Not all college football awards are created equal
BY STEVE GREENBERG Staff Reporter December 15, 2013 7:15PM
Our college football writer picked Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner (above) to win the Jim Thorpe Award as the best defensive back in the country, but Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard won it. | AP
Updated: December 15, 2013 8:48PM
Apparently, I’m even more boring than I had realized.
I’m a voter for a bunch of college football’s national awards. My No. 1 vote for the Heisman Trophy went to Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who was also my pick for the Davey O’Brien Award. I chose Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks for the Biletnikoff Award and gave UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr the nod for the Lott Impact Trophy.
My Football Writers Association of America Coach of the Year pick was Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, who will be a slam dunk when that award is presented Jan. 4.
All winners. Baa.
That was me being a sheep, in case it wasn’t obvious.
The only one I dared to whiff on was the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in the country. I went with Florida State’s Lamarcus Joyner, not eventual winner Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State.
None of these made the cut for ESPN’s fancy college football awards show, but let me add to the pile anyway before we turn our attention to the bowls.
Best play, on the field: In hindsight, I’m not sure it was Auburn’s ‘‘Kick Six’’ to beat Alabama. Chris Davis’ 109-yard return of a missed field goal on the final play of the Iron Bowl is etched in lore, but I lean toward Auburn’s ‘‘Immaculate Deflection’’ two weeks before. On fourth-and-18 in the final seconds, Ricardo Louis hauled in a tipped pass from Nick Marshall and ran it in for a 73-yard touchdown to beat Georgia. The Alabama game was headed for overtime, but the Georgia game was a loss for the Tigers — no SEC championship, no BCS title shot — if not for that play.
Best play, off the field: This one goes to Nick Saban’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, for floating the phony story that Saban might consider leaving Alabama for Texas. Hello, massive raise and contract extension.
True freshman of the year: Myles Jack, UCLA. Part linebacker, part running back, entirely amazing. And unlike Winston this year and Johnny Manziel in 2012, he isn’t a second-year college athlete masquerading as a brand-new guy.
Quote of the year: ‘‘I do excel
in situations where people think very, very little of us. For those of you who want to, vote us lower. I mean that will all my heart. Then just sit back and watch.’’ — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, before his first Razorbacks team went 0-8 in the SEC.
Overachiever award: Duke. Tens wins there equals nobody at any other school ever gets to complain about his program’s built-in disadvantages again.
Underachiever award: Northwestern. There were a lot of injuries. Some crazy stuff happened, such as a Hail Mary loss. But an 0-7 start to the Big Ten season — well, that just plain defied possibility.