I know, I know. It’s a travesty and you’re as fired up as I am about it!!
I’m referring, of course, to the Big Ten’s (coaches and media) decision to award the conference’s Punter of the Year Award to Michigan’s Will Hart and not Ohio State’s Drue Chrisman. It may not be a scandal or anything national newsworthy, but it was an awful decision nonetheless.
Chances are you’re not quite as passionate about the art of punting as I am, but just hang tight for me. I’ll make this short and sweet.
Before I get started, go ahead and click on the Wikipedia link for this particular award. You’ll see that it highlights Dwight Eddleman and Brandon Fields, the namesakes for this annual accomplishment. Now hover your mouse over each name long enough to see the photos that pop up. Yep, one shows Eddleman in a basketball uniform (he was a multi-sport athlete at Illinois) and the other shows Fields holding for a field goal in the NFL. That’s right, the conference’s punting award doesn’t even have a photo of anyone actually punting. Sure, maybe that’s a Wikipedia issue. I don’t care, I’m angry. Loud noises! I digress. Here is the case for Will Hart…
Will Hart’s Case for Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year
- Will Hart leads the conference in average yards per punt and is fourth in the nation in the same category.
- Drue Chrisman had a 4-yard punt against Michigan State.
- Coaches and media apparently don’t understand the basic goals of punting.
- That’s it for this category.
- I’m literally just filling this section with meaningless words to try to get up to some sort of minimum WordPress acceptable limit for subheadings.
- Seriously, he just kicks the ball far, sometimes.
Drue Chrisman’s Case for Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year
It should be noted that while I enjoy a good bottle flipping, that has not influenced my decision here at all. Alright, maybe a little. He’s just so smooth at the art of flipping.
- Drue Chrisman leads the conference in net punting yard average (41.7).
- The net punting average takes into account touchbacks and return yards… you know, the bad things that give the other team field position back.
- Will Hart is 9th in the conference in this stat (37.3).
- Only twice all year, including his 4-yard blast, has #91 netted a punt of 30 or fewer yards.
- Hart has done this seven times.
- Chrisman has not yet had a punt that resulted in a touchback. Read that again. Not one.
- Hart has booted nine balls into the end zone (tied for the most in the Big Ten). This, for anyone unaware, gives his opponent the ball at the 20-yard line.
- The Buckeye punter has placed 25 kicks (51%) inside of the 20-yard line. Hart has put just 14 (36%) of his punts into that sweet spot.
- Drue downed more punts inside of the 5-yard line in one half against Michigan State than Hart has all season.
- Chrisman has had nine punts returned this year, the other 40 being fair caught, downed or pushed out of bounds, for a total of 34 return yards.
- That Punter Up North has had 18 of his 39 kicks returned for 183 yards. This places him next to last in the conference in return yards allowed.
- One of the punters has had a punt blocked… in case you forgot, I’ll remind you which one it was (and which it wasn’t):
One punter can blast the ball really far (<eye roll emoji> both punters have the same long punt on the year – 65 yards), and the other consistently provides the best possible field position for his defense out of any of the punters in the league.
Keep your Will Hart and your E-F PoY. Drue Chrisman will keep his gold pants and the slightly less official Adam Borland Punter of the Year Award.
[Editor’s Note: I voted for Chrisman on the First-Team because I saw how often he didn’t put the ball in the end zone and how often Hart did. It was an easy decision. Apparently most people don’t watch as much OSU and Michigan as I do. /TG]