The first two parts of our college football review took a look at surprise teams, disappointing teams, and two quotes that left most people scratching their heads. This final review will focus on some of the best and worst of college football.
We will look at the best players not to be invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy. There will also be discussion about the amount of unsportsmanlike conduct.
We will also look at teams and players that set records and why Mark Ingram’s Heisman win was the best news Texas could hear before their matchup against Alabama.
Plus, what did Lee Corso say while in Provo for GameDay?
Best Players Not in New York for the Heisman Ceremony
The best players in college football do not all get invited to the awards shows and New York for the Heisman Trophy. Here are some of the best players in college football.
C.J. Spiller, Clemson Tigers
Spiller could have been the most dangerous player in college football this season. He was a threat to score on kickoffs, punt returns, running the ball, throwing the ball, or receiving.
Clemson would not have won eight games and won the ACC Atlantic Division without the work Spiller did on the field. If any player should have received Heisman votes in a year it seemed no one wanted to win the award, it was him.
Spiller was one player who could score from anywhere on the field every time he touched the ball. Just take a look at Spiller’s stats to see how good he was this season.
He rushed for 1,145 yards, caught passes for 445 yards, passed for 17 yards, returned punts for 210 yards, and returned kickoffs for 708 yards. Spiller accounted for 21 total touchdowns this season.
One player that should have received more votes for the Heisman and been invited to New York was C.J. Spiller. He might not have won a lot of awards, but as a senior, Spiller will make a lot of money in the NFL draft.
Dexter McCluster, Mississippi “Ole Miss” Rebels
The Rebels struggled this season until coach Houston Nutt decided to let his best player loose. McCluster is in the same mold as Spiller above and is a threat in every phase of the offensive side of the game.
McCluster rushed for 985 yards and six touchdowns and had 475 receiving yards with three touchdowns. He even completed the only pass attempt he threw this season for 27 yards.
Ole Miss would not have been as successful as they were this season while Jevan Snead struggled if not for McCluster. Mississippi owes a lot of its Cotton Bowl bid to the work of one of their smallest players and their defense.
Next season will be hard for the Rebels to find a replacement for this dynamic player. Snead will have to live up to his hype and carry the load.
Ryan Mathews, Fresno State Bulldogs
Mathews might be one of the best players in college football that most people have not heard of. The Fresno State running back was on pace for 2,000 yards until his injury against Nevada.
While he is not much of a threat in the passing game, Mathews is without question dangerous in the running game. This season Mathews rushed for over 100 yards against every opponent but two. He was held to 32 yards against the Wolf Pack and did not play against Louisiana Tech.
Overall Mathews rushed for 1,664 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. Most of the season, Mathews led the country in rushing until late in the season, when Toby Gerhart came on strong.
He played well against BCS conference teams and very good teams this season. Mathews had over 100 yards against Boise State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Idaho, and Illinois.
If the junior running back comes back for his senior year, he has to be one of the Heisman favorites.
Noel Devine, West Virginia Mountaineers
In a growing trend in college football, Noel Devine is much like McCluster and Spiller. Devine is quick and a weapon in every phase of the game offensively.
Most experts figured West Virginia would slide back to the pack after the graduation of quarterback Pat White. What most did not count on was the job Devine did to keep the Mountaineers from not sliding very far from the top of the Big East.
Devine rushed for 1,297 yards with 12 touchdowns and had 149 receiving yards and one touchdown. The one constant all season long for the West Virginia offense was Devine.
The only question left for Devine is whether he wants to play for a Heisman Trophy next season or take his talents to the NFL. If Noel does come back for his senior season, expect him to carry West Virginia to compete in every game.
College Football Trends
There are some trends in college football that are disturbing and should be handled as quickly as possible. The trend as seen above is the rise of the little guys in college football.
There have been a couple of disturbing trends in college football this season. The first one started at the very beginning of the season and showed up once again at the end of the season.
The college football suffered a black eye in one of the first games of the season after Boise State beat up eventual Pac-10 champion Oregon. After the Broncos defeated the Ducks 19-8, senior running back LeGarrette Blount punched a Boise State player who was talking trash after the game.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish claimed a Michigan Wolverine threw a punch, and Arizona State player Vontaze Burfict punched Arizona Wildcat Ricky Wolder.
Next season, if any player is caught punching a player on video, his college career has to be over. The only way to keep players from throwing punches during and after the game is to let players know their careers are on the line.
I understand emotions are high during and at the end of ball games. That still does not give players the right to punch each other if they do not like how the game is going or the outcome.
The other disturbing trend is the actions by Big 12 coaches. It has been well documented how Mark Mangino and Mike Leach lost their jobs.
The question is not what the coaches said or did, but that as long as they are winning, that behavior is allowed. How is it that these coaches can do whatever they want as long as they win games, but when they are owed a ton of money or start losing, it becomes a problem?
The outrage should not be focused on just the coaches but the universities that let this happen. There is no way that athletic directors or presidents don't know what is going on.
These two problems need to be handled before the start on the 2010 season. The universities and conferences need to band together and place higher standards on sportsmanship and on universities allowing coaches to get away with whatever they want as long as they are winning.
Good news, bad news for Texas and Alabama in the National Title Game
Depending how you want to look at it, there is good news and bad news for both teams in the BCS National Championship Game. As Texas and Alabama get ready to play for the crystal football, there is one stat that both teams should look at.
First for Alabama and its Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram heading into this game: Since 2005 the winner of the stiff arm trophy has lost its last four bowl games.
Starting with Reggie Bush, who lost to Texas, followed by Troy Smith in a loss to Florida, on to Tim Tebow getting beat by Lloyd Carr’s Michigan team, to Sam Bradford getting stopped by Florida once more, all lost after winning the Heisman.
What is more, three of the last four Heisman winners have played in the national championship game and lost. Ingram has a chance to turn the tide (pardon the pun) in this trend with a victory over the Longhorns.
If Alabama wins in the Rose Bowl, Ingram will be the first winner of the award and the national title since Matt Leinart and the USC Trojans beat Jason White and Oklahoma for the championship.
For Texas, they have to understand that the last two quarterbacks who were the winningest in college football history did not win a national championship. The last two quarterbacks are David Greene of Georgia and Peyton Manning of Tennessee.
Peyton Manning had a college career record of 39-6, while Greene had a college career record of 42-10, and neither won a title. McCoy has a college record of 45-7 going into the title game.
McCoy will go down as one of the best college football quarterbacks if he is able to beat the Crimson Tide. A loss leaves him wondering how he will rank against Bradford and Tebow in his college career.
Lee Corso’s comment about the Arkansas Razorbacks
While in Provo, Utah with guest picker LaVell Edwards looking on, the picks turned to the SEC and the Ole Miss Rebels taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks. Lee Corso either thought the Razorbacks were a Civil War firearm or a 1970s porn star.
Watch the video below and decide.
By the way, congratulations to all the record breakers this season, including Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, the whole Nevada backfield, Freddie Barnes, and every other player who wrote their names into the NCAA, conference, or team record books this season.
The college football season comes to a close, and while many were upset, there were not many surprises this season. Still it was a great season.
Everyone knew it was a four-team race between Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Alabama before the season began. No one saw TCU and Boise State both being BCS busters or Cincinnati finishing the regular season undefeated.
Who would have guessed Oregon would have looked like a hot mess against the Broncos and come back to win the Pac-10, that Alabama would win its first Heisman, Bobby Bowden would be forced out at Florida State, and more?
The best teams in the preseason meeting up for the title should be a good thing. It means they took care of business. It does not mean this was not a great college football season.
The 2009 season was as not upset-filled as past seasons but was just as fun to watch. We can only hope the 2010 season gives us just as great a season as this one.
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