Okay, kids, it's time for the Crystal Ball Run Midseason College Football Awards. Let's work our way through this and then I'll take us all to In-n-Out Burger afterward…
Game of the Year: The first thought that comes to mind is, "We're still waiting for it." We're going to give a narrow edge to Notre Dame 20, Stanford 13 because it had far more drama than West Virginia 70, Baylor 63 (recall that the Mountaineers led Baylor at one point 56-35; the Bears never led after the second quarter).
Last week's game in South Bend may not have been as historic as NBC's Tom Hammond thought, but it did have an undefeated team needing to make a game-ending come-from-behind drive, a torrential downpour, yet another "Here I come to save the day…" Mighty Mouse appearance by Irish quarterback Tommy Rees, overtime, and a controversial game-ending goal-line stand. What's not to like – unless you're a Cardinal.
Offensive Player of the Year: Geno Smith, West Virginia. Twenty-five touchdown passes, zero interceptions. Smith leads the nation in passing efficiency.
True Road Win of the Year (because these are what separate the posers from powers): Kansas State 24, Oklahoma 19, in Norman. The Sooners came in ranked No. 6 and were 78-3 at home under Bob Stoops.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jadeveon Clowney is cartoonishly athletic and talented, but we will give the slight edge to senior Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te'o. Forget the numbers, which are legit if not best in the nation. Here's what matters: The Irish defense has not allowed a touchdown in four consecutive games to a quartet of opponents –Michigan State, Michigan, Miami and Stanford – who have all at one point been ranked in the Top 25.
Newcomer of the Year: Johnny Football! Who else? Texas A&M redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel is the ultimate gamer, as evidenced by his leading the nation in third-down rushing yardage and third-down passing yardage. Manziel is pure fun to watch.
"If You Can Read This, My
Bitch Team Fell Off… the Face of the Earth" Award: Arkansas. Before Bobby Petrino's April's Fool's Day ride for irony, the Hogs were considered a top-five caliber team. Then Petrino got deservedly canned and the Razorbacks fell to Louisiana-Monroe (no shame in that, in retrospect) and were obliterated, at home, by Alabama by a 52-0 score. SMILE!
Walk-On of the Year: Mike Weisman, RB, Iowa. If you follow Hawkeye football, you know that there is no place and position in the country where you more likely to see game action as a sixth-string walk-on than as a running back in Iowa City. If you omit the first game where he had only two carries, Weisman is averaging 156 yards per game. He's only a sophomore. Now, what word rhymes with Weisman?
Coolest Move by a Coach: Oregon State's Mike Riley taking the entire team to In-N-Out Burger after the Beavers upset UCLA in Pasadena. Make mine an Animal, please.
Martyrs of the Year: Savannah State, which surrendered (and we chose that verb deliberately) 132 points in six quarters at Oklahoma State and Florida State on consecutive Saturdays. SS? No, S.O.S.
Worst Defeat: The Red River Massacre. Texas' Mack Brown has a few more five-star recruits, and better facilities, and a program with arguably the nation's deepest pockets, at his disposal than say, Savannah State, but his Longhorns still trailed 56-8 at one stage against their most ardent rival. It ended up 63-21, but it was never anything more than an old-fashioned ass-whupping.
(Barbecued) Egg on Face Award: Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, who mocked N.C. State's Carter-Finley Stadium and the Wolfpack's fans only to squirm as N.C. State shocked unbeaten Florida State. To Staples' credit, he videotaped his mea culpa.
Best Prefix: Louisiana-. Louisiana-Monroe upset Arkansas and terrified Baylor, while Louisiana Tech is 4-1 and gave Texas A&M all it could handle last Saturday in a 59-57 loss. Louisiana Tech is the Johnny Manziel of football teams. Louisiana State is not too shabby, either.
Coach of the Year: S0 many candidates, but we'll go with Bill O'Brien at Penn State. The Nittany Lions should be 5-1 with their lone defeat to an unbeaten Ohio. If you saw Matt McGloin play last year, and when you think of all the talent that made an exodus, this is remarkable.