Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Sporting News: still crazy after all these years

The Sporting News magazine named its college football award winners and here are the winners for the Big Ten:
Offensive MVP: Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa
Defensive MVP: James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
Coach of the year: Joe Paterno, Penn State
Freshman of the year: Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State
It's difficult to argue with "Freshman of the year" or "Offensive MVP"; Pryor's athleticism was a needed addition to the Ohio State offense even if his passing numbers weren't spectacular and I've been banging the Shonn Greene drum almost as much as these guys but the other two are questionable picks at best. A case can be made for Paterno for Coach of the year, and he has exceeded many expectations, but I think Pat Fitzgerald and Tim Brewster have done more with less. Minnesota went from 1-11 to 7-5 and an Insight bowl berth. Fitzgerald managed to beat Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois on his way to a 9-3 season greatly exceeding all expectations of Northwestern. Either of those two could easily be tabbed as coach of the year and there would be little argument from me.

That brings us to the Laurinaitis pick. Really!? Thank God he doesn't have any eligibility left, we won't be forced to deal with the Laurinaitis overhype machine any more. James is simply the most overrated player to come out of the Big Ten in… well… ever. I can't think of a more overhyped player in the time Penn State has been in the Big Ten. Brit Miller leads the Big Ten, and is 5th in the nation, in tackles with 132, 11 more than Laurinaitis. But here's the kicker: Miller has 72 SOLO tackles. Laurinaitis has 46. That's 46! Laurinaitis has 75 assists on the year seventy-fucking-five assists. That my friends is some clever accounting by the Ohio State statisticians. Laurinaitis must get 5 assists for putting on his helmet before the game. Miller is 5th in the league with 19 tackles for loss while Laurinaitis is a not so healthy 56th with 7. Miller is statistically better (much better actually) at Tackles for Loss, Forced Fumbles, Passes Defended, Tackles, and Sacks. There's a laundry list of players in the Big Ten that had more productive years than Laurinaitis, it's really too bad the talking heads are too lazy to actually do research.

James Laurinaitis shown here not making the tackle, although he did get 3 assists on the play.


Doc_P said...

He is the Andy Katzenmoyer of this decade. But he isn't as dumb as the big Kat.

Jason said...

Kat was a much, much better backer than Laurinaitis is.

And while I agree that Laurinaitis is overrated -- and we've said as much for two years now -- measuring greatness on tackle numbers alone is often not enough.

Good defenders on bad teams pile up tackles because their offenses can't move the ball.

Galen said...


Agreed that numbers alone can't be trusted but all the numbers combined tell a pretty convincing tale: he has very few tackles of significance (i.e. very few on the offensive side of the ball) and he has very few solo tackles meaning he got to the ball either late or needed help from his friends.

jd said...

the big kat was a very good linebacker whose career was sidelined by a rather debilitating neck injury. when playing at OSU, i remember him being a game changer. not quite hawk or poz level, but worth the hype.

laura has done nothing but rely on reputation from a game 3 years ago, hyper-inflated tackle numbers, and a decent backstory. his career will be sidelined due to shitty play and a very angry defensive coordinator.

in two years, the "i told you so" will be entirely delicious.

he's an empty uniform on defense.

jd said...

o for the love of god


Galen said...

Yeah JD I saw that and it doesn't surprise me at all.