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Joe Ovies

Heisman out of reach, but Bernard will get other recognition

Posted November 11, 2012
Updated November 12, 2012

Giovani Bernard for Heisman? It won't happen, but it does merit at least some consideration before the politics of Heisman voting kill the idea.

North Carolina handed out posters on Saturday touting Bernard's various award candidacies, including a bullet point for the most prestigious award in college football. Officials in Chapel Hill aren't naive about Bernard's chances in the Heisman race, but they aren't going to shy away from publicizing his achievements this season. 

And rightfully so. The North Carolina tailback is putting together a heckuva season in Chapel Hill. Marinate on these averages: 208.75 all-purpose yards per game ranks third nationally, 126 yards rushing per game ranks eighth nationally, 7.1 yards per carry and 12.75 points per game. 

Bernard went over 1,000 yards rushing for the second straight season (a first since Natrone Means) as the Tar Heels came up short in a shootout with Georgia Tech. He leads the ACC in rushing despite missing one half of football and two full games with an ankle injury. Bernard's two touchdowns against the Yellow Jackets pushed his season total to 17, which leads the ACC and ranks second nationally.

All of this is good enough to make Bernard a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, which recognizes the nation's top running back. Bernard is an obvious front-runner for ACC Player of the Year. But the Heisman? It's out of reach for predictable reasons. Only quarterbacks and running backs on traditional powers in the middle of national title contention will get a legitimate shot at the award.

While Bernard has put up numbers worthy of consideration, the Tar Heels have been a mainstream afterthought thanks in large part to NCAA sanctions and a pedestrian record. Heisman candidates like Oregon's Kenjon Barner thrive on nationally televised high stakes contests. The best Bernard can do is show up on an ESPN "Top Ten" highlight package since North Carolina seems to have the permanent early slot on the ACC Network regional game.

Regardless, the lack of Heisman shine shouldn't discourage appreciation for what Bernard is doing for North Carolina. He's simply fun to watch on the football field and fans likely have one more opportunity to see him run inside Kenan Stadium before he heads off to the NFL.

16 Comments

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  • dbretz Nov 13, 5:26 p.m.

    Joe makes some nice points here, but I had them first on Twitter.

  • duane11 Nov 12, 3:02 p.m.

    I remember names like Ted Brown and Famous Amos from my youth growing up in NC, my kids will... View More

    — Posted by 4tarheels

    yep, a winner all the way around...go pro, Gio!

  • doser Nov 12, 12:59 p.m.

    Think Gio might be having some second thoughts, was originaly committed to ND decided to change to UNC. Will be sitting home this year at bowl time instead of in a BCS game or possilbe NC game,

  • Toddler10-21 Nov 12, 7:31 a.m.

    Bama, Oregon,( LSU you did schedule them but you lost), USC, Oklahoma, UGA, FLA, Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, Ohio State, etc.. Not Elon, Idaho, and ECU. Like coach Logan says, if you play in a weak conference play a tough non conference schedule. Tough conference schedule IDAHO, ELON, and SAVANNAH STATE! Heck UNC doesnt play the best in the ACC this year, ( Clemson, FSU).

  • BenFranklin Nov 11, 10:24 p.m.

    Sorr,y but I don't see anyone unseating Bernard as the ACC POY. Look at UNC's record with him and without him and you can see his value to the team. Check out his numbers within the league and he's off the charts. I am not a UNC fan but let's give credit where credit is due....and he's due!

  • early exit Roy Nov 11, 8:47 p.m.

    Never happen. He is a great back, but you have to be on a good football team to have that chance and he isn't on good team!

  • 4tarheels Nov 11, 8:27 p.m.

    I remember names like Ted Brown and Famous Amos from my youth growing up in NC, my kids will remember Gio.

  • 1969inyourface Nov 11, 6:27 p.m.

    Ole Joe Overies with the obvious. Again.

  • StunGunn Nov 11, 6:18 p.m.

    I hope Gio does receive some awards and recognition for his talent and hard work. He has been a beacon of light during some very dark times at Carolina, yet he never let the cloud of the NCAA sanctions overshadow his work ethic. I've thoroughly enjoyed watching Gio on Saturdays, and I hope he stays healthy for the remaining two games and gets drafted high in the NFL. Gio is a shining example of what a student athlete should exemplify, and I wish there were more like him.

  • Honesty first Nov 11, 2:59 p.m.

    You have to schedule bog boy competition first.

    — Posted by Toddler10-21

    And can you possibly explain what "Bog Boy" competition is? I do agree that a great game against a very inconsistant team does not make you Heisman winner. I mediocre running back does not have 1000 yard rushing season back to back, especially when it is your first 2 years in D-1 football

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