College Football Awards 2021: Start Time, Date, TV Schedule and More

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIDecember 7, 2021

College Football Awards 2021: Start Time, Date, TV Schedule and More

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    It's been an exciting college football season so far, and there's still a lot to be decided. The Heisman Trophy will be awarded Saturday, and 43 bowl games need to be played, including a pair of College Football Playoff semifinals and the National Championship Game.

    Before any of that happens, though, there are some other top awards to hand out. The regular season is over, so it's time to recognize some of the players who were among the best in the country during the 2021 campaign.

    The Home Depot College Football Awards will air Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, as numerous honors will be handed out during the two-hour special. Among the prizes to be presented are the Maxwell Award (best overall player), the Bednarik Award (best defensive player) and the Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback).

    ESPN recently released a full list of the awards and finalists.

    Here are some predictions for the top honors that will be presented on Thursday night.

Will Anderson Jr. Is Most Deserving to Win Bednarik Award

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    Will Anderson Jr. wasn't among the four finalists for the Heisman Trophy, but the Alabama sophomore linebacker had a deserving case. He had an impressive season leading the Crimson Tide's defense, and he was clearly among the top players in the country.

    Although he won't be heading to New York City for Saturday's Heisman ceremony, he could earn a top award on Thursday. He's one of four defensive players nominated for the Chuck Bednarik Award, along with Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton and Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.

    Those players are all talented, but it's clear Anderson had the best season. In 13 games, he's had 91 tackles and 15.5 sacks as he's been all over the field disrupting opposing offenses. And he's already won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy over fellow finalists Davis and Thibodeaux.

    Anderson has had a sack in seven consecutive games, a streak that may continue in the College Football Playoff. But before that, he should be honored as the clear winner of this year's Chuck Bednarik Award.

Kenneth Walker III Likely to Take Home Doak Walker Award

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    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    Another player who had a case to be a Heisman Trophy finalist but didn't get enough votes is Michigan State's Kenneth Walker III.

    The junior running back put up some impressive numbers this season, and he was the RB who was most deserving of Heisman consideration.

    Walker may not win the Heisman, but he's one of the three finalists for both the Maxwell and the Doak Walker Award. And while he likely won't win the Maxwell Award, he should easily take home the Doak Walker trophy, which is given to the top running back in the country.

    In 12 games, the 21-year-old has rushed for 1,636 yards and scored 19 total touchdowns. He also led the Spartans to their biggest win of the year, when he ran for 197 yards and five TDs in a win over Michigan on Oct. 30.

    Missouri's Tyler Badie and Iowa State's Breece Hall both had solid seasons, but Walker was the most dynamic running back in the nation, which is why he's received consideration for even bigger honors. So, he won't come out of awards season empty-handed.

Bryce Young Should Win 2 Awards, Then Heisman

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Bryce Young is about to clean up during awards season, as he should with the year he's having. The Alabama sophomore quarterback has put up some impressive numbers and is leading the Crimson Tide to success in the most important games of the season.

    The 20-year-old has passed for 4,322 yards, 43 touchdowns and only four interceptions in 13 games this season, helping Alabama go 12-1 and earn the No. 1 seed in the CFP.

    He had a big performance in the SEC Championship Game, passing for 421 yards and accounting for four total touchdowns (three passing and one rushing) to lift the Crimson Tide over previously unbeaten Georgia.  

    It seems highly likely Young will become the first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman on Saturday night. But don't be surprised if he wins both the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien Award before then, as he has the best case for those honors as well.

    It could be a big week for Young, as he should earn all the top awards. Then, he'll look to lead the Crimson Tide to their second straight national title, which is the trophy he'll most want to win this season.