College Football: Offensive & Defensive POY Predictions for BCS Leagues
The fall is almost here, meaning summer practices are nearing their end and teams are gearing up for opening weekend.
The strengths have shifted a bit this off season, as teams in the Pac-10 and the ACC look to be capable of national championship consideration. The players on those teams should make this season fun to watch.
That said, I thought it might be time to lay out a prediction for the Offensive and Defensive Players of the year for each BCS conference.
ACC Offensive Player of the Year: QB Jacory Haris, Miami (Fl)
With all the hype surrounding the U, it was hard not to put Harris here.
Fresh off a season in which he threw for 3,350 yards and 24 touchdowns, this junior has a lot to work for, as he'll aim to bring the Canes back to national prominence.
There were a lot of candidates for this pick, but Harris just seems to have people talking more than anybody else. And, as we all know, momentum can never be a bad thing.
The Canes play a brutal schedule, but that will only give Harris more opportunities to impress.
Other Candidates: RB Ryan Williams, Virginina Tech; QB Christian Ponder, Florida State; QB Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech
ACC Defensive POY: DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
As a sophomore, Quinn racked up 11 sacks and 52 tackles while forming one of the best defensive units in the ACC.
The Tar Heels have had some trouble with violations this off season, but Quinn has stayed far away from anything that's going to put his junior season in jeopardy. He'll dominate in 2010, and might lead the nation in sacks.
There were other candidates on his own team, but Quinn gets the nod due to his ability to pressure the quarterback from start to finish.
If he leads the ACC again in sacks—and he will—he'll get the award.
Other Candidates: S DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson; S Deunta Williams, North Carolina; DE Allen Bailey, Miami
Big East Offensive POY: RB Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh
Dion Lewis had an amazing freshman season.
As a true freshman, he ran for nearly 1,800 yards and 17 touchdowns, and topped 100 yards rushing in all but three games. If the last game of Pitt's regular season is any indicator, Lewis will have the ball in his hands the majority of the time in 2010. He carried the ball 47 times in a one point loss to Cincinnati.
He'll get more touches than anybody else in the Big East, and has a fair chance to top 2,000 yards. He'll also be on everybody's Heisman short list, which makes him a no-brainer for this pick.
Other Candidates: RB Noel Devine, West Virginia; WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh; WR Armon Binns, Cincinnati
Big East Defensive POY: LB Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut
You may not know who he is, but Wilson led the Big East in tackles last year and anchored one of the conference's best defensive units.
He has a tremendous ability in flying to the ball, and always seems to be in a position to make a play. His best game was against Syracuse, in which he had 17 total tackles and a sack. The game marked the seventh time he had at least 10 tackles.
UConn looks to be pretty solid defensively, and Wilson is a big reason for that.
If his production doesn't slip, he'll be a potential All-American when it's all said and done.
Other Candidates: DE Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh; LB JT Thomas, West Virginia; DE Greg Lloyd, Connecticut
Big 12 Offensive POY: WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Broyles will be the best receiver in the Big 12, regardless to whether Landry Jones has a great year or not.
As a sophomore, the electric wideout amassed 1,120 yards and 15 touchdowns, and helped stop the bleeding after Sam Bradford went down. In 2010, he'll be Oklahoma's best offensive weapon, and might pull in as much as 1,500 receiving yards.
He'll need to be more consistent, however. He can't afford to be silenced like he was against BYU and Miami.
If he wants to be the league's best offensive player, and if the Sooners what to win a Big 12 championship, Broyles will have to emerge as a threat each and every game.
Other Candidates: QB Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M; QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri; RB Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
Big 12 Defensive POY: LB Von Miller, Texas A&M
After passing on the NFL draft, Miller returns to Texas A&M with the intent of leading the Aggies to a conference championship.
He led the nation with 17 total sacks, and can line up both at defensive end and at linebacker. He's a rare gem in a defensive squad that has been less than stellar, but what a gem he is. He's an returning All-American and will be the Aggies' best all around player in 2010.
The Big 12 has a lot of returning defensive talent this season, but choosing anybody but Miller would have been insane.
He might be the best offensive lineman in the country.
Other Candidates: LB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma; CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska; DE Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
Big Ten Offensive POY: RB John Clay, Wisconsin
John Clay has been overshadowed this off season due to guys like Dion Lewis and Mark Ingram, but he has big time potential for 2010.
The Ron Dayne lookalike ran for over 1,500 yards last season, which greatly helped the Badgers achieve a 9-3 record. He's also a Heisman contender, which may give him the motivation to emerge as the best offensive player in the Big 10.
He has some big opportunities to shine, most notably in back-to-back contests against Ohio State and Iowa.
If he can lead the Badgers to a Big Ten championship and a BCS bowl, Clay will be all but a lock for Offensive POY.
Other Candidates: QB Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State; RB Evan Royster, Penn State; QB Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
Big Ten Defensive POY: LB Greg Jones, Michigan State
Greg Jones is the reigning conference defensive POY, and is the leader of the Spartan defense for the third straight year.
He's been consistently praised for his effort and 100 miles per hour style of play, which has made him such a dominant force on the field for so long. Last season, he totaled 358 tackles and seven sacks.
He passed on the NFL draft to return for another crack at disrupting Big 10 defenses, which he does with extreme ease and efficiency. He's another returning All-American, and another POY award seems inevitable.
It will be a huge shock to see anybody else win the award.
Other Candidates: DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa; S Jermale Hines, Ohio State; DE JJ Watt, Wisconsin
Pac-10 Offensive POY: RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State
After coming out of nowhere to become an early 2010 Heisman favorite, the smallish Rodgers looks poised to lead Oregon Sate to a Pac-10 title and BCS bowl game.
He ran for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns, similar numbers to that of in-state rival LaMichael James, another candidate for this award.
Rodgers gets the nod here because of his ability to effectively carry a team on his shoulders. Even if he is just 5'7". The Pac-10 looks tough this season, meaning that Rodgers won't lack any opportunities to prove his worth.
If he gets the Badgers over the hump and into a BCS bowl game, you can go ahead and give him the award.
Other Candidates: RB LaMichael James, Oregon; QB Jake Locker, Washington; QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
Pac-10 Defensive POY: S Rahim Moore, UCLA
Moore led the nation with 10 interceptions as a sophomore, and is the centerpiece of an improved UCLA defense.
He's on the early Thorpe Watch list, and will likely be the best defensive back in all of college football in 2010. If he can sustain his numbers, he'll be an elite first round draft pick before long.
Moore has great instincts and a knack for making big plays in the secondary. The Bruins will count on him to shut down some of the big-time passing attacks in the Pac-10 this season.
Other Candidates: DT Jurell Casey, USC; LB Akeem Ayers, UCLA; DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State
SEC Offensive POY: QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
If last season was any indication, Ryan Mallett made a brilliant decision by transferring from Michigan to Arkansas.
He has the big frame, the big arm, and the big numbers, but Mallett wants a conference championship and a BCS bowl victory. He certainly has more hype surrounding him than any other SEC quarterback, which might help him or hurt him come big conference games.
After throwing for over 3,600 yards and 30 touchdowns, Mallett looks ready to make Arkansas a legitimate contender in the SEC West. If he can do that, he'll edge Mark Ingram as the best offensive player in the SEC.
Only time will tell.
Other Candidates: RB Mark Ingram, Alabama; RB Derrick Locke, Ketucky; WR A.J. Green, Georgia
SEC Defensive POY: DE Cliff Matthews, South Carolina
Matthews is a big reason why everybody seems to be talking about South Carolina's defense.
He amassed seven sacks and 103 total tackles as a sophomore, and will be the undisputed leader of the Gamecock's defense in 2010. Steve Spurrieer has all but given Matthews the reigns.
As we all know, Matthews plays in a conference full of size and speed all over the field. He'll have plenty of opportunities to show what he can do from the edge, especially against rivals Florida and Alabama.
Matthews looks poised for a huge year. If nothing slows him down (which it shouldn't) he'll be the best the SEC has to offer.
Other Candidates: CB Patrick Peterson, LSU; S Mark Barron, Alabama; DE Darcell Dareus, Alabama