Coming into the presentation of the 2012 Doak Award, which recognizes the best running back in college football, Johnathan Franklin earned 1700 yards, 14 touchdowns and a 6.3 yard-per-carry average in 2012, while also leading the other two Doak Award finalists (Wisconsin’s Montee Ball and Oregon’s Kenjon Barner) in receiving yards and yards from scrimmage.
The night didn’t end in total glory for UCLA, however, and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball somehow nabbed the title of best running back in the country despite owning the least-impressive stat-line of the three finalists (all while Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey earned gaudier numbers while being snubbed in the process).
Ball did earn more yards than Franklin did in 2012, but only outgained the UCLA senior by 30 yards, needing 64 more carries to do so, all while failing to break the 1800 mark in yards from scrimmage (where as Franklin broke the 2000-yard mark). Ball also earned more touchdowns, but if touchdown runs were the only thing that were looked at in determining the winner, the award is fatally flawed.
Of course, most UCLA fans didn’t expect Franklin to walk away with the award, mainly because Kenjon Barner had the better season, not Montee Ball. Ball, to his credit, has had a stellar career at Wisconsin and had one of the best seasons by a running back of all time in 2011, earning 2200 yards from scrimmage off of just 331 touches while punching the ball into the endzone 33 times.
But the award is not a lifetime achievement award and it most definitely is not the 2011 Doak Award. Perhaps Franklin should’ve finished second, but not to Montee Ball.
Still, it was Johnathan Franklin who upended Montee Ball in a far more important contest: NCAA ’13. According to Montee Ball, Franklin absolutely clowned Ball in the football simulation video game:
Sorry wisconsin nation… Johnathan franklin (rb for ucla) destroyed me in ncaa tonight……so sad.
— Montee Ball (@M_Ball28) December 6, 2012
I’d say this is good enough payback, although Franklin can go a long way in proving to be the most impressive player in combines and workouts leading up to the 2013 NFL draft, surpassing Ball for a selection in the process.