What the Deuce: First The Captaincy, Then the Herbies

Monday, August 27, 2007

First The Captaincy, Then the Herbies

I moved to Miami three years ago and the first part of Miami life that I became accustomed to was the weather - December no longer meant winter coats and scraping windshields, but instead, going to the beach to watch girls wearing tiny bikinis. Still, because of the lack of seasons, it never feels like football season. Growing up in the midwest, Michigan football started when the weather was hot, continued in full swing as the leaves changed color and the temperature dropped, and ended, hopefully, with a win on a freezing January day.

When I was at home a couple of weeks ago, I felt football season - a little brisk in the morning, comfortable in the morning, and sweltering in the afternoon. Not so in Miami - hot in the morning, afternoon, and at night. When I came back to Miami, it didn't feel like football anymore. In fact, the season seemed so far away. So when I saw a preview for Michigan's game against Appalachian State, I was reminded that the college football New Year is only 3 days away and Michigan's first game is only 5 days away.

One of columns I enjoy reading at the start of every year is Kirk Herbstreit's Herbie Awards - a celebration of "the players, coaches and color and pageantry of
[college football]." In the 7th incarnation of the awards, Michigan's program makes multiple appearances:

Best RB - Veterans: Mike Hart (#4 behind Darren McFadden, Steve Slaton, and Ray Rice)

Best WR - Speed to Burn:
Mario Manningham (#5 behind DeSean Jackson, Early Doucet, Malcolm Kelly, and Limas Sweed)

Dream Offensive Line: Jake Long (Sam Baker is the other tackle)

Head Coaches in Waiting: Ron English (#7 behind Bo Pelini (LSU), Steve Sarkisian (USC), Paul Chryst (Wis), Kevin Steele ('Bama), Jimbo Fisher (FSU), and John McNulty (Rutgers))

Other notable praise for Michigan - Jake Long is on the All-Uni Team and Herbie ranks Michigan's band the 3rd best in the country behind Ohio State's and Wisconsins.

I wasn't surprised by the inclusions but was surprised by the omissions, including Chad Henne from the list of the top traditional drop-back passers (Brohm, Booty, Brennan, Woodson (KY), Ryan (BC), and Longshore) and Mike DeBord from Herbie's list of favorite playcallers (who keep the defense off balance).

Now, I don't know what criteria Herbstreit used in making these lists, but Henne has to be on the list of drop back passers. Just look at the career numbers for each of the QB's listed (courtesy ESPN.com):

Henne 666 1109 60 7.01 70 28 SR
Booty 296 478 62 7.69 32 11 SR
Longshore 235 388 61 8.12 25 14 JR
Ryan 419 693 60 6.94 25 18 SR
Woodson 464 760 61 7.44 39 14 SR
Brennan 756 1074 70 9.17 93 25 JR
Brohm 472 712 66 9.48 41 12 SR

The numbers are slightly skewed in Henne's favor because of two major factors - lack of injuries and games started. Only Brennan started as a freshman and sophomore and Brohm suffered an elbow injury during his junior year. Even taking these factors into consideration, Henne compares favorably with the QBs on Herbstreit's list. The biggest knock against Henne is that he has never won a Bowl Game or beaten Ohio State, but Henne performed very well in those 6 games. Needless to say, it's odd that Henne isn't on this list.

Finally, Herbie picks Penn State to win the Big Ten citing their favorable schedule and only major road game being in Ann Arbor. Apparently, Penn State's defense will make up for their terrible offense in leading the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten title.


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