Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bear Bryant: Neanderthal

I was in the mood to write about a gross generalization this morning, so G-d bless HeismanPundit for providing me with one. To pile onto the Senator's criticism, this post confirms that HeismanPundit doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to football history. HP claims that other conferences were "opening it up and putting up fancy passing numbers, the SEC (until recently) was content to run off tackle and play defense." If that's true, then HP is apparently talking about the 1980s and onward, which omits the first four decades and changes of the Heisman's existence. I doubt that Notre Dame was "opening it up and putting up fancy passing numbers" when Paul Hornung beat Johnny Majors for the award. I'd love to see HP defend the notion that Woody Hayes was doing so when Archie Griffin won two Heismans.

I'd also be intrigued to hear HP's argument that Bear Bryant's offenses at Alabama were unsophisticated for their times. In the 60s, Bryant produced Joe Namath and Ken Stabler. One might surmise that his offenses at that time were a little more than "run[ning] off tackle and play[ing] defense." In the 70s, Alabama went 103-16-1running the wishbone, which was certainly not a vanilla offense in its day. As a USC fan, maybe HP should research what happened when Bryant unveiled Bama's version of the offense in the Coliseum. Naw, that would involve actual use of research and facts as opposed to pulling a sweeping generalization from his rear end.

Here is the list of the ten winningest programs in college football history, along with the number of Heismans that each program has claimed. See if you can spot a trend:

1. Michigan - 3
2. Notre Dame - 7
3. Texas - 2
4. Oklahoma - 5
5. Ohio State - 7
6. USC - 7
7. Alabama - 0
8. Nebraska - 3
9. Tennessee - 0
10. Penn State - 1

Hmmm, what do the two programs on that list that have never won a Heisman have in common. I can't imagine. I guess Alabama and Tennessee should have thrown the ball around like Nebraska and they too would have three Heisman winners.

Finally, the argument that the Heismans won by Florida, Florida State, and Miami players proves that there is not a bias against players from the Deep South is just wrong because Florida isn't culturally part of the Deep South (or at least large portions of Florida aren't). I don't know if Mike Lupica has a Heisman ballot, but to take him as an example, if you played word association with him and said the word "Florida," he'd probably think of relatives who have retired to Boca Raton. If you said "Alabama" or "Tennessee," the result would be a little different.


Bourbon Dawgwalker said...

As they say, Florida is in the South, but its not a part of the South. Try finding sweet tea in Tampa.

Nice fisting of HP, btw.

chg said...

The fact that Mike Lupica even has a ballot is a problem. My knowledge of the college football landscape probably surpassed his sometime around my 7th grade year, and I was typical for my peer group. Part of the bias problem is the large number of cfb ignorant voters who spend half the season watching MLB and the other half watching snubbed SEC products run rampant through the NFL.