College football hands out most of its awards this week. There's the show tonight to present most of the awards, and then on Saturday is the Heisman Trophy presentation, where Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is likely to make history as the second freshman to ever win the award.
In the spirit of the awards season, we at Dr. Saturday (Graham Watson and Nick Bromberg) are handing out some hardware of our own:
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Watson: Jordan Lynch, QB Northern Illinois
Yes, most people would say Jameis Winston here and while Winston had a phenomenal year, it’s hard to ignore Lynch’s incredible numbers. He threw for 2,676 yards, 23 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He also rushed for 1,881 yards, which included two (TWO!) 300-yard rushing games. He’s the nation’s second-leading rusher and his rushing numbers – just rushing numbers – are better than the numbers of former Alabama running back Mark Ingram when he won the Heisman in 2009.
I'm making this pick knowing that if I had a Heisman vote I would vote for Jameis Winston and that this is not an award for best player in college football. That's why I'm taking Jordan Lynch. No player was more important to his team's offense than Lynch -- not even Johnny Manziel -- and his statistics are eye-popping, even if you're going to immediately counter that he played in the MAC against Eastern and Western Michigan and others.
Honorable mention: Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey, Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, Boston College RB Andre Williams, Florida State QB Jameis Winston
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Watson: Michael Sam, DE, Missouri
Sam was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, the first defensive player of the year for the Tigers since 1981. He led the SEC in sacks with 10.5 and had 18 tackles for loss. He was part of an energized defense that helped lead Missouri to the SEC title game. Sam is what everyone expected South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney to be this season.
Bromberg: Aaron Donald, DL, Pitt
Jadeveon Clowney. Kidding. It's Aaron Donald of Pitt. Much like Clowney, he was gameplanned against every single week and still had 26.5 tackles for a loss. Plus, he played with talent that was less than the caliber of Clowney's teammates on South Carolina's line. If you haven't seen Pitt all year -- and if you're not a Pitt fan or an ACC diehard, that's probably pretty likely -- watch the Little Caesar's Bowl if only for Pitt's defensive possessions.
Honorable mention: Alabama LB CJ Mosley, Ole Miss DB Cody Prewitt, Stanford LB Shayne Skov, UCLA LB Anthony Barr
COACH OF THE YEAR
Watson: David Cutcliffe, Duke
Cutcliffe has made Duke a power in the ACC. Never thought I would ever write that sentence, but the turnaround Cutcliffe has orchestrated at Duke is nothing short of remarkable. The Blue Devils had their first 10-win season and their first division title. And while they were outmatched in the ACC title game, they still gave Florida State a test for a half. Duke is a fantastic success story this season.
Yes, Gus Malzahn is going to ride the BCS title appearance to the majority of the Coach of the Year awards, but Auburn was in the BCS Championship Game just three years ago. Sure, the Tigers were awful last year, but the pedigree of Auburn is far superior to the Pedigree of Duke. Plus, the Blue Devils had to win their final two games of the season on the road to win the ACC Coastal and they did it. Auburn's miracles came at home.
Honorable mention: Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Auburn's Gus Malzahn, Missouri's Gary Pinkel
GAME OF THE YEAR
Watson: Alabama vs. Auburn, Nov. 30
We’ve all seen the end of this game about 100 times already and we’ll probably see it 100 times more as we head into bowl season. But it’s important to remember that there were several awesome plays that led up to Chris Davis’ field goal return for a touchdown that gave Auburn the 34-28 win over the nation’s No. 1 team. Not only is this the game of the year, but it will probably be considered one of the best games in college history.
Bromberg: Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt, Aug. 29
Why is that the game of the year? Simply because it provided us with a preview of what was to come in the SEC. Alabama-Texas A&M, LSU-Georgia, South Carolina-Missouri, Auburn against A&M, Georgia and Alabama, Tennessee-Vanderbilt, the Egg Bowl. The list goes on and on. The final three minutes of that game may not have had the one-time wildness that Auburn's two miracles did. But damn, it was a fun soothsayer.
Honorable mention: Auburn's immaculate deflection against Georgia; Fresno State's epic 52-51 overtime win against Rutgers in the season opener; USC's upset of Stanford; San Jose State's upset of Fresno State; Florida's loss to Georgia Southern, Ohio State's escape against Michigan
It’s hard to argue this one. The Tigers were 3-9 last season and fired head coach Gene Chizik. They weren’t even receiving votes in the AP poll until Week 4 and didn’t make an appearance in the Top 25 until Week 8. Now they’re playing in the national championship. They are one of only three teams since 1982 to go from being unranked to the national championship. What Gus Malzahn has done with that team is simply amazing.
Bromberg: The quality of the Big 10
The conference started with five teams in the AP Top 25 -- sans Michigan State -- and finished with three. Nobody thought that the conference would be at the level of the Pac-12 and the SEC this season, but it wasn't pretty this season. Sure, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue helped contribute to that, but you could make an argument for the ACC over the Big 10. And the simple thought of that makes Big Ten loyalists nauseated.
Honorable mention: Missouri, Duke
For the second consecutive season, Oregon was on the cusp of playing for a national title and stumbled. Heck, the Ducks were picked to win the Pac-12 and couldn’t even accomplish that. The team looked so disinterested in the latter quarter of the season that they blew a chance to go to the Rose Bowl with a loss to Arizona and found itself left out of the BCS altogether for the first time since 2008.
Bromberg: Texas Tech
The team coached by one-time national sensation Kliff Kingsbury slid into the fraud category after the surprising 7-0 start. Sure, not many expected the undefeated season to continue through the heart of conference play -- Tech's schedule was backloaded -- but after the fight that Tech put up against Oklahoma, 10 wins looked reasonable. Instead, the Red Raiders finished the season with five straight losses and are heavy underdogs to Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.
Honorable mention: Texas A&M, Northwestern, Boise State
MOST TIMELY FIRING
Watson: Lane Kiffin, USC
When USC athletic director Pat Haden decided to relieve Lane Kiffin of his duties prior to the Trojans’ bye week and promote assistant Ed Orgeron, it was the best decision he could have made. The Trojans started the season 3-2 and finished on a 6-2 run. It was the best mid-season turnaround of any team in the country.
Bromberg: Manny Diaz, Texas DC
If it's not USC's removal of Lane Kiffin to salvage a 9-4 season, it's Texas' removal of Manny Diaz. After being gashed against BYU, the Horns' defensive coordinator was relieved of his duties and Greg Robinson was installed as the new coordinator. That drew guffaws from many around college football, but the defense improved vastly under Robinson's watch and Texas was in a win-and-in-the-Fiesta-Bowl situation on the final week of the season.
Watson: Ed Orgeron, USC
I know, I know, Orgeron wasn’t fired, but allowing him to leave USC was a big mistake. Some might even saying hiring Steve Sarkisian over Orgeron was a huge mistake. In any case, as genius as Pat Haden was in promoting Orgeron to lead the Trojans after Kiffin’s firing, he was equally as stupid in not considering him for the position permanently.
Bromberg: Brian Wright, FAU
Let's go a little off the radar and say Florida Atlantic's decision not to retain interim coach Brian Wright. Wright took over after the Carl Pelini removal fiasco and the Owls reeled off four straight wins to become bowl eligible at 6-6. Mind you, there were four games remaining in the season when he took over. It's not like he could have done any better. FAU ended up without a bowl because of the glut of teams eligible this season, but this was a school that hadn't been eligible in five years.
FIRING NOBODY NOTICED
Watson: Don Treadwell, Miami (OH)
When Miami (OH) fired Treadwell on Oct. 6, the Redhawks had just lost to Central Michigan and were 0-5. The Redhawks finished the season 0-12, one of only two teams in the country to finish winless this season (Georgia State). Sadly, that 21-9 loss to Central Michigan was actually one of the closer results for Miami (OH) this season. It’s amazing to think this team won 10 games and a Mid-American Conference title in 2010.
Paul Pasqualoni's dismissal at UConn was news because of his name recognition. Ron English's at Eastern Michigan was because of the taped rant. That's why it's Don Treadwell's dismissal at Miami (OH). The Redhawks might have given Southern Miss a run for worst team in FBS with or without Treadwell as coach.
Watson: Clemson’s Daniel Rodriguez scores on Military Appreciation Day
Receiver Daniel Rodriguez walked on at Clemson last year following a stint in the military that included being awarded a Purple Heart, and on Nov. 23, when the Tigers were playing The Citadel on Military Appreciation Day, he accomplished another feat. Late in the fourth quarter, Rodriguez took a pitch and ran it in for a two-yard score, the first score of his collegiate career. It was one of the great moments of the season.
Bromberg: Ed Orgeron's transformation
The Cajun was the butt of many jokes when he took the reins after Lane Kiffin's firing, but he approached the job learning from his mistakes at Ole Miss and it showed. He had fun, made sure the players enjoyed themselves, and he coached his tail off while his players played their tails off for him. Orgeron should have gotten the permanent job at USC, but he's not going to be out of work very long.
Honorable mention: Henry Josey's 1,000 yard season, Derek Carr's family
BEST SPECIAL UNIFORMS
Watson: Hawaii’s throwbacks
Who doesn’t love a good throwback and the Rainbow Warriors did their “Retro Night” proud. While the rainbows on the jerseys, pants and gloves were great, it was the black cleats that reflected rainbows in the light that got me. Those were some of the best throwback uniforms I’ve seen in some time.
Bromberg: Oregon's all-green look
Yeah, the Ducks changed uniforms almost every week, but these were the best. Simple and subtle. For Oregon, anyway.
WORST SPECIAL UNIFORMS
Watson: Kentucky’s logo thigh pads
— UK Equipment Staff (@UKequipment) October 23, 2013
This was probably the most-poorly executed idea of the season. I suppose it had the potential to be cool, but a lot of players either didn’t wear them or you couldn’t tell they were wearing them. Seems like a waste of money on something that didn’t gain a lot of traction.
Bromberg: Northwestern, or anything with lots of camouflage
Honorable mention: West Virginia's mustard helmets, Indiana's candy cane helmets
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