It's time for another edition of the college football awards, where this week, chaos was the big winner, and the losers resided in Oregon, Kansas, and anti-Notre Dame living rooms. And the SEC is back, in case anyone forgot about them.
The "wake up the echoes & shake down the thunder" award goes to Notre Dame
The last time the Irish were #1 in any poll, Lou Holtz was still on their sideline, the BCS hadn't even been thought of yet, and a certain freelance writer who would grow up to invent stupid fake awards shows in his head was only 13. The date in question, now that you all feel old (and me, too), is November 16, 1993. Now, 19 years and 2 days later, the echoes have been awakened and the thunder has been shook down.
They do still have to play USC (more than likely without the services of Matt Barkley), but for now, the Irish are back on top. Brian Kelly accepted the award and showed off a new, never-before-seen color of the "Brian Kelly's Facial Terror Alert" system: jolly red. Appropriate, since it's not Thanksgiving yet, but Christmas has already come for the Irish.
The "bear trap" award goes to Baylor
Because what happened to the previous #1 Kansas State in Waco can only be described as a "bear trap." That would be a LITERAL one, of course, at the hands of Baylor's Bears. But for a school that is often the butt of many jokes (and often by me), they sure have done a lot of field-storming in Waco lately. When whoever wins the Heisman now that Collin Klein almost certainly won't gives his acceptance speech, we here at the college football awards hope they mail a piece of it to Waco. This award was presented by a former colleague of mine, who is a Baylor fan, and took the time to lay out his plan for college football's future, which we will reveal in full here:
How cool would it be if college football were like this: You play your scheduled games unless you are ranked number 1 or 2. Every week whoever's 1 hosts 2. But loser cannot be in the match-up the following week ( they resume their scheduled slate of games for at least one week or longer). There's always a top opponent facing the top team, always a marquee match-up.
Pretty good, right?
(All credit for the above plan goes to my former TCC Collegian colleague David Boyd.)
Now, back to the show.
The "new Heisman favorite" award goes to Johnny Manziel
Come on. You HAD to know this one was coming from the minute that Baylor started blowing the doors off Kansas State's wagon. I know, I know. "No freshmen has ever won the award", you say. "He's only had one marquee game this year", you say. I was saying those things, too, right up until Baylor effectively ended the season for Collin Klein and the 'Cats. It will be an interesting Heisman race to watch this year, though, as with Oregon also losing, the smart money says that rather you go with defense (Manti Te'O), or with the freshman Manziel, history is liable to made with the vote this year. But if we had a vote (and we don't), we would definitely be leaning towards Johnny Football, despite the Irish being undefeated currently.
The "smartest guys in the room" award goes to Stanford
It's often been said (and, quite honestly, often derisively), that the Cardinal and their players are the "smartest guys in the room:, due to Stanford's "Ivy League of the West" moniker. But, at least in this case, it's true. How else do you explain the fact that everyone seemed to have formed the opinion in recent weeks that Oregon's offense was unstoppable. That may have been true...until they ran into the mental giants on David Shaw's defensive coaching staff, at least. Granted, they got a little bit of help in that matter by the unkind iron of a goalpost on a shanked field goal on Oregon's overtime possession, but as is often said, they don't ask you HOW you won, just IF you won. And that was never more appropriate than in college football this week.
The "kings of LA" award goes to UCLA
Remember last year when UCLA backed into the Pac 12 title game at 6-6 after losing to big, bad USC 50-0? Yeah, that's what we thought. We're pretty sure that no one at the University of California-Los Angeles does any more, either. That's because all they probably remember now is beating USC (and separating Matt Barkley's shoulder, according to reports), and now getting the chance to play in the Rose Bowl (the game) at the Rose Bowl (their stadium) on New Year's Day. Think that's confusing? Don't get us started on the possibility of the Bruins having to potentially defeat Stanford twice in six days (in two different stadiums), just to win the Pac 12. And if your head hurts after all that, well. cheer up. At least you're not Lane Kiffin.
"The Tavon Awesome" award goes to Tavon Austin
Yes, West Virginia's defense got torched...again. And yes, West Virginia lost because of it...AGAIN. But none of that takes away from the best individual performance you're likely to ever see in the Mountaineers' 50-49 loss to Oklahoma. That's because Tavon Austin, or, as he is known, Tavon "Awesome", totaled 572 all-purpose yards in the loss (344 on the ground, 84 in the air & 146 return yards) to break the Bid 12 record for all-purpose yardage in a game. Sadly, the two things he couldn't do were kick and play defense...or, the two things that the Mountaineers couldn't do as a team in their fifth straight loss. The Stoops brothers, Bob & Mark, were to present this award to Austin, but instead, they were left chasing him like their defense was all night after he ran off with it.
The "University of Oregon award for fashion excess" goes to Virginia Tech
Open and shut case with this one this week, as the Hokies apparently decided that wearing a helmet with a cartoonish-looking turkey (yes, I know a Hokie is NOT a turkey), on it was a good idea. Thanksgiving might be Thursday, but we here at the college football awards still can't condone the wearing of a turkey on their lids. Oh wait? It's really a HOKIE, you say? Well, that changes...NOTHING. Besides, does anyone out there really know what a Hokie is supposed to be/look like, anyway? Thought so. As always, the lovely & talented Amanda Pflugrad presented this award, keeping a brave face despite the tough loss by her Ducks, proving SOMEONE with Oregon ties is a winner tonight, at least...
The "rising Tide" award goes to Alabama
I tried to warn all of you last week that the monster known as the SEC was likely to rise again. Little did any of us know, though, that it would happen so quickly, otr so dramatically. But now that the SEC is pretty much assured at the chance to play for a seventh straight BCS(EC) title, we can take a little bit of solace that, provided they take care of their business against Auburn and Georgia, it will at least be the defending champs, and best team in the conference, from Tuscaloosa, getting to play for another title. However, due to Bama likely playing in their third title game since Nick Saban took over the team, we must now ask Mr. Saban to reveal what devil he sold his soul to in order to keep being the bane of everyone's existence.
The "BCS(EC)" award goes to the BCS
We're not going to lie. We here at the college football awards are starting to believe in the existence of a government-enabled plot that always results in the SEC being allowed to play in thre BCS championship game. I mean, I can live with the unpredictability of the games themselves (that's what makes college football great), but it's the little things like lining up SIX SEC teams in a row from numbers 4-9 last week that even made it possible for an SEC team to benefit from chaos in the first place, that makes us stop and wonder. But, maybe we're just conspiracy theorists. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
*The X-Files Note: The truth is out there.*
The "expansionpalooza" award goes to Maryland
Surprise, it's back. And by "it's back", we mean yet more expansion talk that no one needs or wants. In this case, it would appear to center around Maryland (and, to a lesser extent, Rutgers), wanting to strike a deal with the Big Ten. There are so many things in that sentence that don't make sense, not the least of which is that I would think that no matter how bad off the Big Ten might be in the eyes of the college football fan, that they could certainly do better than MARYLAND AND RUTGERS in a potential expansion situation. But I guess in the end, we were the foolish ones, for thinking that this silly "expansion" business was actually done for good.
That will do it for this week. Two more shows left for the regular season. Join us again next week.