The first month of the 2014 college football season has come and gone. The last two weeks have had only four games between ranked teams but the first week in October contains six games between ranked opponents and most of the college football world will be focused on the Magnolia State as Alabama travels to Ole Miss and Texas A&M travels to Mississippi State. But before we turn the page to October and forget all the losses but maximize all the memories of victories from September, we need to look back and hand out some superlatives.
MVP – J.T. Barrett – QB – Ohio State – When Braxton Miller went down with a shoulder injury before the season started, all was lost or at least that was the fear in Columbus. Enter Barrett who did struggle in his first two starts but has caught on masterfully to zero fanfare the last two weeks. Last Saturday night Barrett went 26-of-26 for 330 yards and 4 touchdowns and added 19 yards on the ground in the Buckeyes’ 50-28 win over instate opponent Cincinnati. Saturday’s performance was by far Barrett’s best as a Buckeye but he has really come on lately and expect to hear his name a lot in the next two weeks against Big Ten newcomers Maryland and Rutgers.
September MVP – Kenny Hill – QB – Texas A&M – It didn’t hurt that Hill’s debut game was his best so far this season but Hill is 3rd in the country in total offense (65% completion, 1745 yards, 17 touchdowns & 2 interceptions) and that is after being pulled early in three of the Aggies’ five games so far this season. Hill looked unflappable in Columbia the first night of college football and continued that streak well into last week’s game against Arkansas where Hill tossed two touchdown passes in the 4th quarter to force overtime where Texas A&M got the win over the Razorbacks. If Hill has an October like his September, Kenny will be first in line for the Heisman Trophy in December.
Honorable Mention – Clint Trickett – QB – West Virginia – The Mountaineers have played three Power Five conference teams and was in the ballgame with a chance to win all of them thanks to Trickett, his arm and his amazing hair. Trickett is completing 72% of his passes for 1600 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Coach of the Week – Gary Pinkel – Missouri – The Tigers had a rough week from people like me who bashed them left and right for their home loss to Indiana last Saturday night. Pinkel was able to rally the troops, go on the road and get a big conference win over South Carolina. Not only that, Pinkel and his Tigers had to come back from two scores down to win the game in the 4th quarter. I have reservations saying that Pinkel is one of the most tenured coaches in the SEC when he’s this is only his 3rd season in the conference but Pinkel and company have already won as many division titles as the coaching staff he beat on Saturday night.
Coach of the Month – Ruffin McNeil – East Carolina – The Pirates entered the 2014 season with eyes on possibly winning their new conference, the American Athletic Conference. I think we all expected them to have a pretty good shot since UCF was losing their quarterback and Louisville exited stage left for the ACC but none of us expected them to already have two wins against ACC teams and a narrow loss to South Carolina. Head Coach Ruffin McNeil arrived in 2010, got his team bowl eligible in 2012, lost a lot of weight and hasn’t looked back. After a 10-win season last season, the Pirates are well on their way to their first back-to-back double digit win seasons, thanks to Coach McNeil. And if you haven’t taken notice of Coach McNeil’s amazing weight loss, check it out.
Game of the Week – Texas A&M over Arkansas 35-28-OT – This game had everything: two overachieving teams in the sports’ most competitive divisions, old rivals from a past conference, star players on both sides, contrasting offensive styles, a come-from-behind victory, Jerry World as the location and it went into overtime. Kenny Hill engineered two touchdown drives in the 4th quarter to force the extra period and then followed it up with the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime. Hill finished the game with 386 yards passing and 4 touchdowns while Arkansas’ Alex Collins had 131 yards rushing and a touchdown on only 21 carries.
Game of the Month – South Carolina over Georgia 38-35 – Some critics say that the quality of a movie can’t truly be measured until a certain amount of time has passed and once it has, if the movie is still relevant and beloved, then it in fact is great. The same can be said about college football games and the Georgia/South Carolina game from Week 3 is a prime example of that. The Gamecocks took a 24-17 lead into halftime at home before a roaring comeback in the 4th quarter by the Bulldogs. And who can forget the 4th down play where South Carolina went for the first down on 4th-and-inches and ‘got it’ to much chagrin of Georgia fans who still think that South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson was short. There were a lot of first down protocol discussions the following week after that play and I’m sure Bulldogs fans will be pointing to that play a lot throughout the 2014 season.
Coach Who Should Turn In His Company Car – Brady Hoke – Michigan – Saturday’s loss to Minnesota was the culmination of a lot of things finally going terribly wrong at Michigan. Believe it or not, the Wolverines have actually out gained every opponent in yardage until the Gophers rolled into Ann Arbor but on Saturday Michigan only mustered 171 total yards of offense in front of a crowd who saw enough to leave the premises early in the 3rd quarter. If you haven’t guessed it Brady Hoke is also September’s Coach Who Needs To Pick Up His Paycheck At The Back Door. The Wolverines are on pace to have the worst turnover margin in the history of college football with their minus-12 mark before October has even arrived. The 2014 season is the first time in Michigan’s storied history that the Wolverines have lost three games before the calendar turned to October. All that is terrible but the worst part is how the University, Athletic Department, medical and coaching staff has handled an obvious concussion suffered by then starting quarterback Shane Morris. This has been a disastrous season for the Wolverines, too disastrous for Hoke, unfortunately, to keep his job.
Uniform of the Week – Baylor Bears – I scoured the internet looking for a better looking uniform from this past weekend but when green, gold & white are done correctly on a uniform, it’s a really good look. There is nothing flashy or crazy about it but the Bears just looked good on Saturday night. The gold bear paw on the shoulder is a nice subtle touch and the all white helmet really set it off. Good job by Baylor on that one.
Honorable Mention – Ole Miss Helmets – The uniforms for the Rebels haven’t really changed a whole lot in the last 60 years or so. Their helmet has changed a little from year to year but not much. Saturday night I saw the narrow lead by Ole Miss on the ticker and flipped over to the game only to have one of the most pleasant surprises of the season uniform-wise. Hopefully these ‘old blue’ helmets that were worn on Saturday night will make a return to the field because they looked fantastic!
Uniform of the Month – Navy Midshipmen Week 1 v. Ohio State – Not enough could be said about how amazing that Navy’s uniforms were on the opening Saturday of the 2014 college football season. The all white with navy blue and gold trim that reflected their rank in the Navy made this an easy choice for the Southern Football Report Uniforms of the Month. There has to be an unbelievable uniform make an appearance in 2014 to beat this one out for uniform of the year because so far, Navy is the leader in the clubhouse of great unis.
Dud Uniform of the Week – Texas Tech Red Raiders – Thursday night’s game between the Red Raiders and the Cowboys was a rough one to watch because Texas Tech’s uniforms looked like something a 4th grader would design when they were making a team on Madden. The combination of the wrap-around asymmetrical helmet logo, the unrecognizable logos on the shoulder, the ink-stain logo on the leg and the silver to white faded jerseys made for a really bad look. I was glad that they lost. Oh and by the way, Texas Tech also gets the dubious honor of the Southern Football Report Dud Uniform of the Month.
Honorable Mention – Nebraska Cornhuskers & Arizona State Sun Devils (helmet) – The Cornhuskers’ all-red uniforms along with their matte red helmets were absolutely impossible to look at for any extended period of time without cringing and as for Arizona State, they should just be ashamed of themselves for even considering those god-awful things they were wearing on their heads. I apologize in advance for the next two photos.
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