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Willisms

« Pundit Roundtable | WILLisms.com | Quotational Therapy: Part 58 -- Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" Speech. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 215 -- Vince Young Versus Reggie Bush.

The Heisman Trophy Race-

Okay, trash talk time.

The Heisman trophy is college football's most prestigious award. For that matter, it's about the most significant individual award anyone can win in pretty much any sport. It typically goes to the best player, perhaps the team MVP, of one of the top 5-10 or so teams in the country. The recipient, often a quarterback or running back, typically has the following on his resume:

I. explosive signature highlight or two;
II. an accumulation of eye-opening season statistics;
III. great individual-game effort(s) against top competition;
IV. a career of excellence (typically, the winner is a junior or senior in college);
V. a pattern of off-the-field success of some kind, academically or otherwise;
VI. leadership, other intangibles.

Texas Quarterback Vince Young (a junior) is unquestionably the best player in college football and the only serious candidate worthy of the Heisman trophy. USC all-purpose dynamo Reggie Bush (also a junior) is certainly fun to watch, and he's definitely important to his team, but his prodigious and ubiquitous Heisman hype in the media is entirely unwarranted.

First, a lot of NFL teams are drooling over the idea of drafting Reggie Bush next April. He's an excellent athlete and a great football player.

But he's no Vince Young.

Sure, it's difficult to compare statistics of athletes who play different positions (Bush plays five positions-- sort of-- while Young plays one), but let's give it a go. Both players have competed in 10 games, so that helps a little.

RUSHING-

Reggie Bush
140 carries for 1104 yards (7.89 per carry), 11 touchdowns, and 110.40 yards per game.

Vince Young
117 carries for 774 yards (6.62 per carry), 8 touchdowns, and 77.40 yards per game.

For reference, Reggie Bush is ranked #19 in the country in rushing yards per game. Vince Young, not a running back, is ranked #58 in the country.


PASSING-

Reggie Bush
0 out of 2 (00.00% completion rate, 00.00 completions per game), with 0 interceptions, 0 yards (0.00 yards per toss; 00.00 yards per completion), and 0 touchdowns (0.00% TD rate). 000.0 Pass Efficiency Rating.

Vince Young
155 out of 244 (63.52% completion rate, 15.50 completions per game), with 8 interceptions, 2414 yards (9.89 yards per toss; 15.57 yards per completion), and 22 touchdowns (9.02% TD rate). 169.8 Pass Efficiency Rating.

Young is also #2 in the country in pass efficiency. Of the 100 best passers in the country, Vince has the highest yards per toss number, and the third highest yards per completion number. Reggie Bush, with only 2 tosses all year, is not ranked in pass efficiency.

RECEIVING-

Reggie Bush
28 catches for 315 yards (11.2 yards per catch; 31.5 yards per game), 2 touchdowns. His long: 40 yards.

Vince Young
NONE, he's the one throwing the ball.

Just for reference, Reggie Bush is nowhere near the national top 100 in receptions per game, yards per game, yards per reception, total receptions, total yards, or any other receiving statistic.

PUNT RETURNS-

Reggie Bush
16 returns for an unspectacular 162 yards (10.1 per attempt), with 1 well-known touchdown. His long: 84 yards. Take out that one big return, and he's averaging 5.2 yards per return. Pedestrian at best.

Vince Young
NONE, he's a quarterback.

Just for reference, Reggie Bush is ranked #39 in the country in punt returns. Texas has a player, Aaron Ross, who is ranked #7 in the country, with 16.29 yards per return and two touchdowns.

KICKOFF RETURNS-

Reggie Bush
15 returns for 244 yards (16.3 yards per return), with 0 touchdowns. His long: 30 yards.

Vince Young
NONE, he's a quarterback.

Just for reference, Reggie Bush is not ranked in the top 100 in kickoff returns.

TOTAL ALL-PURPOSE YARDS-

Reggie Bush
201 total plays for 1825 yards (9.08 per play; 182.5 per game).

Take out special teams yardage (which is somewhat inflated, typically), and it becomes 170 total plays for 1419 yards (8.35 per play; 141.9 per game). Reggie Bush has 14 total touchdowns, plus one well-known *ahem* assist in the Notre Dame game.

TOTAL OFFENSE-

Vince Young
361 total plays for 3188 yards (8.83 per play; 318.8 per game). Vince Young has 30 total touchdowns, and a bunch of hand-offs for touchdowns that he could totally take credit for at some level.

Reggie Bush's signature game is against Notre Dame. He had 3 touchdowns and 265 total yards, including 70 yards of punt and kick returns.

Meanwhile, it's difficult to pick just one signature game for Vince Young, but against Oklahoma State he had 506 yards (267 rushing, 239 passing) and 4 touchdowns. He also had 336 yards and 2 touchdowns passing, plus 56 yards and 3 touchdowns rushing against Colorado. Young also had 270 yards and 2 touchdowns passing, plus 76 yards rushing against Ohio State. I could go on. Nearly every game is a unique masterpiece.

But while the stats point to a strong VY advantage over Reggie Bush, it's the intangibles that are even more important. Vince Young just refuses to lose. Reggie Bush, again, is a great player, but on any given weekend one could easily make the argument that he's the 3rd or 4th or 5th best player on his own team, behind Matt Leinart, LenDale White, Dwayne Jarrett, and Steve Smith. There's no doubt that Vince Young is the best Texas football player on the field, every single week. You build a team around a player like Vince Young; USC would still be a great team without Reggie Bush.

Just to recap:

yards.gif

Vince has a ton more yards than Reggie.

And way the heck more touchdowns:

touchdowns.gif

Reggie Bush might deserve to get an invite to NYC for the Heisman ceremony. Maybe. But Vince Young unequivocally and unamiguously is the best college football player this year. It's not a stretch to call Vince Young one of the elite players of the past several years. Finally, if VY returns for his senior year and puts up "Vince-like" numbers, he could go down as one of the very greatest college football players in history.

Vince is just ridiculous. And there's plenty of room on the bandwagon, so hop on. If I had a Heisman ballot, it would go something like this:

1. Vince Young (TEXAS)
2. Matt Leinart (USC)
3. DonTrell Moore (NEW MEXICO)
4. Brady Quinn (NOTRE DAME)
5. DeAngelo Williams (MEMPHIS)

Bush could still crack the top 5 on my ballot (which doesn't count for anything) with some explosive highlight-reel plays and solid statistical efforts. But the fact that Vince Young won't win this thing unanimously is absurd.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Tax Revenues & Spending.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 November 2005 11:59 PM

Comments

Will,

You have to be fair and consider that on punt return and kick return yardage, teams specifically kick away from him or significantly alter their game plan to deal with him. Being surrounded by talent, especially in the backfield is deflating Bush's statistics. White gets his touches too. I watched Bush against ASU and he was a human highlight reel. You hold your breath every time he touches the ball. Consider that Bush has only had more than 17 carries ONCE this year. A premier running back should get double the carries Bush is getting. Ricky Williams got almost 350 carries in 1998 when he won the Heisman as opposed to Bush who has 140 with two games left.

Biggest knock against Young is how ***BAD*** the Big 12 is this year. Oklahoma is mediocre at best and aside from Texas Tech (who lost to OK State this weekend), there is nobody else that is worth a damn. Last year, when the conference was considerably stronger, he threw for 12 touchdowns and 11 picks.

Some of the voters have a carry over effect from what a guy has done in the past. Last year, Young had a great bowl game, but a mediocre year.

Posted by: Justin B at November 14, 2005 04:06 AM

Will,
I would have to agree with you.
Though the Big 12 is supposed to be "bad" he's still racking up numbers. If you aren't good, you can't get that kind of offense.
He's got 8 rush TD's and 22 pass TD's - that counts a lot.

Posted by: Mike L at November 14, 2005 05:39 AM

The Big XII being bad is another myth I'd like to address. I don't have the stat handy with me, but I recall seeing on ESPN College Gameday earlier this season that the Big 12 had a better record against out-of-conference teams, including big conferences, than every other conference this year.

So if the Big 12 is bad, then the PAC 10 is terrible. So are the other major conferences. The PAC-10, incidentally, has no defense, and shoddy special teams.

And Texas also played Ohio State.

Reggie Bush's lack of carries doesn't do much for me in terms of convincing me he is Heisman-worthy. If he had many more carries, his numbers per carry would certainly be diluted. And big whoop, a lot of good players don't have a ton of carries. Texas Freshman RB Charles, for example. Texas all-purpose maven Ramonce Taylor, for example. If he got the number of touches Reggie Bush has, he'd have close to the same kinds of numbers.

Vince is MORE of a human highlight film than Reggie Bush. AND he has better stats. AND he is more of a team leader, more important to his team, and so on. It's not even fair to poor little Reggie Bush.

Anyway, back to the weak "Texas has played a weak schedule, but USC hasn't" argument, try this:

USC's Schedule-
Hawaii 4-6
Arkansas 3-6
Oregon 9-1
Arizona State 5-5
Arizona 3-7
Notre Dame 7-2
Washington 2-8
Washington State 3-7
Stanford 5-4 (Stanford also lost to provisionally Division I-AA UC Davis)
California 6-4

OVERALL: 42-39

Texas' schedule-
Louisiana-Lafayette 5-5
Ohio State 8-2
Rice 1-8
Missouri 6-4
Oklahoma 6-3
Colorado 7-3
Texas Tech 8-2
Oklahoma State 4-5
Baylor 4-6
Kansas 5-5

OVERALL: 48-33

So, based on the records, Texas has played a tougher schedule thus far than USC.

Hmm, so the "biggest knock against Young" ... debunked.

And as far as teams that "significantly alter their game plan to deal with him," it's WAY MORESO with Vince than with Reggie Bush.

And Bush has still gotten 30+ kick and punt returns, so clearly he's being kicked to plenty. Teams must know what I know. Washington was the only team that just didn't tackle.

Finally, as far as being surrounded with talent goes, no player should win the Heisman trophy because some other terrific player is stealing carries. That's ridiculous. And precisely the point. Reggie Bush is not even the best player on his own team, let alone the most important player.

Posted by: Will Franklin at November 14, 2005 09:54 AM

Don't tell me, let me guess. Are you from Texas? Thought so.

Posted by: wyguy at November 14, 2005 10:05 AM

Yes, I am.

But I wouldn't be making this post if the evidence weren't overwhelming.

Posted by: Will Franklin at November 14, 2005 10:07 AM

Let's frame the argument a little differently.

What would USC's record be without Reggie Bush? They MIGHT lose to Notre Dame, but that's about it due to the numerous other weapons at Matt Leinart's disposal.

What would Texas' record be without Vince Young?

They'd have two losses for sure, each to the OSU's that are on their schedule (Ohio State and Oklahoma State). One could argue that VY almost singlehandedly brought the Horns back from a 19 point deficit to Okie Aggy a few weeks ago and he was quite instrumental in their come-from-behind win up in Columbus earlier in the season.

Posted by: Brandon at November 14, 2005 11:56 AM

Vince just keeps growing and growing and growing... He reminds me of the Michael Jordan of football...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at November 14, 2005 02:45 PM

Like I said and Like you said in Item Number IV-- a career of excellence. 12 TD's and 11 INT's last year is certainly not a career of excellence. However, two national championships is.

You get a lot of benefits from winning National Titles or from say "beating Oklahoma". I seem to remember USC beating Oklahoma last year and Texas struggling against them for the last 5 years. I am not saying that it is fair, but I am saying that part of Bush's success comes from the buzz generated last year and the year before when he played significant time as a freshman for the team that won the national title.

If you want a true tragedy, it is that Texas Tech's offense does not get more recognition. Hodges has thrown for 3800 yards versus Young's 2400 and has 28 TDs vs. 22. Completing 68% of his passes vs. 63.5%. Pure numbers are only part of the equation.

Big games and often times big games the year before are what start the Heisman buzz. Take for instance these stats-- 8/23 for 86 yards and no touchdowns. That is what Vince Young did against Oklahoma last year. Plus another 54 on the ground. That was THE BIGGEST GAME Texas played in last year besides Michigan. In the biggest game this year--probably in all of College Football--Reggie Bush had 160 yards on 15 carries and 3 TDs. Most of the country saw Bush against ASU rush for 158 on 17 carries and score 2 TD's.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a Trojans homer or something. Matter of fact, Bush ripped my heart out and sent my Sun Devils into a slide that may end with us missing a Bowl after damn near knocking off LSU and USC. This year, Texas has played in two meaningful games--Ohio State and Texas Tech. Young threw for just over 500 yards combined in these two games and had four TDs and Four INT's.

If you are going to argue for how strong the Big 12 is and how bad the Pac-10 is, I will take you up on that. The second best team in the Big 12 is Oklahoma. In the Pac-10 it is either Oregon or UCLA. UCLA played Oklahoma his year and soundly defeated them. Between USC, UCLA, and Oregon, those three teams have two losses between them. Big 12 teams have a long history of scheduling patsies. In the strength of schedule stats you have based on opponent's wins, look no further than Kansas's victories. They beat Florida Atlantic, Appalacian State, and LA Tech for three of their five victories. Texas Tech beat Florida International, Sam Houston, and Indiana State. Oklahoma at least plated some competition and lost to TCU and UCLA, but beat Tulsa. USC played Hawaii, Arkansas, #16 Fresno State, and #7 Notre Dame out of conference. ASU played Northwestern and #5 LSU. Oregon played #16 Fresno State.

When you have two national title rings and play on an undefeated team, you get special status. The Heisman is never "fair". White was an OK QB on a great team and won a Heisman two years ago. He had eye popping numbers, and got a lot of attention that year.

On a bigger note, if you can explain how much better Texas is than last year's team that went 11-1 and won the Rose Bowl, but lost to Oklahoma, I would like to understand. Young is having a better year. And Oklahoma is mediocre. Rather than Texas making huge improvements, I think you can argue that college football is a lot about luck and scheduling. Luck is on Texas's side this year and for the last three years, they have been good enough to win national titles, but Oklahoma managed to beat them each time.

Not to minimize how good Young is, but it comes down to this... he needed to beat Oklahoma and beat USC last year. He had his shot to do exactly that against OU and to play USC instead of Michigan, and Texas laid an egg. USC won their games last year. They are the Champs and unless something big happens the next couple of weeks, Bush will probably win the Heisman.

Posted by: Justin B at November 14, 2005 05:17 PM

Actually, Bush won't probably win the Heisman.

Posted by: Will Franklin at November 14, 2005 05:19 PM

Will,

Moreover, the problem with the Heisman is that it does not take into account conference championship games or the bowl games. It is skewed by the previous year's accomplishments on top of that.

Young will get his chance to beat USC and to show up Reggie Bush and Leinart, but the problem is that the Heisman is awarded almost a month before the game. If Bush wins it, it can either motivate Texas or simply be another piece of hardware next to the 2005-06 National Title in USC's trophy case (which is getting crowded). I have never liked the Heisman as being the biggest post season award, but considering all that is wrong with college football (no playoff system, BCS, teams getting shut out of the BCS, etc.) it certainly fits the bill as being decidedly unfair and almost a meaningless award given to a popular and good player on a popular and winning team. It shuts out the small conferences and it shuts out the good players on mediocre teams.

Posted by: Justin B at November 14, 2005 05:26 PM

(tearfully) You had me at "He's no Vince Young."

Bleeding burnt orange, I see.

Posted by: Giacomo at November 14, 2005 09:00 PM

Will,

Check the stats from this game against the number 16 team in the country. 513 all purpose yards including 293 on the ground on 25 carries.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/boxscore?gameId=253230030&confId=null

In the games against Oregon, ASU, Notre Dame and now Fresno State, USC played teams ranked in the top 25 (at the time) and in all of those games Bush came up big. Big players make big plays in big games. Bush set the Pac-10 record for all purpose yards tonight and solidified his case for the Heisman.

Refute the stats on this one.

Posted by: Justin B at November 20, 2005 01:34 AM

Ha. # 16 team. They are a mid-major. And they are typical West Coast. No defense.

Vince has had better games this year, and he still leads in touchdowns and yards on the year, although Reggie Bush has one extra game. Again, Vince Young has better stats on the year, even with one less game.

Had USC lost, which they almost did, Reggie Bush would have beared quite a bit of that burden. That fumble and that personal foul, both of which led to touchdowns for Fresno State, were bigtime mistakes.

Posted by: Will Franklin at November 20, 2005 09:00 AM

Fresno State had one loss coming in to this game and that was to one loss Oregon 37-34. I believe Fresno State is ranked higher than Texas Tech and unranked Oklahoma. And Oregon has a better record and is ranked right behind Ohio State.

I love hearing the "mid major" argument. So what you are saying is that Fresno State is a bad football team because they don't get an automatic BCS invite for winning their conference? Or that BCS conferences and their teams are always superior to a "mid major"?

Quarterback stats, especially passing yards and touchdowns, are not comparable to non-quarterback stats. A quarterback gets 60-70 touches per game. That is the nature of the position. As a passer, Young is 30th in total yards this year and 11th in Touchdowns. As a running back, Bush is 3rd in yards and 11th in Touchdowns. And Lendale White gets all the goal line carries because he is the bigger back. He happens to have another 19 touchdowns himself. The fumble was a big mistake and so was the personal foul.

Bush is the best player on the best team, and that is saying a lot considering how good Leinert is, White is, and several of their receivers are. The tough part is how good other players are and that SC does not rely completely on Bush because they have so much other talent.

But the Heisman has a long history of having an east coast bias as do most of the polls. Plus Bush is going to be splitting the vote with last year's Heisman trophy winner. He certainly made a case that he is the best player on USC last night though. And USC has made a case the last 33 games that they are the best team.

Posted by: Justin B at November 20, 2005 03:05 PM