At the end of the regular season in college football it is customary to award those who have stood out among their peers.
Since this fall has seen such diversity in the teams ranked at or near the the mountain top, it appears absolutely appropriate to deem the awards for such a season as "The Melungeons."
For those not well versed in southern lore, a quote from a 1923 issue of the Kingsport (Tenn.) Times: "Melungeons are a mysterious and sinister people whose origin has never been determined but, have dwelt in the mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia for hundreds of years".
In case you are wondering, it has been said the only way a fair maiden or gentleman could determine if their beloved was Melungeon was by feeling the back of his or her head. If there was a raised knot in the middle, you were in love with a Melungeon.
I) SHOCK THEATRE: THE MOST UNDER-PERFORMING TEAMS
A) Michigan– Good Grief, what can you do for an encore?
B) Arizona State– From trendy pick for the Fiesta Bowl to a losing season.
C) Tennessee– So bad they have hired a child to replace the championship coach.
D) Clemson– More of a vote for Tommy "The Big Loss" Bowden. Dabo is a cool cat.
II) NASTY BOYS: THE BAD DUDES OF DEFENSE
A) Michael Johnson, DE, 6'7" 260, Ga Tech– Deacon Jones and Lawrence Taylor Combo.
B) Mt. Cody, DL, 6'5" 383, Alabama– 21st Century Refrigerator Perry.
C) James Laurinatis, LB, 6'3" 240, Ohio State– Colt McCoy's worst nightmare?
D) Rey Maualuga, LB, 6'2" 260, Southern California– The return of Mike Singletary.
III) HAVE TEAM, WILL TRAVEL: THE GREAT ROAD VICTORIES
A) Penn State 13 Ohio State 6– Battle between two BCS Bowl-caliber teams was a classic.
B) Ole Miss 31 Florida 30– Rebels proved Gators could be beaten by out–toughing them.
C) Alabama 41 Georgia 30– The most stunning victory of the season when it happened.
D) Oregon 65 Oregon State 38– Ducks took care of business in Civil War Showdown.
IV) AREA 51 CLUB: THE BEST UNKNOWN PERFORMERS
A) Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers– 67 receptions while missing one game. Herman Moore–like.
B) Nate Davis, QB, Ball State– 25 TD passes and 67% completion rate on an unbeaten team.
C) Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa– 1729 yards rushing with 17 TDs in Big 10 are worthy of Heisman talk.
D) Brian Johnson, QB, Utah– 24 TD passes, 68% completion rate, unbeaten team.
V) BAD COMPANY: THE TEAMS THAT "PUT A LICKIN' ON SOME PEOPLE"
A) Southern California 35 Ohio State 3– SEC and Big 12 teams took notice.
B) Mississippi– Beat Florida and LSU, the past two national champions, on the road.
C) Iowa 55 Minnesota 0– Resurgent Golden Gophers were absolutely annihilated.
D) Ga Tech– Beat Fla St., Miami at home, then Clemson, Boston College, and Georgia on the road.
VI) FIRST AMONG EQUALS: THE CHOICE FOR THE BEST PLAYER IN AMERICA
A) Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma– 46 TDs passing, 5 rushing TDs, 68% completion rate, 6 Int
B) Tim Tebow, QB, Florida– 25 TDs passing, 12 rushing TDs, 65% completion rate, 2 Int
C) Graham Harrell, QB, Texas Tech– 41 TDs passing, 6 rushing TDs, 72% completion rate, 7 Int
D) Colt McCoy, QB, Texas– 32 TDs passing, 10 rushing, 78% completion rate, 7 Int
VII) FANTASY WORLD: THE GAMES WE WISH HAD BEEN PLAYED
A) Alabama vs. Penn State– Rock 'em, sock 'em action, start to finish.
B) Tennessee vs. Michigan– Who would survive the Depression Bowl?
C) Southern California vs. Florida– NFL Agents make up 50% of the crowd.
D) Boise State vs. Utah– Who deserves the BCS Bowl appearance? Settle it on the field.
And why not give a "Special Melungeon" for coaching performance of the year? For the regular season, it is hard to overlook the job done by Nick Saban, Mike Leach, Urban Meyer, and Bob Stoops.
But the award should be given to Brian Kelly of Cincinnati for winning the Big East and earning a berth in the Orange Bowl. First runner–up is Houston Nutt of Ole Miss, followed by Mike Riley of Oregon State. And Dabo Swinney is smiling all the way to the bank.