This article was originally published to The Collegian as “Nick Chubb’s uphill battle to the Big Apple.”
The one thing the media loves to do throughout the year is to rate, rank, predict and over analyze every nook and cranny of the world of college football. I’m not complaining because it helps us get through the doldrums of the offseason until the first kick off in the fall.
Regardless of the media outlet, there is usually a team or player so called experts go all gaga and drool over. Heading into the 2015 season it appears the player that everyone is in love with is Georgia, running back Nick Chubb. The sophomore is considered the number one player in the country and is considered a favorite to win the Heisman trophy.
Chubb, currently listed at five feet and ten inches and 220 pounds, had a monster year as a freshman massing a total of 1547 total yards and averaging 7.06 yards per play a last season. His biggest games averaging over ten yards a carry were against Clemson (17.50), Kentucky (13.08) and Charleston Southern. The games where he gained the most yards came from Arkansas and Louisville.
But I do not see Chubb as a finalist in New York for the most prestigious award in all of college football because fate is not working in his favor.
Chubb will have to be outstanding in every game, but the Bulldogs will be facing some brick walls in the form of SEC defenses this fall including Alabama, Florida, Auburn and Tennessee. Chubb is not going to sneak up on anyone this fall and opposing defensive coordinators will scheme to limit his impact on any game.
According to Phil Steele of the Orlando Sentinel, Georgia will be facing Florida and Alabama who have the the first and third best secondaries in the entire country within a month of each other.
In addition, Georgia will also face the four of the top 25 ranked defensive lines in the nation with Alabama (1st), Florida (7th), Auburn (23rd), and Tennessee (25th).. This is important because…
If reports are true that no quarterback has taken the reigns as the starter and that the team has been struggling in the passing game in practice. Georgia to be a one dimensional offense against the best defenses the nation have to offer.
If any teams force the Dawgs to be a one trick pony, they’ll have the opportunity to limit Chubb. Keep him to an average of five yards per play or less than 100 total yards in any game and that matters because Chubb will not be in New York in December. End of story.
Georgia always seems to have one or two games every season where they just cannot get out of their own way. The last running back to win the Heisman since 2000 was Mark Ingram, Jr in 2009. He and the Alabama Crimson Tide went on to win not only a championship in the best conference in the nation, but also played for and win the national championship.
Georgia may have to go undefeated, win the SEC Championship and be a finalist for the College Football Playoff for Chubb to make an appearance before the Heisman Trust. But the Dawgs may not even make it to Atlanta if they continue to pull their recent history.
Speaking of Ingram, let’s face it there really wasn’t that great of quarterback play in 2009 and that helped Ingram’s case. If quarterbacks like Cody Kessler, Trevone Boykin, Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson or whoever wins the Ohio State starting battle have outstanding seasons history will tell you that will limit or negate the number of any skill players who are not a quarterback to actually makes it as a Heisman finalist. Watch out for Kessler!
Chubb cannot be limited or miss any playing time due to injury or lose carries to another player. Chubb is pretty much going to have to play nearly every quarter of every game for the entire season. He cannot miss a game because in order to make it to New York he is going to have to put up seismic levels of numbers to turn voter’s heads.
Melvin Gordon got an invite as a running back in 2014 after amassing 2740 yards of offense in a season, and in his signature game he put up 408 yards against Nebraska and had 5 other games with over 200 rushing yards. Newsflash! Gordon lost the Heisman to Marcus Mariota last season and Chubb was almost 1200 yards shy of Gordon’s numbers.
Let’s face it, in the modern era of college football it is nearly impossible for any player other than a quarterback to get invited to New York as a finalist for the Heisman. Nick Chubb may have a fantastic season for UGA this fall, but he is facing an uphill battle and the odds are stacked against him. With all due apologies to Mr. Chubb, 2015 will be the year of the quarterback pretty much like it has been the last 10 years.