Here’s one you don’t hear about every day. Derrick Henry is one of the more underrated running backs in college football.
What? Seriously? How can that be? A tailback at the University of Alabama – a Crimson Tide program known for churning out superstar running backs who are drafted into the NFL? And yes, Henry is underrated and undervalued. I am not alone in this assessment, but I am telling you about here on The Camel Clutch Blog.
[adinserter block=”1″]Henry, who I have watched run over, through and around opposing defenses since his days in high school, and is the most decorated high school running back of all time, takes a backseat when it comes to running backs in the SEC. That’s because the season Leonard Fournette is having trumps anything anyone else could do. Even if someone like Tim Tebow or Cam Newton were still lacing it up at Florida and Auburn, they too would be an afterthought.
With the game between the Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers set to go for Saturday, is it any wonder a rivalry game like this will more than likely produce this year’s Heisman Trophy winner – where pundits and draft scouts are praying it is Fournette after the start he has had, but won’t be upset if the “biggin” in Crimson and White takes home the hardware.
First, Henry must answer the question on everyone’s mind – can he outrun Fournette? Can he show he is every bit as solid, if not spectacular?
“While Henry is a name most college football fans know by now, the run Fournette is on this season has elevated his appeal and goes beyond that of the sport’s usual threshold,” says Alex Scarborough of ESPN. “LSU’s star running back is now the rare kind of player at the college level who might register a Q Score, a measure of familiarity with the public at large.”
Will he and his Alabama teammates crash the SEC party and hand the Tigers their first loss of the season under Les Miles?
This rivalry game may have the makings of an instant classic, but it will also help separate the believers from the non-believers in the College Football Playoff. Should Alabama knock off LSU, then there is certainly merit to their place at No. 4 in the first playoff rankings. A loss just means it is another week for another superpower to fall – this time with two losses and no chance for recovery.
I’m sure teams like Baylor, TCU, Iowa, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Florida are all going to watch with anticipation. A hiccup changes everything in this little competition.
[adinserter block=”2″]Yes, sense the sarcasm in that statement.
The SEC plays the toughest games, faces the toughest schedules and lines up from time to time with solid non-conference games. But since the league is solid from sports 1-10, these are really knockout type contests. The deeper into the season, the more to lose and the more the selection committee will look at wins and losses and competition
A tight game where it might be a two or three point loss by LSU would still keep the Tigers in the discussion of playing in the post season. A loss all but assures Alabama of a New Year’s Day bowl game with little luster to be had.
I am sure that has crossed Miles’ mind a time or two. Beating Nick Saban, the man he replaced at LSU has its merits and is so satisfying.
But the coaches really are secondary in this matchup. All eyes will be on the legs of the two best running backs in college football. To winner goes the Heisman Trophy and a chance at a national title. The loser will still be considered a top threat and an NFL prospect. But a national title might be harder to come by.