Robert Griffin III is the clear favorite to win the Heisman, and for good reason, his numbers are flat-out ridiculous (3998 passing yards, 36-6 TD/INT ratio, NCAA -record quarterback rating of 192.3, 644 yards and 9 TDs rushing). But apparently some people don’t find RG3 worthy of the Heisman, or even a spot on the three deep Heisman ballot, for one reason: Baylor isn’t a member of the SEC. Here’s a tweet that radio personality Paul Finebaum sent out this morning:
“Much heat leaving RG3 off my Heisman ballot. Nice player- but SEC defenses would have eaten him alive. Haters get a clue.”
There is so much wrong with this, starting with the fact that someone over the age of 13 used the word “hater.” The SEC has reigned over college football recently. They’ve won the last five BCS National Championships, and the conference is guaranteed a six consecutive title next month as LSU and Alabama will battle for all the Tostitos (or is it Nokia cellphones this year?) next month in New Orleans.
No one will argue the fact that LSU and Alabama have elite defenses. Each squad is loaded with future NFL draft picks, and feature stars like Morris Claiborne, the Honey Badger, Dre Kirkpatrick and Mark Barron. Georgia also rode a strong defense to the SEC East title, and almost every SEC roster features at least a couple future NFL defensive players (well, maybe not 2-10 Ole Miss…).
That said, to claim that Griffin would have gotten eaten alive by SEC defenses is idiotic, uniformed and delusional. Geno Smith, Kellen Moore and the Georgia Southern rushing game all faced off with SEC defenses this season and lived to tell their tales. West Virginia’s Smith put up 486 yards passing on the Bayou Bengals in September. Georgia Southern, of the FCS, rushed for over 300 yards against the Crimson Tide in November. Boise State’s Moore tallied 286 yards and 3 TDs through the air against Georgia in the season opener.
Those are just some of the performances against the SEC’s best defenses, a look at the rest of the SEC reveals a lot of mediocre teams that hardly put any fear in opposing quarterbacks. Defending National Champion Auburn gave up 236 total yards and 2 TDs to Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton in his very first college game. Two weeks later, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd embarrassed the Tigers with a 386 yard, 4 TD performance through the air.
Let’s also not forget that Cam Newton, a QB with similar tools to Griffin, ate up SEC defenses last year on his way to the Heisman. Griffin may not be as talented as Newton, last year’s first overall pick, but Griffin possesses Olympic sprinter speed and a rocket arm and is projected to be a first round pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
The SEC has been home to some great football players and teams over the last decade, but let’s not carried away. The SEC is not home to the 12 best teams in college football every season. Ole Miss was putrid this season, losing to BYU and Louisiana Tech. Kentucky lost to Louisville, Florida struggled to beat FCS Furman, and Auburn needed a great comeback to top Utah State.
All in all, it’s time for Paul Finebaum to get a clue.