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College Football Week 13 Awards

December 1, 2011

Alabama's Trent Richardson reaches for the goal line during Saturday's rout of rival Auburn. (USA Today Photo)

 The top teams in the nation held serve as we head into Championship Weekend in college football.  In addition to the BCS madness, the Heisman race is in doubt, as well, as Alabama’s Trent Richardson and Andrew Luck of Stanford have seemingly separated themselves from the pack as we head into the final week of the season.

Offensive Player of the Week – Trent Richardson – RB – Alabama.  The junior running back looked to take the lead in the Heisman race as he ran for a career-high 203 yards in the 42-14 shellacking of last year’s national champion, Auburn.  Richardson has come up big in each of ‘Bama’s spotlight games during the 2011 season.  Will it be enough to win the coveted award for the Tide for the second time in 3 years?

Defensive Player of the Week – Tyrann Mathieu – DB – LSU.  The “Honey Badger” continued his outstanding play Saturday against 3rd ranked Arkansas.  Mathieu was all over the field, recording 8 solo tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery and had an electrifying 92 yard punt return for a touchdown that helped the Tigers come back from an early 2-TD deficit.  If it wasn’t for his drug-induced suspension, he would be making a trip to NYC for the Heisman ceremonies.

Game of the Week – Michigan 40 – Ohio State 34.  The Wolverines finally broke a 7 year losing streak to the Buckeyes in this wild, exciting back-and-forth contest.  Michigan moves into contention for a BCS slot, while the Bucks prepare for the Urban Meyer era and hope they escape further NCAA sanctions.

My Top 25

  1. LSU (12-0)
  2. Alabama (11-1)
  3. Oklahoma St. (10-1)
  4. Stanford (11-1)
  5. Virginia Tech (11-1)
  6. Houston (12-0)
  7. USC (10-2)
  8. Oregon (10-2)
  9. Boise St. (10-1)
  10. Oklahoma (9-2)
  11. Arkansas (10-2)
  12. Michigan St. (10-2)
  13. Wisconsin (10-2)
  14. South Carolina (10-2)
  15. Georgia (10-2)
  16. Kansas St. (9-2)
  17. Michigan (10-2)
  18. Baylor (8-3)
  19. Nebraska (9-3)
  20. TCU (9-2)
  21. West Virginia (8-3)
  22. Clemson (9-3)
  23. Penn St. (9-3)
  24. Southern Miss (10-2)
  25. Florida St. (8-4)

College Football Week 12 Awards

November 22, 2011

Baylor's Robert Griffin III eludes OU defenders during the Bears' 45-38 upset of the 5th ranked Sooners. (AP Photo)

What a fantastic weekend of college football.  Great performances, wild endings, and huge upsets permeated the college football landscape.  Simply put, this was what makes college football so great.  With rivalry week upon us, we should be treated to another great slate of games, highlighted by the LSU-Arkansas match-up on Friday.
Game of the Week – Iowa State 37 – Oklahoma State 31 (2 OT).  This game set the tone for the entire weekend.  The ‘Clones bounced back from an early 17 point deficit to knock off the 2nd ranked Cowboys in double-overtime.  Props to the ISU crowd as Jack Trice Stadium was rockin’ like never before.  Iowa State will relish their biggest win in school history, while OSU will try to revive their slim BCS Title Game chances.
Offensive Player of the Week – Robert Griffin III, Baylor- QB.  RG3 was simply magnificent against the Sooners.  The possible Heisman front-runner was 21-34 for 479 yards and 4 TD’s, and kept plays alive with his feet many times throughout the contest.  Is there a more valuable player to his team in the NCAA? 
Defensive Player of the Week – Sammy Brown, Houston – LB.  Brown helped keep Houston’s BCS hopes alive with 10 tackes, 4.5 TFL and 3 sacks in the Cougars’ 37-7 win over SMU.  He now leads the nation in TFL and stands second in sacks after his monster performance against the Pony’s.
My Top 25
  1. LSU (11-0)
  2. Alabama (10-1)
  3. Arkansas (10-1)
  4. Oklahoma State (10-1)
  5. Virginia Tech (10-1)
  6. Stanford (10-1)
  7. Houston (11-0)
  8. Boise St. (9-1)
  9. Oklahoma (8-2)
  10. USC (9-2)
  11. Oregon (9-2)
  12. Michigan State (9-2)
  13. Wisconsin (9-2)
  14. South Carolina (9-2)
  15. Kansas St. (9-2)
  16. Georgia (9-2)
  17. Michigan (9-2)
  18. Clemson (9-2)
  19. Baylor (7-3)
  20. Penn St. (9-2)
  21. TCU (9-2)
  22. Nebraska (8-3)
  23. Notre Dame (8-3)
  24. Virginia (8-3)
  25. Georgia Tech (8-3)


College Football Week 3 Awards

September 21, 2011

Iowa WR Kevonte Martin-Manley jumps into the arms of TE Zach Derby after scoring the winning TD against Pitt. (Christopher Gannon/The Des Moines Register)

Road-test Saturday has come and gone and most teams passed with no problems, most notable being Oklahoma taking out Florida State with a strong 4th quarter.  Here’s a look at the week 3 award winners.
Offensive Player of the Week – Marcus Lattimore – South Carolina.  The sophomore running back had a career-high 246 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Gamecocks’ 24-21 squeaker over Navy.
Defensive Player of the Week – Jonathan Brown – Illinois.  Brown led a resurgent Illini D to a 17-14 win over Arizona State.  The sophomore LB had 7 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a timely INT to help seal the victory.
Game of the Week – Iowa 31-Pittsburgh 27.  The first 3 quarters belonged to Pitt, but the Hawks showed why it’s a 60 minute game as they dug out of a 3 touchdown hole to pull out the W.  With the victory, Iowa capped off their largest comeback in school history and gained some much needed confidence after their heartbreaking 3 OT loss to in-state rival Iowa State.
My Top 25
  1. Alabama
  2. Oklahoma
  3. LSU
  4. Boise State
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Texas A&M
  7. Virginia Tech
  8. Oklahoma State
  9. Stanford
  10. Oregon
  11. Nebraska
  12. South Carolina
  13. Florida State
  14. Arkansas
  15. Florida
  16. USF
  17. Baylor
  18. Texas
  19. West Virginia
  20. USC
  21. Clemson
  22. TCU
  23. Michigan
  24. Georgia Tech
  25. Illinois 

College Football Week 2 Awards

September 12, 2011
Michigan defeated Notre Dame, 35-31, in the first night game in the history of the “Big House”. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

The second week of the college football season was full of fantastic finishes.  Auburn-Mississippi St., Iowa-Iowa State, South Carolina-Georgia, USC-Utah, and of course, Notre Dame-Michigan, all got pulses pounding across the nation.  Many performances were considered for honors, but ultimately, these athletes were singled out for their excellence.

Offensive Player of the Week – Denard Robinson – Michigan.  Ol’ Shoelace struggled mightily with the pro-set offense for most of the game, until Brady Hoke said just win this thing for us, and turned him loose.  Robinson ended up with a career-high 338 yards passing, 108 yards on the ground, and 5 total TD’s.  I still don’t know how he completed some of those Hail Mary-type throws, but it worked Saturday night against a much-maligned Fighting Irish secondary.
Defensive Player of the Week – Mark Barron – Alabama.  The senior safety was all over the field Saturday against Penn St.  Barron recorded 7 tackles and had a timely INT and fumble recovery to stop two Nittany Lions’ drives, as the Crimson Tide stuffed PSU, 27-11. 
Game of the Week – Michigan 35-Notre Dame 31.  This was an instant classic and one that Brian Kelly will be reliving in his nightmares.  With  an NCAA-record crowd of over 114,000 relishing the first-ever prime time game in Michigan Stadium history, the Wolverines pulled off the stunning win with a Denard Robinson to Roy Roundtree TD pass with 2 seconds left.  This capped a flurry of back and forth scores in the last 1:12 of the 4th quarter.  I thought the Baylor-TCU contest would be hard to top, but this one managed to do just that.  Will this propel Michigan to further heights this season, or is this just another victory over an overrated Fighting Irish team?  Time will tell if either program will regain the luster they once enjoyed.
My Top 25
  1. Alabama  (2-0)
  2. Oklahoma  (2-0)
  3. LSU  (2-0)
  4. Boise State  (2-0)
  5. Wisconsin  (2-0)
  6. Florida State  (2-0)
  7. Texas A&M  (2-0)
  8. Virginia Tech  (2-0)
  9. Stanford  (2-0)
  10. Oklahoma State  (2-0)
  11. Oregon  (1-1)
  12. Nebraska  (2-0)
  13. South Carolina  (2-0)
  14. Arkansas  (2-0)
  15. Ohio State  (2-0)
  16. Michigan State  (2-0)
  17. Florida  (2-0)
  18. Arizona State  (2-0)
  19. Auburn  (2-0)
  20. Baylor  (1-0)
  21. USF  (2-0)
  22. Texas (2-0)
  23. USC (2-0)
  24. West Virginia  (2-0)
  25. Mississippi State  (1-1)

College Football Week 1 Awards

September 5, 2011

Week one of the college football season is in the books.  Extreme weather put a damper on some of the games, however, there were some strong performances throughout the opening weekend. 

Offensive Player of the Week: Robert Griffin III – Baylor.  RG3 announced his Heisman candidacy to the nation, going 21-27 for 359 yards and 5 TD’s during the Bears’ scintillating upset of 14th ranked TCU. 

Defensive Player of the Week: Brandon Herron – Michigan.  Is this a sign that Michigan’s struggles on D are turning around?  Herron returned a fumble and an INT for a touchdown in the Wolverines’ weather-shortened 34-10 victory over Western Michigan.

Game of the Week: Baylor upsets TCU, 50-48.  Big plays from RG3, a great comeback by TCU, and a resurrection from the dead by Baylor made this Friday night contest an instant classic.

My Top 25

  1. Alabama 1-0
  2. Oklahoma 1-0
  3. LSU 1-0
  4. Boise St. 1-0
  5. Wisconsin 1-0
  6. Florida St. 1-0
  7. Texas A&M 1-0
  8. Virginia Tech 1-0
  9. Stanford 1-0
  10. Nebraska 1-0
  11. Oregon 0-1
  12. Oklahoma St. 1-0
  13. Ohio St. 1-0
  14. Arkansas 1-0
  15. South Carolina 1-0
  16. Mississippi St. 1-0
  17. Michigan St. 1-0
  18. Florida 1-0
  19. Arizona St. 1-0
  20. Baylor 1-0
  21. USF 1-0
  22. Texas 1-0
  23. Missouri 1-0
  24. USC 1-0
  25. Penn St. 1-0




Fearless NCAA Football Predictions

September 2, 2011

Finally, the opening of the college football season is upon us.  All of the off-season headaches and bad press can be pushed to page 2.  With an early slate of games already in the books, I thought I’d better make my predictions for the season before it’s too late.  So without further adieu, I give you my thoughts on the upcoming season.

Big 10 Champions: Wisconsin over a 3-conference loss Nebraska squad in Indianapolis

SEC: Alabama over Georgia in the SEC title tilt

Big 12: Oklahoma

Pac-12: Oregon will throttle Arizona State (taking the place of an ineligible USC) in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game.

Big East: Pitt

ACC: Florida State will knock an undefeated Va Tech out of the BCS Championship hunt  in the ACC title game.

BCS National Title: Alabama will ride their unbelievable stable of talent to the top of the BCS, as they will top Oklahoma for the national title. 

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Wisconsin

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Pitt

Fiesta Bowl: Boise St. vs. Notre Dame.  Some how, some way, even with 3 losses, the Irish will figure out a way to get into the BCS.

Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. Ohio St.  Will the voters put the Buckeyes on double secret probation and influence their final ranking?  Or will they break through any perceived biases?  It will be interesting how voters will rank teams that don’t even win their divisions, although it hasn’t seemed to hurt SEC squads in the past.  In fact, it may be worse to lose the conference title game than to not make it at all, much like I think will happen with Virginia Tech.

Heisman: Landry Jones – Oklahoma.  Do I think he’s the best player?  No, but he’ll meet all the criteria for recent winners.  Glamour position, tradition-rich school, and solid numbers for a national championship-contending team.  Look for LaMichael James of Oregon, Andrew Luck of Stanford and Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina to join Jones in NYC.

Blue Moon Over Miami

August 28, 2011

Well, it looks as if the whispers of another major college football scandal were true.  Yahoo! Sports broke the story of booster Nevin Shapiro and his decade- long history of improper benefits to Miami Hurricane athletes.  Will the NCAA invoke the so-called “death penalty” on the ‘Canes?  Afterall, this isn’t their first time they’ve been sideways with the NCAA, they’ve been flipping the proverbial bird at them for the past 25 plus years.

My guess is there will be multiple player suspensions, probation for the football team, and maybe some record book revisions.  I just think the NCAA is hesitant to kill a major program like Miami and will dole out a harsh punishment, without completely destroying the ‘Canes athletic department.