Handing Out Hardware at College Football's Halfway Point

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Handing Out Hardware at College Football's Halfway Point
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Prepare those speeches and clear some space on the mantle, because it’s time to hand out some midseason hardware for the 2009 college football season:



College Football’s Midyear Awards


Coach of the Midyear
…the nominees are:
Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), Brian Kelly (Cincinnati), Nick Saban (Alabama)

Brian Kelly has the Bearcats staring the BCS in the face again while returning only one starter on defense and Alabama, entering the season with a question mark O-line, has opened huge holes for Mark Ingram and the running game. 

But while many saw Iowa as an afterthought in the Big Ten (especially with such a brutal road schedule) the Hawkeyes are 7-0, already knocking off both Penn State and Wisconsin away from home. 

Iowa’s toughest remaining test is facing the Buckeyes in Columbus on Nov. 14.
Winner: Kirk Ferentz



Hottest Coaching Seat

…the nominees are:
Al Groh (Virginia), Charlie Weis (Notre Dame), Ron Zook (Illinois)

Groh again has the Cavaliers on a tear after a painfully slow start, while Zook and the Illini are a dismal 1-5 after being listed by many as a potential darkhorse in the Big Ten.

Still, the spotlight is on Weis. While the Irish are holding their own, Notre Dame still has no signature wins in 2009, and you know what that means: no need for the hand warmers Charlie, this seat is toasty warm until further notice.
Winner: Charlie Weis



Offensive POMY
…the nominees are:
Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame), Toby Gerhart (Stanford), Case Keenum (Houston)

Gerhart has carried Stanford, averaging over 120 yards and adding a dozen touchdowns.  Meanwhile, Clausen has 14 TD’s and only 2 INT’s, adding 1,800 passing yards and a QB rating that is second only to Boise State’s Kellen Moore.

None can match Houston’s Case Keenum, the junior QB who has led the Cougars into the polls, while throwing 410 yards per game, adding 19 TD’s and 4 INT’s, including 801 passing yards in two games against ranked opponents.
Winner: Case Keenum

Defensive POMY
…the nominees are:
Greg Jones (Michigan State), Jammie Kirlew (Indiana), Von Miller (Texas A&M)

Definitely a tough call, as Greg Jones leads the nation in tackles with 85, plus Indiana’s Jammie Kirlew has forced five fumbles, while adding 5½ sacks. 

But the biggest standout is Von Miller, currently fifth in the nation in tackles for a loss (12½) and second in the country in sacks with 10: impressive, and worth defensive player of the midyear.
Winner: Von Miller



Top Freshman

…the nominees are:
Matt Barkley (USC), Tate Forcier (Michigan), Dion Lewis (Pittsburgh), Ryan Williams (Va. Tech)

Barkley has signature wins in South Bend and Columbus, but USC has been a “plug and play” system over recent years. 

Dion Lewis has made the Panthers not miss LeSean McCoy too much, while Ryan Williams has filled in nicely after former starter Darren Evans was injured. 

In the end, it’s the exciting and fiery play of Tate Forcier that has the Wolverines back on the map much quicker than many thought they would be.
Winner: Tate Forcier



Biggest Surprise
…the nominees are:
Boston College, Iowa, Miami (FL), Washington

Many had the Eagles in the ACC cellar, but BC (5-2) is on top of the Atlantic division.  The Hawkeyes are perched at the top of the Big Ten, but many felt they would be a solid team after returning 14 starters from the ’08 squad. 

Miami, always able to recruit talent, appears to be back on the map and playing well, but the biggest surprise has to lie in the Pacific Northwest, as Coach Sark, in his first season, has the Huskies 3-4 after a winless 2008 campaign. 

Included in this year’s schedule are an upset win over USC, plus close losses to LSU and Notre Dame.
Winner: Washington

 

Biggest Disappointment
…the nominees are:
California, Florida State, Illinois, Oklahoma, Ole Miss

Take your pick here, as teams like Cal (1-2 in Pac-10), Ole Miss (1-2 in the SEC West), Illinois (1-5 overall), and Oklahoma (3-3 overall) have all disappointed. 

But the biggest disappointment can be found in Tallahassee, where the Seminoles are 2-4 overall, including 0-3 in the ACC.  It’s a shame that Bowden has been under such scrutiny, but this Florida State team has been abysmal.
Winner: Florida State

 

Bonehead Move of the Midyear
…the nominees are:
Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State), LeGarrette Blount (Oregon), Mike Gallett (Nevada)

Gallett is yet another player to be suspended for the year due to a violation of team rules and then there’s Dez Bryant, whose “pants were on fire” earlier this season. 

But the biggest bonehead move of the year belongs to Blount, and who could forget how he first talked trash, second, didn’t back it up, and finally lost his cool and punched a Boise State player on national television. 

In the end, Blount was suspended for the year and don’t worry, he won’t be sent an actual award.

Winner: LeGarrette Blount

 

Game of the Midyear
…the nominees are:
Notre Dame vs. Michigan, USC vs. Ohio State, Central Michigan vs. Michigan State

The Big Ten dominates this category, mostly due to the conference featuring a plethora of tight games during the first half of the season. 

The wildest game of the three had to be Central Michigan’s 29-27 upset of Sparty, which was in dramatic fashion after a late two-point conversion attempt for the lead failed, only to have a recovered onside kick and game-winning field goal follow shortly thereafter. 

After the game, a number of college football fans caught themselves a bad case of “LeFevour”.
Winner: Central Michigan vs. Michigan State

 

Heisman Trophy
…the nominees are:
Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame), Mark Ingram (Alabama), Colt McCoy (Texas), Tim Tebow (Florida)

It seems like forever ago that Bradford, Tebow and McCoy were the guaranteed trio to show up at the ceremony, but let’s face it, if you want to win the Heisman, recent history states that one needs to play for a high profile school that is also among the nation’s elite teams. 

Look at the winners over the past decade and a half: Oklahoma, USC, Florida, Ohio State, the list rolls on. 

Tebow missed time due to the concussion.  Clausen has the gaudiest and most impressive numbers, but the Irish have two losses and zero signature wins.  That leaves McCoy and Ingram. 

Look at each in games against ranked teams.  Versus Texas Tech and Oklahoma, McCoy has 332 passing yards, with 2 TD’s and 3 INT’s.  Ingram, against Virginia Tech and South Carolina, had 50 carries for 396 yards and 2 TD’s.
Winner: Mark Ingram



National Championship

…the nominees are:
Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, Florida, Iowa, Texas, USC

Count out Cindy and the boys from Boise, because with schedules like each has, help will be needed to reach the title.  The Trojans, with one loss, still have to travel to Oregon, plus have other tricky matchups against Pac-10 foes. 

Iowa’s toughest remaining game is at Ohio State, but they’ll likely be on the outside looking in while Texas has its toughest remaining game on Halloween at Oklahoma State. 

That leaves ‘Bama and the Gators, who will likely duke it out for a NC spot in the SEC title game.  Call me crazy but… ‘Bama has been the most consistent team.
Winner: Alabama vs. Texas

Stats courtesy of cfbstats.com

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