It's time once again for the college football awards, where this week we lament the soon-to-be end of the season and award the best (and worst) for another week.
Let's get started...
The "Touchdown Jesus" award goes to Notre Dame
And yes, we really should be careful of the religious overtones involved here, but when you find yourself running low on puns to use for awards, well, that's the risk you run. But we're quite sure here at the college football awards that if Jesus cared about football (which he more than likely doesn't. You know, a little busy with the whole "world is ending in 27 days" thing and all), that even he would appreciate the story that is Notre Dame's return to the top of the college football world. And besides, some people would say (but I never would), that they're going to be playing Satan itself when they face the SEC champion in the title game. Lou Holtz accepted this award on his former school's behalf, but not before making Mark May present to him dressed in a leprechaun costume.
The "once more, with feeling" award goes to UCLA and Stanford
That's great, Stanford. You beat UCLA to advance to the Pac-12 title game. Now,, all you have to do is beat UCLA AGAIN this week to win the Pac-12. The good news for the Cardinal and their fans, though, is that at least they will get to be the home team in the rematch. But since there's a trip to the Rose Bowl (the game, not the stadium these teams have played each other in already), on the line, we're guessing that neither David Shaw or Jim Mora are going to leave anything on the table. And hey, we may have already seen this movie, and you know what they say about sequels, but at least someone actually WANTS to win the Pac-12. Which is more than we can say for the conference that is about to be awarded next.
The "does any want the puppy in the window" award goes to the Big East
Yes, it is true that if Rutgers beats Louisville on Thursday night that they will win the Big East's automatic bid to the BCS, but that doesn't change the fact that there might well end up being a four-way tie for the actual conference title that would also involve Connecticut and Syracuse, and thus a whole host of headache-inducing tiebreakers would have to be implemented to decide their BCS representative if Louisville wins. Let's all pray that doesn't happen, just because there probably isn't enough headache powder in the world to cover it up. That's the main difference between the Big East and the proverbial puppy in the window: One's cute, cuddly, adorable and wanted by everyone. And then there's the Big East.
The "national semifinalists" award goes to Alabama & Georgia
Because, as hard as the BCS tries to over-complicate things, that's exactly what the Crimson Tide Bulldogs are, since things really are so simple now that the winner advances straight to the national title game against Notre Dame. And while a win would mean a lot to both teams, some teams probably have more incentive to win than others. Naturally, since Nick Saban is both a devil and also made a deal with THE devil, we're guessing Mark Richt and the Bulldogs should take advantage of this opportunity. When this award was presented, all that was heard in the awards hall was the insane cackling of the once thought to be dead SEC ghost, having now completely risen from the ashes most of us buried them in a couple of weeks ago.
The "college football awards' Heisman Trophy" award goes to Johnny Manziel
Will our voting mirror the voting of the "establishment" that will award the (supposedly) most prestigious award in college football? Who knows. We'd like to think, freshman or not, that "Johnny Football" has done enough exciting things to at least be considered. With his stiffest competition no doubt coming from the undefeated Irish's play-making linebacker Manti Te'o, it seems the "Heisman establishment" will likely have to do SOMETHING it doesn't want to do: give it to the freshman, or award it to a straight defensive player for the first time ever. If I had a vote (and, as I've mentioned a time or two, I don't), though, it would go to Manziel, even if all of us here at the college football awards might've been a little late to that party in the first place.
The "coaching 101 dropout" award goes to Lane Kiffin
We're not trying to say that had Kiffin done a smarter job with managing the end of the game with Notre Dame that the Trojans could've knocked off the Irish, but it certainly didn't help their matters any to see Kiffin completely botch the clock (and situational football in general), in ways that made Jason Garrett stand up and say "you're doing it all wrong, Lane." And, as anyone who has seen a Cowboys game at any time this year no doubt knows, that's hard to do in and of itself. But the fact that he almost single-handedly put the Irish in the title game with his end of game "management" had to make everyone in Knoxville, Tennessee, smile too. After all, they probably blame Lane for the shape their failing program is in, too, just like they no doubt do in LA these days.
The "who's your daddy?" award goes to Dabo Swinney
And, since that is really more of a question than it is an actual award, the answer to that question would be Steve Spurrier. You see, once upon a time, Swinney was the official coach of the college football awards. Then he made the mistake of getting smart with the OBC and things haven't been the same, particularly on the football field against South Carolina, where daddy Spurrier is now 3-0 against Swinney in the "battle of the Palmetto State." As punishment for Dabo's continued transgressions, he has lost his right to a BCS payday, and must go stand in the corner until daddy Steve tells him it's okay to come out. And given the animosity between the two of them and their programs, he'll be there a while.
The "University of Oregon award for fashion excess" goes to Arizona
The one thing that was all the rage this week in college football besides rivalry games was the monochromatic uniform look. Some schools made it look good (such as UCLA and there inverted monochromatic look of wearing all blue with gold lettering on the helmets), and others...well, others didn't look so good. And I'm looking at you when I say that, Arizona. It seems quite obvious to me that they must've been approved by the Kool-Aid man, because, otherwise, someone must've been color-blind to allow the blood red monochromatic color scheme to see the light of day. They were so hideous that we even had to get a new presenter for the award this week, Arizona alum and former softball star Taryne Mowatt, who is probably the only one who could make those things look good.
The "12-0*" award goes to Ohio State
*I'm sure somewhere in the annals of time you'll be able to find another school that accomplished what the Buckeyes accomplished this year and had an undefeated season whilst on NCAA probation. But in the constant media scrutiny of today's day and age, never before has a team on probation, rather they went undefeated or not, for that matte, received the attention that the Buckeyes have for their perfect season. And even though most people have formed the opinion, wrong as it is, that had Ohio State elected to impose a bowl ban a year ago that they would be in the national title picture this year, they are still eligible to be voted as the AP's national champion. Probably won't happen, but they are. They're also eligible for this award.
*Note from the NCAA: The last award didn't happen, due to Ohio State being on probation. Please pay no attention to the final result of the vote, and expunge it from the record.
The "feel good story of the year" goes to Penn State
If the NCAA didn't like our last award, they're probably not going to like this one much, either. But regardless of what anyone thinks, the Nittany Lions, ineligible for the post-season or not, are hands-down winners in that category, thanks to an 8-win season that was capped off by beating Big Ten title-game bound Wisconsin on Senior Day in State College. And no matter who you are or what kind of football fan you are, that's who you have to feel the best for. So we're going to end the show on the best note possible and award this to all of those Penn State seniors that chose to stay and help the program recover. That's what sports are all about, after all.
That's it for this week. Join us next week for the last regular-season edition.