The 2008 regular season has concluded and it was another year of unbelievable upsets, classic games, and many storylines. All of this has built up to where we are now: the bowl season. Today I will present my awards for the 2008 college football season.
Coach of the Year
When these coaches began their tenures at their respective schools, they were in disarray. Much improvement was needed for them to become contenders. This year, they restored (or gained) some respect for the program. Here are my nominees for coach of the year:
Butch Davis (North Carolina)
Nick Saban (Alabama)
Mark Dantonio (Michigan State)
Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech)
Coming into the season, no one really thought that the Crimson Tide would be much of a force in the SEC. In Nick Saban's second season as head coach, he proved us wrong. Alabama was 24th at the start of the season and there were question marks about QB, John Parker Wilson's play. Saban led his team to the SEC championship, one win away from a trip to Miami to play for a National Title.
Most Disappointing Team
This year, like every year, many teams come into the season with high expectations. Unfortunately, some don't meet those expectations. This falls into the category of disappointment. Here are my nominees for the Most Disappointing Team:
Illinois Fighting Illini
The Clemson Tigers came into the 2008 season with a very talented team, which included a duo outstanding running backs C.J. Spiller and James Davis. Also, the Tigers were in the preseason top 10 polls.
Unfortunately, that was short lived when they lost to Alabama in the first game of the season. That's where the downward spiral began. After a three game win streak, they lost four of their next five games. This lead to the firing of head coach Tommy Bowden. Bowden had no excuse to fail in 2008. He had the talent to win the ACC, but he wasn't able to take advantage and it led to his departure.
Storyline of the Year Not Including Playoff System
The 2008 season was filled with a lot of water cooler talk. Conversations about the coaching carousel, the upsets, Heisman trophy contenders, and of course the BCS. Here are my nominees for the Storyline of the Year:
Oklahoma taken over Texas for National Title Game
Charlie Weis' future
Traditional powers rising (Penn State and Alabama)
The Big 12 QBs
This year no one can deny that there were plenty of talented quarterbacks in the Big XII conference. Let me name a few: Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Colt McCoy (Texas), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Chase Daniel (Missouri), Zac Robinson (Oklahoma State), and Todd Reesing (Kansas). I'm more of a Big 10 guy, but I do know that these guys are very talented quarterbacks. They all led explosive offensives this season, making defenses shake in their boots.
The Most Surprising Team
2008 had teams that you wouldn't expect to do much, actually make some noise in the BCS. The surprising teams beat highly ranked teams and continued winning each week. Here are my nominees for The Most Surprising Team:
Penn State Nittany Lions
Alabama Crimson Tide TIED
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Sorry folks I couldn't choose. All of these teams had outstanding seasons. This might be a bias result because I am a Lion fan, but it was hard to choose. These three teams were at one time the best teams in the country. They did surprise us by climbing in the polls.
Do I really have to explain? Here are the nominees:
Texas vs. Texas Tech
Texas vs. Oklahoma
Alabama vs. Florida
Penn State vs. Ohio State
This game will probably haunt the Longhorns forever, especially the last minute of the game. The dropped interception to the amazing catch by WR Michael Crabtree. With the win, the Red Raiders became the darlings of college football and QB Graham Harrell was highly considered for the Heisman trophy.
Oregon State vs. USC
The Hope Award
President-elect Barack Obama preaching for a playoff system.
As you can see this was another crazy year of college football season. Fortunately it's not over yet. The bowl season begins at the end of the December. Hopefully this year, it won't end sour.