Friday, January 5, 2018

Irony: Georgia Rally Prevents Oklahoma Duo From Overtaking Tebow-Horford for Greatest of Century

Thanks to the Georgia Bulldogs' Rose Bowl performance, Florida's 2007 combo of Tim Tebow and Al Horford (or Joakim Noah) still stake a claim as the greatest football-basketball duo of the century. Ironic since Georgia was also the only team to ever hold Tebow to negative yards rushing in his 55 college football games.

Monday Georgia's defense held Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield to a season-low 64.0 Quarterback Rating, well below his nation leading 92.6 which led to him becoming one of only five players this century to take over 80 percent of the Heisman Trophy votes. Coupled with the fact that Oklahoma's Trae Young now leads the nation with a ridiculous 13.17 Value Add basketball rating, which would make him the only freshman to ever be more than two points a game better than any of the other 4,000 college basketball players, indicates that Mayfield and Young give Oklahoma the most dominant football-basketball duo of any school this century.

On the football side, some claim Tebow as the greatest college football player either, but only 52.4% (462 of 881) Heisman Trophy voters thought he was even the best player for a season. By contrast, based on Heisman votes Mayfield is one of the five most dominant players of the century.

RnkBest Football of CenturyHeismanYearRunner-Up
1Troy Smith, Ohio State91.0%2006Darren McFadden, Arkansas
2Marcus Mariota, Oregon88.5%2014Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
3Reggie Bush, USC87.9%2005Vince Young, Texas
4Cam Newton, Auburn82.6%2010Andrew Luck, Stanford
5Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma82.5%2017Bryce Love, Stanford

If Mayfield's dominant first half performance (360 yards of team offense) and the 17 points lead held up, he would seem to have a clear edge over Tebow's best season. However, Georgia's ability to cut the Sooners' to fewer than half as many yards after half time as Mayfield struggled to get passes over a tough rush contrasts with Tebow following up his Heisman with a 2008 National Championship during which he delivered on his famous vow after a loss to Mississippi to not lose again.

Which leads to the second half of the equation, the fact that if you were walking around the Oklahoma campus this year or the Florida campus in 2007, you might see both one of the greatest football players and one of the greatest basketball players of the century.

When Oklahoma's Trae Young torched No. 10 TCU on the road this weekend for 39 points and 14 assists in a one-point win, he continued a domnance of college basketball that has not been seen yet this century. His Value Add rating indicates that the Sooner's basketball team is 13.17 points better per game with him than if a replacement player needed to take his place, and that makes him 2.14 points better than the second best player in America (Jevon Carter of West Virginia at 11.03). If this rating holds up, Young would be the first freshman to ever be more than two points better than anyone else in the country:

RnkBest Hoops of CenturyValue Add > 2ndYearRunner-Up
1Trae Young , Oklahoma2.142018Jevon Carter, West Virginia
2Kevin Durant, Texas1.822007Roy Hibbert, Georgetown
3Shelden Williams, Duke1.432006JJ Redick, Duke
4Anthony Davis, Kentucky1.382012Jae Crowder, Marquette
5Michael Beasley, K-State1.172008Kevin Love, UCLA

The next best football-basketball combo of the century would be Tebow and either Horford or Noah from the 2007 Florida Gators that made it two championships in a row the year Tebow took the Heisman. We will not know the Wooden Award vote until April, but right now Young would likely be a lopsided winner like Mayfield was on the football side. Noah was voted the 7th best player in 2007, while Horford was the third draft pick behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, the same spot Young is projected to go. Noah reached as high as 10th in the historic Value Add, Horford 20th.

So just as Mayfield was more dominant based on the Heisman vote, Young is now more dominant than either Horford or Noah.

Statistically, Oklahoma's duo is the best of the century based on the dominance demonstrated in Heisman voting for football and Value Add basketball ratings for basketball. The overwhelming Heisman Trophy vote for Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield, coupled with new Value Add Basketball Rankings showing Oklahoma's Trae Young as the best basketball player of the century so far, give the Sooners a chance to challenge Florida's Tim Tebow and Al Horford as the greatest football-basketball duo of the century.

However, the odds are still long against Young and his Sooners' (or any one specific team) emerging with a national title in March Madness.

So despite the case you can make that Young and Mayfield are actually the more dominant duo, the fact that Horford (with Noah) or vice versa delivered the Gators basketball titles in 2006 and 2007, while Tebow's football teams (albeit with him as a back-up the first year) delivered the football title in 2006, will still lead defenders of the Gators' duo as the greatest of the century to fall back on the hillarious exchange from the movie Bad Teacher (see clip here):

  • Student (Sean): LeBron has more rebounds and more assists.
  • Teacher: Will you listen to me! Call me when LeBron has six championships!
  • Student: Is that the only argument you have.
  • Teacher: It's the only argument I need Sean!

For Gators' fans, the four championships may feel the only argument they need is the four national title delivered to campus from 2006 to 2008. And for that, they can thank their rival Bulldogs for letting Mayfield leave for the NFL without a title.

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