The Zig’s: First Annual College Football Awards

by Bryan Z. on December 4, 2012 · 5 comments

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That’s right boys and girls; my ego has become so big that I am actually passing out awards. I figure if one well-manicured overpaid ESPN analyst can do it, so can I. These awards aren’t for the faint of heart. I will not be passing out trophies for best wide receiver or quarterback.  I think there are already half a dozen awards for every position, so why add to the chaos? I prefer to focus on awards that go largely unnoticed by mainstream media, but not the fans. Some of these awards are about pointing out the imperfections, rather than showering praise on those that will get more than their fair share. There will be your typical awards, such as Coach of the Year and Player of the Year, but that’s about as mainstream as I am willing to get. These awards are about things that should be celebrated, or at least talked about, in college football, but aren’t. They’re about holding athletic directors, coaches, players, teams, schools and fans accountable. Well, really it’s about giving you my opinion on several different issues. After all, I have a blog and you don’t!

The nominees for all of these awards were endless. I had to weigh several different factors while considering not only the nominees, but the winner of each category as well. Preseason ranking was a factor, but it’s really not the fault of the school where they were slotted in the preseason polls. Nonetheless, it’s a factor that can’t be ignored. Win/loss record, style points, best win, worse loss, attendance, and finish were all very important criteria for these awards. Collectively, those factors shaped the landscape of college football and left us with a great upcoming bowl season. It’s time to celebrate the real moments of the season. Rent yourself a nice tuxedo, pop open a nice bottle of bubbly, and let’s dive head first into college football’s award season.

And The Zig goes to….

 

Flop of the Year!

Several schools were in the running for this award, but these three schools took the cake. It’s also no coincidence all three were in the preseason top 10.

The Nominees: Arkansas, Michigan, USC

Winner: USC

While all three are certainly worthy of winning this award, I am going with the team that started the year ranked number one in the country. USC is hands down the flop of the year. How bad did it get for the Trojans this year? At the end of the season, the USC athletic director actually had to address the media and let the world know that Lane Kiffin would be back next year. So much for the prodigal son returning.

 

Doctor Jekyll Mr. Hyde Award.

One week these teams look like world beaters.  The next they look like they’ve been beaten to within an inch of their life.

The Nominees: West Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma State

Winner: West Virginia

West Virginia takes this award in a land slide. The Mountaineers start the year 5-0 with a win over Texas and find themselves ranked in the top 5, so how do they follow-up that impressive start? By losing the next five games while giving up 49 points per game over the course of that losing streak. Their defense was a problem all year, and I knew it was going to cost them a game or two, but I never imagined it would cost them five and completely embarrass the program every weekend.

 

Worst Fire of the Year!

If there is one thing you can count on at the end of a season, its coaches being sent to the unemployment line.

The Nominees:   Purdue, NC State, Tennessee

Winner:  Purdue

We’ve talked about this time and again. All three schools were faced with a difficult decision and in my opinion, all three schools made the wrong one. Only time will tell if these schools got it right, but one school went out of its way to make the wrong decision. How Purdue can fire Danny Hope after four pretty decent seasons is beyond me. Good luck finding another coach that will beat Ohio State twice in four years. Good luck finding another coach that actually wants to coach your school, instead of using it as a stepping stone to a better program.

 

Biggest Draft Drop of the Year!

These players were set to start the year as first round draft picks. Through poor performance on the field or off the field issues, these players have cost themselves some nice coin.

The Nominees:  Tyler Wilson, Matt Barkley, Tyrann Mathieu’s

Winner: Tyrann Mathieu (the Honey Badger)

All three are very worthy nominees, and Matt Barkley almost stole this award. Barkley’s reasons for falling were on the field. He just didn’t play well this year. But NFL scouts are often times willing to look past that. A combination of a strong combine performance and the fact that NFL coaches think they can coach up anyone will make Barkley’s slide minimal compared to the Honey Badgers. Teams are becoming far less forgiving of off the field issues, and let’s face it, you can’t fix stupid. Couple that with the fact that he missed the entire season, and draft day could be a long day for Mr. Mathieu.

 

Ugliest ‘Alternate’ Uniforms of the Year

Can we please stop this madness? No one, other than Nike enjoys this garbage. If you insist on doing this, can you at least make it look better than a costume reject from “Any Given Sunday?”

The Nominees:  Notre Dame, UCLA, Maryland

Winner:  Notre Dame

This is a ridiculous trend that started a few years ago. It’s basically an attempt by Nike, or whoever is designing these uniforms for these schools, to get you to shell out a few more dollars and buy an extra jersey you don’t need. You can make a case that every single school that participates in this nonsense should be on this list, but the above three schools take it to a whole different level with Notre Dame leading the charge. If the Irish are willing to part ways with their iconic Gold helmets for even one game, then you know all you need to know about the high regard they hold their traditions.

 

Biggest No Show of the Year!

These games were the head stretchers. These teams simply took the day off and did not show up. In some cases, it cost the team a chance to play for the national title.

The Nominees:  Kansas State vs. Baylor, Louisville vs. Syracuse, Nebraska vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten Title Game)

Winner: Kansas State vs. Baylor

This was a no brainer. If you follow Junior D Sports (and we hope you do) and read my weekly picks, I actually called for the upset and picked Baylor to win this game. But it’s how Baylor beat Kansas State that earned the Wildcats this honor. Kansas State was clearly overwhelmed by the moment and showed the entire country on national TV that they were not true national title contenders. It’s a shame too. They finished the season 11-1 and ended with a whipping of the Longhorns. Now they get a shot at mild redemption, with a chance to prove their worth against Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.

 

Worst Debut of the Year!

The Nominees:  Mike Leach (Washington State), Charlie Weis (Kansas), Tim Beckman (Illinois)

Winner: Tim Beckman (Illinois)

This was a tossup between Charlie (the uterus) Weis and Tim Beckman. While they both walked into a miserable situation, I think Beckman had a little more to work with than Charlie did. Plus, Beckman has the benefit of coaching in the Big Ten. While I have gone on record saying that coaches need more time to develop their programs, I’ll also go on record and say this: Beckman better get it figured out quick, or next season might be his last in the land of Lincoln.

 

Rivalry Game of the Year!

Rivalry weekend in college football is the best weekend in sports. Even if you have no skin in these games, you are going to see hard-hitting intense football.

The Nominees:  Ohio State vs. Michigan, Florida vs. Florida State, Notre Dame vs. USC

Winner:  Ohio State vs. Michigan

You can call this a homer pick if you like, but this rivalry is the best in all of sports. Admittedly it’s been extremely one-sided over the last decade, and then there was Michigan’s dark days under Rich Rod. If you watched The Game this past November, then you saw evidence that this game is back. These schools hate each other. Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke hate each other. Their battles and hatred spill onto the recruiting trail as well. The days of this rivalry being so one-sided are over, I think we’re in store for another 10 year war.

 

Nine Lives Award

How do these coaches continue to stay employed? Some schools pull the trigger way to fast on a coach, but these schools don’t seem to mind losing…often.

The Nominees: Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech), Bo Pelini (Nebraska)

Winner: Kirk Ferentz (Iowa)

Kirk might be the most overrated head coach in the history of college football. He makes an eye-popping $3.67 million a year. That’s not a joke. And what do the good people of Iowa have to show for it? His career record at Iowa is 100-74 with an extremely impressive 4-8 this season. How do you justify that kind of salary with those kinds of results? Well, every four years, when Ferentz has a senior ridden team that can actually win more than six games; he threatens to leave for the NFL. If I were Iowa, the next time he did so, I would help him pack his bags.

 

Biggest Joke of the Year!

This is the award for the worst conference in college football. I would like nothing more than to see these conferences stop playing football.

The Nominees: The Big Ten, The ACC, The Big East

Winner: The ACC

I tried my best to give this award to the Big Ten, but at the end of the day, the ACC has proven itself to be the most dreadful conference in football. Seven teams in the ACC finished with six or more losses compared to six for the Big Ten. The ACC only has two teams (Florida State and Clemson) in the top 25. The Big Ten has three (Northwestern, Michigan and Nebraska.) If you count Ohio State, and you should, the Big Ten has four plus the only other unbeaten team in the country.  Add to the fact that the Buckeyes would handle Florida State and Clemson on a neutral field, and the ACC is crowned with the worst conference in college football. I know, it surprised me too.

 

New Comer of the Year!

These three freshmen showcased their talents and gave their fans something to look forward to for years to come. Just one year of college football, and they’re already household names.

The Nominees: Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, Todd Gurley

The Winner: Todd Gurley

I know, I know, you all think I’m crazy. How could I not give this award to “Johnny Football?” While I do agree, Manziel is proving to be a great player, I’ll also say this about the freshman; he is a poor man’s Braxton Miller.  Miller had more rushing yards, and he is by far the better athlete. But onto Gurley. All this kid did was lead the SEC in rushing with almost 1,300 yards and scored 16 touchdowns.   He certainly did his part in the SEC Championship game as well, rushing for over 120 yards and two touchdowns. This kid’s future is as bright as the sun.

 

Blunder of the Year!

From conference expansion to clock management, these moves left my mouth agape as I silently questioned what the hell was happening.

The Nominees: The Big Ten Adding Rutgers and Maryland, Georgia’s Clock Management at the end of the SEC championship game, The BCS leaving out Oklahoma and LSU

The Winner: Georgia’s Clock Management

While I am absolutely appalled by the Big Ten’s addition of two awful teams, Georgia’s clock management at the end of the SEC title game will forever be lesson number one of what not to do in the coaches’ handbook.  With zero time outs, they march the ball down the field inside the 20 yard line.  They elect not to spike the ball with the clock winding down, a move that would have left about 10 seconds on the clock and at least two shots at the end zone. But hey, it’s not like it cost them a trip to the national title game, oh wait…

 

Coach of the Year

There were some extremely impressive coaching jobs done this year; some by guys in a new conference with a new team, and some by guys that have been around the block.

The Nominees: Will Muschamp, Brian Kelly, Kevin Sumlin

Winner: Kevin Sumlin

All three are truly worthy nominees, and any other year Muschamp and Kelly would probably walk away with the hardware. So what did Sumlin do his first year to win him this, and what is sure to be other honors? He went 10-2, beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and led the Aggies to their first 10-win season in over a decade. Oh, and he went 6-2 in the school’s first year in the SEC when everyone in the country was so sure that A&M was going to get destroyed in that conference. He also set the record for most wins by a first year Aggies head coach. How do you possible follow that up? I for one am looking forward to seeing him try.

 

Player of the Year

The “Zigmen” if you will. This award features offense and defensive of players with the only real focus being can their team live without them?

The Nominees:  Braxton Miller, Collin Klein, Manti Te’o

Winner: Manti Te’o

Hands down the best player in college football.  I don’t care that he doesn’t have the sexy offensive stats that some of the other players have. Te’o has something you can’t coach, character. Ask yourself, if you were building a team from scratch, what do would you need to get started? More often than not people will say a quarterback, and I would usually agree with them if Te’o wasn’t around. Give me a kid that is going to solidify my defense, never have off the field issues, and make everyone around him a better person and player. In short, I’ll take Te’o; you can have the overpriced prima donna.

 

Zig’s Top 10

Here is my top 10 heading into bowl season:

1)      Notre Dame

2)      Alabama

3)      Ohio State

4)      Florida

5)      Oregon

6)      Texas A&M

7)      Georgia

8)      Stanford

9)      LSU

10)   South Carolina

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

John December 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Well, I hope you feel good after sharing the above……..?? I know it must matter……to someone

Breezy December 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Manziel plays in the SEC, Braxton Miller the Big 10. Manziel is definitely no poor mans version.

Boone Barrow December 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Manti Te’o for player of the year. Tell me this–if he GF and GM don’t die, is he even a nominee? the INT’s are impressive. He has an above average (but certainly not excellent) total tackles of 100 (ave 8.5 per game), but only 46 solo tackles. That tells me he was better at running into players that were slowed down or hit by another of his teammates. There’s a half a dozen defensive players I’d take before him. Most are in the SEC.

LadySutton December 6, 2012 at 8:45 am

I thought the awards were beyond funny Zig! I’d much rather read this over my morning coffee then have to sit through ANOTHER oh soooo boring Heisman award ceremony!!!

Bill M. December 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm

No show game nominee: Georgia at South Carolina. USC chicken kicked UGA for their only loss until the SEC Championship game.

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