Baylor head coach named one of 13 nominees for 2021 Eddie Robinson Award
A record 13 finalists have been nominated for the 2021 award. The FWAA has bestowed the honor every year since 1957, recognizing the best coach in college football. The award was renamed in 1997 to honor the legacy of legendary Grambling State head coach Eddie Robinson.
Aranda just won the 2021 Big 12 Championship, leading the Bears to an 11-2 season and a place in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in his sophomore year at Waco. Despite being picked to finish eighth in the conference in the preseason media poll, Aranda finished tied for the nation’s second-best turnaround with nine more wins after last season’s 2-7 mark. The Bears currently sit sixth in the AP poll and were placed seventh in the final college football playoff standings.
Behind the advice of Aranda and the first year offensive coordinator Jeff grimes, Baylor’s offense was ranked 16th nationally with 5.26 yards per carry and 29th nationally with 6.37 yards per game. BU increased their rushing output 138% from last season, increasing their rushing average to 90.3 yards per game (123e nationally) to 214.7 yards per game (17e nationally). Additionally, Baylor ranked in the nation’s top 25 for the fewest bags allowed with 18 and a turnover margin of +18, in addition to ranking 26th.e in passing efficiency (152.33) and 37e in scoring (32.5 points per game).
Defensively, BU kept their opponents 13.1 points below their season average and were one of three programs to limit each opponent to 30 points or less, joining Cincinnati and Clemson. Under Aranda and defensive coordinator Ron roberts, Baylor led the Big 12 and placed fifth nationally with 16 interceptions. The Bears placed 14e in the country by scoring the defense and 16e on ground defense, keeping his opponents to just 19.2 points and 116.9 rushing yards per game in 2021.
Baylor had seven players named to the first and second teams of the 2021 All-Big 12, including four individual winners in Jalen Pitre (Defensive Player of the Year), Trestan ebner (Special Teams Player of the Year), Connor galvin (Offensive Lineman of the Year) and Siaki ika (defensive newcomer of the year). Additionally, Pitre was one of three finalists for the 2021 Jim Thorpe Award, honoring the country’s top defensive back.
Aranda becomes Baylor’s second finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award in the past three seasons. Legendary head coach Grant Teaff is the school’s only former winner in 1974.
This year’s finalists were placed on a ballot that was sent to the full membership of the FWAA. The 2021 winner will be announced on Monday, December 20. The official presentation of the award will take place at a reception on Saturday, January 8, 2022 in Indianapolis ahead of the National College Football Playoff Championship.
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2021 EDDIE ROBINSON AWARD FINALISTS
Blake Anderson, State of Utah
Dave aranda, Baylor
Luke Fickell, Cincinnati
Thomas Hamac, Northern Illinois
Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
Billy Napier, Louisiana
Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh
Nick Saban, Alabama
Kalani Sitake, BYU
Kirby Smart, Georgia
Jeff Traylor, UTSA
Mel Tucker, State of Michigan
Kyle Whittingham, Utah