B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 14

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2021

B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 14

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    Jeff Dean/Associated Press

    Ever since Nebraska and Illinois kicked off on Aug. 28, the 2021 college football season has built toward this weekend.

    Twenty teams competing for 10 championships. Four spots in the College Football Playoff at stake. And in a season stacked with stunning results, the underdogs finished in style. Six of the 10 underdogs won outright, instead of not simply covering the spread.

    Fortunately for our sanity, however, the results actually shaped a crystal-clear CFP picture. Alabama ended Georgia's unbeaten year, but Baylor's upset of Oklahoma State prevented any controversy about which programs made the playoff.

    We're looking back at the exciting weekend and dishing out the final set of rotating awards before bowl season.


    If you're new here, hello! Every Monday throughout the season, B/R has distributed a handful of awards. Some review the previous weekend's slate, and others preview what's coming up. A few topics might be humorous or downright strange.

Team of the Week: Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    You beat the nation's No. 1 team, you're automatically the Team of the Week. Them's the rules, folks.

    All week, Alabama heard it wouldn't be able to handle Georgia's top-ranked defense. The Crimson Tide's last two opponentsArkansas and Auburn—did rack up a combined 19 tackles for loss with 11 sacks. That wasn't a promising trend entering a showdown with the Dawgs.

    So, yeah, the game went differently!

    Bryce Young provided his Heisman moment, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-24 victory. He also scampered for 40 yards and another score. Jameson Williams led the Tide with seven catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

    The major negative is key wideout John Metchie III reportedly has a torn left ACL. His absence will be felt in the CFP.

    But in a win-or-go-home moment, Alabama did Alabama things. And now, the reigning champs officially have a spot in the playoff and a potential chance to defend their title.

Play of the Week: Baylor's Goal-Line Stand

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    There cannot possibly be an objection, right?

    Holding a 21-16 lead in the last two minutes of the Big 12 Championship Game, Baylor needed a minor miracle. Oklahoma State landed a 1st-and-goal thanks to a penalty. The nation's fifth-ranked team had four chances to gain two yards.

    And if OSU managed those two yards, the Pokes may ultimately have supplanted AAC champion Cincinnati in the College Football Playoff. That's not a guarantee, but the CFP selection committee at least would've been required to have that conversation.

    Baylor's defense erased the drama before it could happen.

    After stopping Dezmon Jackson short on two carries, the Bears forced an incompletion. One play, one yard. Jackson took a handoff and sprinted toward the left pylon, trying to outrace Baylor safety Jairon McVea. Jackson dove, stretched the ball out and dropped to the turf literally inches before the end zone.

    Oklahoma State's potential for a CFP trip vanished as Baylor celebrated an impressive Big 12 title.

Party-Crasher of the Week: Cincinnati Bearcats

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    Jeff Dean/Associated Press

    Houston and Western Michigan walked so UCF could run. UCF ran so Cincinnati could strap on a jetpack and shatter the College Football Playoff's glass ceiling.

    Seven years into the CFP era, a Group of Five team finally has a shot at a national title.

    Cincinnati wrapped up a 13-0 record with a decisive 35-20 triumph over Houston in the AAC Championship Game. Thanks to Oklahoma State's loss to Baylor earlier in the day, the Bearcats exited a jubilant Nippert Stadium assured of a CFP trip.

    Cincinnati left absolutely no doubt it deserved a place on the nation's biggest stage, too.

    After taking a 14-13 lead into halftime, the Bearcats ripped off a 21-0 third quarter to sprint away from 11-1 Houston. Jerome Ford rushed for 187 yards and two scores, while Desmond Ridder finished with 190 passing yards and three touchdowns.

    What seemed impossiblea Group of Five program securing a Top Four ranking at season's endis now a historical fact. Welcome to the party, Cincinnati. We're glad you're here.

Championship of the Week: Utah State Aggies

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    Andres Leighton/Associated Press

    This is the best story of the weekend.

    Fans and media alike are guilty of dehumanizing coaches. We care about wins. We care about championships. This is a win-lose business, and coaches are judged on their respective team's performance.

    Blake Anderson is a reminder to step back.

    Two years ago, his wife Wendy died of breast cancer. Anderson stayed to coach Arkansas State for another season, but he ultimately decided to leave the successful programa place he compiled a 51-37 record, made six bowls, won a Sun Belt championship and shared a second titlestrictly for personal reasons.

    I will never forget this quote from Anderson before the 2020 season: "Can I stay here and do this when everything about Jonesboro reminds me of Wendy? The church we went to, driving by the hospice all the time, everywhere we ate, everywhere we did things. Can I do that and do a good job? Or am I going to be a basket case?"

    After all of personal heartbreak, for his debut season at Utah State to feature a Mountain West championship is simply incredible.

Golf Clap of the Week: Utah Seals Rose Bowl Debut

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    Chase Stevens/Associated Press

    Wreck a 10-win team once? Impressive.

    Do it twice in 15 days? That's sensational.

    After smashing Oregon 38-7 in the regular season, Utah again overwhelmed the Ducks in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Utah limited Oregon to 221 yards of offense, earning a 38-10 victory and securing the program's first-ever trip to the Rose Bowl.

    Beyond the stellar defensive effortwhich included a pick-six from linebacker Devin Lloyd, who should be earning many All-American honors shortlyUtah controlled the game with 191 rushing yards. Tavion Thomas, who scampered for 94 yards and three touchdowns in the earlier win, scored twice more Friday.

    In its Pasadena debut on Jan. 1, Utah will meet Ohio State.

Team Win of the Week: Michigan Wolverines

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    The best compliment I can give is that, sitting in the Lucas Oil Stadium press box, I couldn't decide my vote for Most Valuable Player of the Big Ten Championship Game.

    Hassan Haskins scored twice, but he averaged a not-so-excellent 3.3 yards per carry. Two players threw a touchdown to different receivers, and Blake Corum ran in another score. No defender had multiple sacks, tackles for loss or takeaways.

    The problem wasn't that Michigan lacked a standout player. Rather, the Wolverines' all-around excellence in a 42-3 drubbing of Iowa simply didn't require a dominant force.

    Aidan Hutchinsonwho tallied four tackles, one sack and two hurrieseventually landed the honor. Perhaps it was more of a season achievement, but he put together a strong game anyway.

    If Michigan is to navigate Georgia in the Orange Bowl, a similar comprehensive effort will be required in South Florida.

Week 14 Rundown

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Exclamation of the Week: UTSA Roadrunners

    Spectacular year for UTSA. Heading into 2021, the program had never cracked eight wins. This season, the Roadrunners ripped off an 11-0 start and earned head coach Jeff Traylor a contract extension through 2031. After falling to North Texas last weekend, UTSA recovered to outlast Western Kentucky 49-41 and secure the program's first-ever conference title.


    Send-off of the Week: Billy Napier's Title at Louisiana

    Last Sunday, news broke that Louisiana-Lafayette coach Billy Napier would replace Dan Mullen at Florida and head to Gainesville prior to the team's bowl game. That meant the Sun Belt Championship Game would be Napier's final day in charge of the Ragin' Cajuns. They sent Napier out on a high note, wrapping up a 12-1 season with a 24-16 win over Appalachian Statewhich had defeated Louisiana in the 2018 and 2019 title games.


    Head Nods of the Week: Pitt and Northern Illinois

    Don't you worry, friends. All conference champs deserve a mention. Pitt smacked Wake Forest 45-21 to win the ACC, and Northern Illinois cruised past Kent State 41-23 in the MAC championship. That's less glamorous nationally, sure, but immensely exciting for the programs.


    Stats from NCAA.com, cfbstats.com or B/R research. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.