Big 10 just how good they really were.
While I still think Denard is one of the most exciting and talented players in the country, to be fair he doesn’t have a great supporting cast around him and that is partially what makes his production so impressive as he is literally ALL they have on offense. Without Robinson, Michigan would likely have won just a game or two this season. Unfortunately for him, though, most Heisman winners are on good to great teams who are in contention for a BCS game throughout the season. This past week, he and the Wolverines ran into a buzzsaw that goes by the name of the Spartans.
The Wolverines were handled and the solid Spartan defense gave Robinson fits all night, forcing him into 3 interceptions. His talent was still on display, but as I predicted, when faced with a strong defense he wouldn’t put up the xbox numbers and he would struggle. For the day he completed just under 60% of his passes for 215 yards, 1 TD and 3 INT. He also rushed 21 times for 86 yards (WELL below his average for yards/carry on the year) and 1 TD. While this performance and loss won’t knock him completely out of the race, it is certainly a sign of things to come and gave us a preview of what to expect the rest of the way. He will be very exciting, but will be significantly slowed down against the better defenses and I’ll be surprised if he stays relevant in the Heisman conversation towards the end of the November.
We all know Mark Ingram started this season at a disadvantage to repeat as Heisman Trophy winner due to the injury that forced him to sit out for the first two games. But after bolting back onto the scene with strong performances and literally CARRYING his team to victory, on the road, against a tough Arkansas team, it has been my opinion that he was back in the discussion. While his season stats were certainly less than impressive due to losing two games, he came up huge in a big game, is the star player on the then #1 and undefeated Crimson Tide. Not to mention, playing in the SEC would give him plenty of opportunities to make his presence felt in the Heisman picture.
For the past few weeks, Alabama has played more top notch opponents than most teams in the nation play on their entire schedule. After knocking off Arkansas, they absolutely crushed the highly ranked, but highly overrated Florida Gators and looked to be unbeatable. The ‘Ol Ball Coach down in South Carolina had something to say about that though as the Game Cocks actually handled #1 Alabama for much of the game. While they were able to get back into the game and give themselves an outside shot at a comeback, it wasn’t due to Ingram. For the game he had 11 carries for 41 yards and no TDs giving him a 3.7 yard/carry average for the game which was significantly below his season average.
South Carolina has a very underrated defense and their speed, quickness, physicality, and great defensive scheming was on full display. There were enough things working against Ingram repeating as Heisman Trophy winner including the fact that only one player has ever accomplished this feat, he missed two games early in the season, and he splits carries with another dynamic RB. With all these marks against him, he would need strong performances in every big game for the rest of the year and his team would need to stay in the BCS hunt. While I think ‘Bama will get back into the title hunt, Ingram struggled for the last couple weeks and he was essentially shut down by South Carolina. This is likely the death blow to his Heisman run.
With similar obstacles to his Heisman chances as Ingram, James was largely ignored for the few weeks of the season due to an early season suspension. Once returning from his suspension he has been nothing short of amazing and just might be the best RB in the nation so far this year. He is only behind Denard Robinson for rushing yards this season with 848 yards and 9 TDs with a 7.4 yard/carry average. He is also a dangerous receiving back out of the backfield and while he has been used sparingly in this role, he had an 84 yard reception last week for a TD. There are only a handfull of players in the nation that can truly break a game wide open with one touch of the football and LaMichael James is certainly one of them.
The knock on James, for me, has been very similar to that on Denard Robinson as Oregon opened up the 2010 season with horrendous competition. And while they did what they were supposed to, blowing these teams out, no one could tell just how good they and James really were due to the poor competition. The Ducks and James answered loudly in their marquee matchup against Stanford as James ran for 257 yards and 3 TDs as they routed Stanford. Last week, James was impressive yet again against an overmatched Washington State team running for 136 yards and 2 TDs and adding the 84 yard TD reception. Oregon is one of the hottest teams in the country and are getting a lot of hype from the media. This should help James’ hopes for staying in the Heisman race.
Ohio St. fans and people all around Ohio have long believed that Pryor has been the Heisman front runner since the beginning of the season. Hell, since the Rose Bowl performance against Oregon in January. While I think he’s one of the most impressive physical specimens in college football, I have not yet seen enough out of Pryor to consider him the Heisman front runner. Maybe it’s just that he is SO physically gifted and he never seems to live up to his potential, but I have rarely come away from a game feeling fulfilled or completely impressed with TP2. Despite weak competition (excluding Miami), Pryor’s stats have been, in my opinion, average.
Pryor has a passer rating of 170, has passed for 1,349 yards and 15 TDs with only 3 INT. He is equally (if not more) dangerous with his legs running for 392 yards and 3 TDs. While for anyone else, on any other team, these would be ridiculous numbers. But Pryor isn’t just any player and he plays for the THE Ohio State Buckeyes. It may be unfair, but given the incredibly talented team he plays on and given his superior athletic gifts, I expect more out of him. If you look at him on the field, he is bigger, stronger, faster, and more talented than any other skill player on the field. He is truly a man among boys and there is NO reason that he doesn’t pass for at least 200 yards and run for 100 yards EACH AND EVERY GAME. In fairness, there are some contributing factors that have held Pryor back so far in his career and this season.
The first, and most damaging is his own head coach. No one can argue with Tressel’s success at Ohio State as he’s won countless Big 10 titles, has experienced tremendous success against the hated Wolverines and has won a National Championship. But I watch every single Ohio St. game and have done so for years. There is no question that while THE VEST is an incredible leader, recruiter, and coach, he is often small in big games and is detrimental to his team and his players with his play calling. Tressel apologists will say that this style of conservative play is the reason for his success and to some degree they are correct. But it is clearly evident that his horrific play calling has cost the Buckeyes several big games and probably at least one more National Championship. No don’t get me wrong, Sean Payton himself could not have called the right combination of plays to help Ohio St. beat Florida in that BCS debacle as the Buckeyes were just overmatched. But The Vest’s play calling has undoubtedly cost them in games where they are clearly the superior team. He has also significantly stunted the growth of his QB and on in very rare circumstances has he taken the handcuffs off him.
The other factor contributing to Pryor’s performance and numbers is his quad injury for the last couple games and even though it’s not serious, it has forced him and Tressel to be just cautious enough to hold Pryor back even more. As if THE VEST needs a reason! With all that being said, Pryor’s performance is certainly not all on The Vest. Pryor lacks some fundamental skills that will certainly hold him back at the next level, but also hurt his performance at Ohio St. where given his talent, he should dominate every game. Pryor is not a pure passer by any stretch of the imagination and the deep ball, which is supposed to be one of his strengths, is horrible. Surprisingly, his short to intermediate passes are actually not that bad, but he has been wildly inaccurate with his deep ball missing wide open WR’s or severely under-throwing them allowing DB’s to catch up.
Bottom-line… Pryor has not been good enough to win a Heisman. He hasn’t lived up to his potential at all as he’s clearly the best player on the field every week. It’s not all his fault, but enough of it is his fault for me to be disappointed and unfulfilled for the 3rd straight year of the Pryor era. He will stay in the Heisman race because of who he is and who he plays for, and he will have opportunities to pull away from the pack. I personally don’t see it happening as I think he’ll continue to play inconsistently and while he’ll be good enough to get an invite to NY, I don’t see him winning without significant improvement. That being said, he had a dominate game against Indiana passing for 330 yards and 3 TD’s. The type of game he needs to have more often to bring home the hardware.
With Auburn being of the surprise unbeatens in the SEC, Cam Newton has been strong and jumped onto the Heisman scene for the past few weeks. He has been impressive passing for 1,138 yards, 12 TDs and 5 INTs and he has rushed for 672 yards with 9 TDs. He has been incredible this year and if not for limited time in some blowouts, his numbers would be even better. Against Kentucky last week, Cam threw for 210 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT but ran for 198 yards and 4 TDs. He will have plenty of opportunities to continue to shine as he navigates through the SEC and if Auburn can stay relevant, he’ll have a great chance at an invite to NY if not more. With Ryan Mallett and Mark Ingram, who knew that the leading Heisman candidate in the SEC through week 6 would be Cam Newton!?
The Nebraska QB was on my early Heisman lists and his strong performances have landed him back onto the national scene and with Nebraska continuing to win, he has a real shot here. After struggling with South Dakota St., a team Martinez should dominate, he was back on full display against Kansas St. Martinez only threw 7 passes, completing 5 of them for 128 yards and a TD, but he ran for 241yards and 4 TDs.
Martinez has been one of the most impressive players in the country and he’s a freshman! As Nebraska is trying to regain their national prominence, Martinez will provide them with explosive offense for many years to come. He’s certainly not a polished passer to say the least, but his running skills are incredible. If he continues to succeed and Nebraska continues to win, he’ll be in the conversation to stay. There is no chance he’ll win the Heisman this year as a freshman with so many other strong contenders, but he can position himself strongly for next year if he continues to perform.
Each week, from now until the end of the season, I’ll review the leading Heisman candidates and their “Heisman Stock”. Week four in College Football offered unbelievable opportunities for some Heisman candidates to catapult themselves into the top few spots, or to plummet to the bottom of the pack.
Ryan Mallett: With perhaps the biggest stage of the week for any Heisman hopeful, Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas Razorbacks faced off with the defending National Champions and #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Through the first few weeks of the young season, Ryan Mallett had been, well…. incredible. He lead the nation in passing yards/game with a 360 yard average and proved to be a QB that could be relied upon in the clutch, leading his team to a game winning drive in the closing seconds against Georgia. What better stage for Mallett to show the world (and NFL scouts) what he’s made of than against the #1 ranked Crimson Tide.
There were some questions about the Tide defense coming in as they had 9 new starters this year. No one can deny the ‘Bama athleticism and talent on the defense or Nick Saban’s complex defensive schemes, but the youth and inexperience offered Mallett a tremendous opportunity to shine. For the first 3 quarters yesterday, this inexperience was painfully apparent as Mallett absolutely carved up the ‘Tide defense. Through the first 3 quarters, Mallett looked like an eventual invite to New York for the presentation of the Heisman was all but guaranteed. He completed 75% of his passes for 313 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and a passer rating of 173.5. His size, arm strength, command of the offense, touch, and poise were in full display.
As the 3rd quarter started winding down, however, and into the 4th quarter, the ‘Bama defense looked to be gaining confidence, momentum and were becoming more aggressive. I’m not quite sure if they just became more confident and comfortable with the Arkansas offense as the game went on, or if Nick Saban made some incredible adjustments, or both. Either way, however, the 4th quarter would prove to be disastrous for Ryan Mallett and his Heisman hopes (at least for now). The final 4th quarter stats would read as follows: 40% completion for 44 yards, 2 INT, no TD, and a passer rating of 37. Perhaps more damning than the statline in crunch time, is the timing of some of the poor plays and decisions. As ‘Bama started to gain more and more momentum and started to take control of the game with their tremendous ground game, it was clear that Mallett would need to be outstanding in order for the Razorbacks to hold on. Each time Arkansas needed to make a play, however, Mallett answered with an ill-timed interception, the final of which lead to ‘Bama running out the clock with a 4 point comeback win. Including the Alabama game, he has passed for 1,438 yards, 10 TD’s, 5 INT’s and has a passer rating of 173.
Mark Ingram: On the other side from Ryan Mallet, was 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and the Crimson Tide. Ingram’s early season injury dampened his chances at joining Buckeyes RB Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner as he was forced to sit out the first two games of the season. With an extremely impressive debut to the 2010 season against Duke last week, Ingram appeared to be in mid-season form. There were already questions about Ingram’s ability to repeat as Heisman winner before the injury, due to the very talented Trent Richardson who he splits carries with. With Ingram missing for the first two games of the season, Richardson filled in and the offense didn’t miss a beat. Some argue that this diminished Ingram’s importance to the team and therefore his ability to repeat.
Ingram and Richardson were definitely a handful for the Arkansas defense as they continually broke tackle after tackle. It’s still a concern though, that Richardson will take too many touches away from Ingram for him to be able to repeat. In a huge SEC game, where McElroy was struggling, the defense was struggling, and #1 ranked Alabama was behind for much of the game, I think we got our answer. Ingram finished the game with 24 carries for 157 yards and 2 TD’s which included a 54 yard TD run as well as 2 catches for 27 yards. The more impressive aspect, in my opinion, however, had nothing to do with statistics. When the chips were down, and when ‘Bama needed a tough first down, they turned to Ingram. Time and time again, when everyone in the stadium knew Ingram was getting the ball, they either handed it off to him or snapped it directly to him in the wildcat and Ingram was unstoppable. I don’t think I saw the first man bring him down all day as he broke countless tackles and converted on key 3rd down conversions. Saban and Alabama were basically carried to victory on Mark Ingram’s shoulders. I think it’s safe to say that he recovered from the slow start of the 2010 season. In two games, he has 33 carries for 308 yards, 10 TD’s and a 9.3 yard/carry average.
With a strong performance earlier in the season against Miami (FL), Pryor kept his name in the mix for Heisman consideration. Although the competition other than Miami has been inferior, Pryor has shown improved pocket presence, decision making, and poise in leading the offense. As the fastest player on the team, running an electronically timed 4.3 40 yard dash, and at 6’6″ 235 lbs., Pryor is a threat on any snap. This week against the overmatched Eastern Michigan program, Pryor did what he is supposed to do against a team like that. Dominate. He finished 20-26 for 224 yards and 4 passing TD’s, 7 rushing attempts for 104 yards including a 53 yard TD run, and 1 TD reception. The Junior phenom has passed for 939 yards, 10 TD’s, 2 INT and has a passer rating of just over 167. He has also rushed for 269 yards and 3 TD’s. While I love the Buckeyes, at this point, Pryor has done enough to stay in the Heisman discussion, but has not been “Heisman Good”. He’ll need strong performances against the stronger in-conference competition to stay relevant in the discussion.
Denard Robinson: With ridiculous, xbox type stats in the first 3 games for Michigan against porous, and overmatched defenses, the biggest question coming into the game against Bowling Green was just how many yards Robinson could rack up. Robinson was again impressive, but had a shortened work day due to a minor knee injury. In less than a quarter of work, Robinson went 4-4 for 60 yards with 0 TD’s and 0 INT’s and had 5 carries for 129 yards and 2 TD’s. He looked to be the fastest player on the field and in his abbreviated play, made Bowling Green defenders look silly on more than one occasion. The biggest question for Michigan and Robinson as we enter Big 10 play is whether he can keep up his incredible play against much bigger, faster, athletic, and better defenses. Another concern for this Heisman hopeful is whether he can hold up to the beating of Big 10 play for an entire season as Michigan has few other weapons and he has essentially carried the team through their first 4 games. Robinson has 731 passing yards with 4 TD’s and 1 INT with a 162 passer rating. More impressively, he has 79 carries for 688 yards and 6 TD’s on the year. If he can continue to rack up these incredible numbers, he will stay in the Heisman conversation up until the very end.
Kellen Moore: Standout QB from #3 ranked and apparent ESPN darling Boise St. is on my list for two reasons:
- He’s the star QB on a top 5 team that has a good chance to go undefeated now that they’ve made it through their early season gauntlet including games against Virginia Tech and Oregon St. A common formula including Heisman winners includes an undefeated team or one that is in real contention to play in the BCS Title game, a QB, and someone that the “Bristol Brainwashers” are in love with.
- Which brings me to my second point. If it wasn’t obvious enough thus far through the season that ESPN has an obviously intense man-crush on Boise St. and Kellen Moore, then it became crystal clear listening to the telecast last night by Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit. For anyone who doesn’t know, the force-feeding marketing conglomerate that is Disney, owns ABC and ESPN. ESPN has long since lost its credibility and independence as a reputable member of the media in my opinion, but it has become even worse since they were acquired by Disney. For those who were able to listen closely in between smurf turf induced seizures last night, the broadcast team was openly GUSHING over Boise St. and Kellen Moore and they were overtly disappointed any time Oregon St. made a good play. This, coming from Herby the Hypocrite who abstains from making his weekly picks on College GameDay for the games in which he calls. Sure, Herby, wouldn’t want you to appear biased or anything!
I’m not overly impressed with Boise St. or Kellen Moore for that matter, especially after their struggles to beat Oregon St. last night. Boise St. should be very thankful that the Beavers play NO DEFENSE whatsoever or they would’ve been in some serious trouble. But given the points above, and that Boise St. will likely be undefeated this season, Kellen Moore will probably at least get an invite to New York for the Heisman presentation. For the year, Moore has thrown for 873 yards and 8 TD’s with 1 INT and has a passer rating of 168. Against Oregon St., their second and only real test of the season, he threw for 288 yards and 3 TD’s with 0 INT and had a passer rating of 197. Good numbers, against a PAC 10 team with a ridiculously awful defense. Either way, he is sure to stay in the conversation.
- Cam Newton, Auburn (5 TD’s against a good South Carolina defense)
- LaMichael James, Oregon (Averaging 9 yds/carry with 4 TD’s on the year against weak opponents)
- Andrew Luck, Stanford (He’s the trendy choice for best NFL prospect but had a less than stellar performance against a poor Notre Dame defense throwing for 238 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT’s)
- Taylor Martinez, Nebraska (He has passed for over 500 yards with 2 TD’s and 3 INT’s and more impressively he has run for 497 yards and 8 TD’s. This week against South Dakota St. however, his production was significantly down.