Recently, all of the college football awards talk has been about the Heisman Trophy and the Big 12 quarterbacks.
People seem to be forgetting the other awards that will be handed out to top college football players around the country on Dec. 13. I'll preview a few of the major ones.
Heisman Trophy: Graham Harrell- Texas Tech
Ever since Texas Tech's loss to Oklahoma, people have ridden off Harrell as a Heisman candidate. Let's not forget that Sam Bradford, Harrell, and Colt McCoy have all lost to another one of the contender's teams.
Harrell has put up ridiculous numbers this year in college football's best league. His 4,438 passing yards rank first in the nation, while Bradford ranks third and McCoy ranks 12th. The Red Raiders' phenom has also thrown 39 touchdowns and has a quarterback rating of 164.96.
But stats aren't the only reason to choose Harrell, it's the film. If you watch him play you can tell that he knows how to play the game and is as crisp as a college quarterback can be.
Doak Walker Award (Nation's Best Running Back): Shonn Greene- Iowa
Shonn Greene might be the best story in college football. Last year he was studying at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City to get his grades up and working for a furniture store. This year, he is arguably the nation's best running back.
Greene came out of nowhere to lead the nation in rushing and set an Iowa record with 1,729 yards. He scored 17 touchdowns this year and averaged 6.2 yards per carry. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment, though, is rushing for at least 100 yards in every game, the only FBS player to do so.
Greene's astounding numbers led Iowa to eight wins this year and the possibility of a January bowl berth. Although he probably won't receive the Heisman Trophy because of the surplus of Big 12 quarterbacks, Greene should receive an invite to New York as a finalist at the presentation.
Davey O'Brien Award (Nation's Best Quarterback): Sam Bradford- Oklahoma
The O'Brien Award will most likely go to the Big 12 quarterback that doesn't win the Heisman Trophy. I think the most likely candidate is Bradford of Oklahoma.
Bradford has led the Sooners to an outstanding season and could possibly lead them to a National Title. Like Harrell, Bradford has also put up ridiculous numbers this season, ranking third in the nation in passing yards with 3,710. He also was ranked second in the nation with a 193.76 quarterback rating and ranks first with 42 touchdowns.
Butkus Award (Nation's Best Linebacker): James Laurinaitis- Ohio State
One again, Laurinaitis had an amazing year for Ohio State. He led the Big Ten in tackles with 121 and continued to dominate offenses with his incredible combination of size and speed. I see no reason why he wouldn't repeat as an All-American and Butkus Award winner in his senior year.
Freshman of the Year: Jaquizz Rodgers- Oregon State
Jaquizz Rodgers burst onto the national scene this year for the Beavers, rushing for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns. He led to Beavers to an 8-3 season, including a marquee win over then no. 1 USC. One more win, and Oregon State will be heading to the Rose Bowl, where Rodgers and his Beavers would try to avenge an early season loss to Penn State.
Coach of the Year: Pat Fitzgerald- Northwestern
Pat Fitzgerald has turned the Northwestern football program around over the past few years. He fought through injuries this year to come out with nine wins, including a good comeback win at Iowa and a last second interception return against Minnesota.
Last year, the Wildcats were bowl eligible, but, at 6-6, they failed to make a bowl game. This year, at 9-3, the Wildcats are going bowling for sure. Although Northwestern probably won't be destined for a New Year's Bowl in Florida because of their weak traveling fan base, the Wildcats will still end up in a decent bowl game.