Wondering what it would be like to have a Heisman Trophy winner from another school play on your favorite team can be a fun thing to do. How many more games would you win? Would it result in a title? What would his stats look like? Doing this can be even more fun when you wonder what a rival's Heisman Trophy winner would be like wearing your colors.
In light of the new mode in EA Sports NCAA '13, we threw caution to the wind and chewed a few Tums and took a look at what the 2008 Hurricanes would have looked like with (gulp) Tim Tebow at the helm. Hit the jump to find out!
The 2008 Hurricanes squad was an interesting one, for more than one reason. It was Randy Shannon's second year, and it was the year that saw the "vaunted" recruiting class that brought in Travis Benjamin, Jacory Harris, Sean Spence, et al. It was also pretty much a failure, finishing at a paltry 7-6 with a bowl loss to the Cal Bears in the Emerald Bowl. The team had raw talent, but no idea how to put it all together. Shannon had trouble deciding on whether to start incumbent QB Robert Marve or insert the new kid Jacory Harris. Graig Cooper was a bright spot on offense, as well as Aldarius Johnson and LaRon Byrd. Sean Spence began his incredible career on the defense, and Arthur Brown kick started his career at Kansas State.
So just what would Tebow have meant to this team? Sure, he most likely would have ended up at Alabama if it weren't for the crib, rattles, and stuffed animals that Urban Meyer showered him with, but let's play make believe for a minute. Say Shannon pulled off a stunner and signed Timmy, what then? In order to see how Tebow would have changed things, I enlisted the technologicalal help of WhatIfSports to place Tebow firmly in the starting QB spot of the 2008 Miami Hurricane team. Now, being that some of the players on that squad were...limited...offensively, there were a few substitutions that had to be made in order to field a complete team. The main one being that Jimmy Graham from 2009 had to fill in as a TE, because Richard Gordon failed to record the minimum number of receptions required by WhatIfSports (SIGH). Graham was placed into the third spot on the depth chart behind Dedrick Epps and Chris Zellner, and did not factor into things much, preserving the results. Tebow was of course the starter at quarterback, flanked by Robert Marve in the 2 spot. The running back position saw Graig Cooper and Javarris James as the starters, and the wide outs were Aldarius Johnson, Sam Shields, Travis Benjamin, and LaRonByrd. Defense, special teams, etc were all from 2008.
The schedule was recreated exactly as it was in 2008, with the caveats being that all games were played with neutral weather, home and away games were played as is, Miami was played with a balanced offense, and the only game that could not be simulated was the first game against Charleston Southern, which I counted as a win (the stock Miami team beat them 57-0, I'm not out on much of a limb assuming a team led by Tebow would be much different). Each game was run 3 times, and the majority result was recorded, as well as the stats from the second determining game. For exampled, if Game 1 was a win, Game 2 a loss, and Game 3 a win, then the stats from Game 3 were used, and vice versa for a loss. Only Tebow's stats were recorded, as he is the subject of this exercise. For reference, here is the original 2008 schedule:
|1||Aug 28, 2008||Thu||Miami (FL)||Charleston Southern||Non-Major||W||52||7||1||0||W 1|
|2||Sep 6, 2008||Sat||Miami (FL)||@||(5) Florida||SEC||L||3||26||1||1||L 1|
|3||Sep 20, 2008||Sat||Miami (FL)||@||Texas A&M||Big 12||W||41||23||2||1||W 1|
|4||Sep 27, 2008||Sat||Miami (FL)||North Carolina||ACC||L||24||28||2||2||L 1|
|5||Oct 4, 2008||Sat||Miami (FL)||Florida State||ACC||L||39||41||2||3||L 2|
|6||Oct 11, 2008||Sat||Miami (FL)||Central Florida||CUSA||W||20||14||3||3||W 1|
|7||Oct 18, 2008||Sat||Miami (FL)||@||Duke||ACC||W||49||31||4||3||W 2|
|8||Oct 25, 2008||Sat||Miami (FL)||Wake Forest||ACC||W||16||10||5||3||W 3|
|9||Nov 1, 2008||Sat||Miami (FL)||@||Virginia||ACC||W||24||17||6||3||W 4|
|10||Nov 13, 2008||Thu||Miami (FL)||Virginia Tech||ACC||W||16||14||7||3||W 5|
|11||Nov 20, 2008||Thu||(23) Miami (FL)||@||Georgia Tech||ACC||L||23||41||7||4||L 1|
|12||Nov 29, 2008||Sat||Miami (FL)||@||North Carolina State||ACC||L||28||38||7||5||L 2|
Once all the games were run, the statistics tallied, and the splines reticulated, Miami only finished one game better than they actually did that year. Even I had to ask how this was possible, but the more I thought about it, the more it sort of made sense. I was asking a website based basically on stats alone to predict how a team would have played together had they practiced, worked out, and basically lived together over the course of a year. Nothing can ever replicate that. Furthermore, Tebow is such a dynamic player, that using a balanced offense is the most logical use of the simulator, when in reality a heavy run offense would be closer to reality based on what we know of him. Although, how Shannon and his staff would have used Tebow also plays into it, and he may have been more of a passer than a runner. The point is, who knows. The simulation was run in the best way possible, and here are the results broken down by game:
1. Charleston Southern - W (no score or stats as stated above)
2. @ Florida - L 33-7
Tebow - 16/29 passing for 200 yds, 1TD, 1 INT ; 22 rushes for -24 yds
Of note here is that Florida was led by one Cameron Newton, since Tim Tebow was otherwise unavailable.
3. @ Texas A&M - W 32-17
Tebow - 18/23 passing for 275 yds, 3TD ; 18 rushes for 47 yds
4.UNC - L 21-20
Tebow - 17/26 passing for 218 yds, 3 TD ; 16 rushes for 41 yds
5.FSU - W 33-19
Tebow - 15/22 passing for 205 yds, 3TD ; 14 rushes for 37 yds
6.UCF - W 38-7
Tebow - 16/23 passing for 217 yds, 3TD ; 18 rushes for 33 yds
7. @ Duke - W 18-10
Tebow - 20/27 passing for 322 yds, 1TD,1 INT ; 23 rushes for -12 yds
8. Wake Forest - W 23-20
Tebow - 20/29 passing 347 yds, 2TD ; 18 rushed for 33 yds
9. @ Virginia - W 23-13
Tebow - 10/19 passing for 179 yds, 2TD ; 9 rushes for 18 yds
10. Virginia Tech - W 32-21
Tebow - 16/23 passing for 220 yds, 1TD ; 16 rushes for 18 yds
11. @ Georgia Tech - L 10-9
Tebow - 18/26 passing for 245 yds ; 22 rushes for -1 yds
12. @ NC State - L 41-22
Tebow - 12/18 passing for 139 yds, 1TD, 1 INT ; 18 rushes for 48 yds
Russell Wilson was still at the helm for the Wolfpack here
The bowl game was removed to isolate just the regular season and what Tebow would have contributed. Frankly, finishing the season at 8-4, one game better than the 7-5 from the original team, is good enough for me without figuring out who Miami would have played instead of Cal, and whether or not they would have lost.
There are a few things of note after you look through the stats. The most glaring, perhaps, is that Tebow finished the season with exactly ZERO rushing touchdowns. In the interest of fairness, I re-ran the simulations with Miami labelled as a run-first offense, and the result was the same. This is where the unknown with Tebow comes into play. There is simply no way for a computer or program to replicate what he brings to the football field. It's highly probable that Miami would have finished better than 8-4 that year with him at the helm, although there's just as much chance that the result would have remained the same. That team was fairly young, brash, and hardly played together at all. While a leader like Tebow would have helped with that, the years after 2008 would prove that the majority of those kids played for themselves, and not for the team.
Miami didn't have Tebow, or anything even resembling a Heisman player that year. We got stuck with Marve and Harris, and hooray for that, right? Tebow in orange and green is a pretty interesting thought, but at least on paper, it would not have made that much of a difference.
This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.
EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13: "Tiger" (via EASPORTS)