And the winners are:
The Heidi Klum, as in Boom! Boom! Award
Quarterback Jarrett Brown spent an evening in Morgantown with the chicks on the runway, then he flew to Auburn and laid an egg. Now, I'm not drawing a huge parallel here. Being a model is fine avocation for a handsome athlete such as Jarrett. And, I'm just as guilty of getting caught up in his celebrity. I sent the 'JB for Heisman!' texts out to a few folks from the East Carolina game. We all must be careful and take this one game at a time.
The Sally Field Academy Award Presentation Award
You may remember some years ago Ms. Field gushing "You like me! You really like me!" after receiving her Best Actress Oscar. If not, I just described to you how embarrassing it was. The play-by-play man and the commentator, nominally from ESPN but obvious SEC homers, did however love the Mountaineer receivers, loved their size and speed, loved their football abilities, and on and on. And we love them, too. Alric, Bradley, Jock, Wes, and the crew. Now, shut up, ESPN, and talk about the defense.
The Bon Jovi Livin' On A Prayer Award
The defense spent the evening on The Plains with their backs against the wall. Having to fight against both Auburn's high-octane offense and the inordinant amount of turnovers the Mountaineers laid out, it's a small victory that the WVU D held the Tigers to 34 offensive points. Consider this: the majority of those points came late when the defense had rubber legs. But they still fought valiantly through that. To go to SEC Land with 87,000 fans and all that emotion and everything else stacked against you...well, Mountaineer fans have to be proud of their defense.
The Tom Cruise I Have a Need For Speed! Award
Running back Noel Devine was much more than present and accounted for. Auburn interestingly did not have an answer for his incredible jet speed. Not only is he hard to find and get a good lick on, when Noel gets behind you you're done. So, why didn't the coaches call plays to simply hand Noel the ball, especially late in the game?
The Republican/FOX News Health Care Town Hall Shout Down Award
Two things: a) it's apparent head coach Bill Stewart was playing some gamesmanship with the statuses of both Reed Williams' and Scooter Berry's injuries, and b) it seemed as if the decisions to play either men were gametime. That's completely up to the coach as to how to handle such matters. However, the void created by conflicting information is like blood in a tank of sharks, with the media being the big teeth-bearing fish. I personally do not care. I'm a citizen sportswriter who offers only wild opinions such as this shark opinion. I'm just reminding the coach that we're all in this together and everyone has to step gingerly.
The Audrey Hepburn My Fair Lady The Rain Falls Mainly on The Plains Award
An absolute deluge of a rainstorm did not back away the fans for this game, on the Tiger or the Mountaineer sides. I had a chance to go and I didn't and I'm glad. My dry family room with my dry family was a great venue, except for having to listen to the announcers. Still, after the game, my friend, who is fastidious in his appearance, could not stop talking about how wonderful the evening was and about how nice the Auburn fans treated him as well as the West Virginia fans he knows.
The Oh, No! There Goes Tokyo! Godzilla Award
I commented in my pregame pieces that this Auburn game was the game that the offensive line had to come of age. They certainly did. Garnering 508 yards of total offense, 30 points, and doing this despite the multitude of turnovers is due first and almost solely to the big men on the o-line. The Mountaineers are a quarter through the season and the young line has grown up. The next nine games? Watch out.