The regular season unfortunately has come to a close and as the top players from around the country are on the trophy tour & visiting Disney World while the fans are sitting around and waiting on the bowl season to begin (which begins in 9 days). All season long we have been handing out weekly superlatives and now it’s time to hand out some season awards so here we go.
MVP – J.T. Barrett – QB – Ohio State – We’ve heard this story so much this season that I think we’ve become numb to how incredible it really is. Ten days before the season started Ohio State’s starting quarterback Braxton Miller went down with a serious shoulder injury and forced redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett into the starting position even though Barrett had yet to take a single snap in a college game. The freshman didn’t play terribly but played like a freshman in the Buckeye’s first two games and lost a home game to what turned out to be a bad Virginia Tech team. Since that point Barrett really turned the corner and led the Buckeyes to the Big Ten Championship Game after averaging 50 points per game in the 11 wins after the loss. Barrett went down with a broken leg in the Michigan game but Ohio State is in the first ever College Football Playoff due in large part to the play of the freshman with an extremely bright future.
Coach of the Year – Willie Fritz – Georgia Southern – There was a lot of speculation as to whether the Eagles of Georgia Southern would be able to compete in big time college football after having lots of success in the FCS ranks. Georgia Southern opened the season against NC State in Raleigh and had a chance to win the game but a costly fumble in the Wolfpack redzone preserved the win for the home team. Two weeks later, after a woodshed beating of Savannah State, the Eagles traveled to Atlanta to play their former coach and would-be ACC Coastal Champion Georgia Tech and rallied from a big deficit to hold the lead until the final 30 seconds when Tech eventually won the game. It was all smooth sailing from there as the Eagles went on to complete an undefeated conference season in their first season in the FBS and the Sun Belt Conference, where their average margin of victory in conference play was 19 points. First year head coach Willie Fritz deserves every accolade and some and the Eagles deserve a bowl game. I’m looking at you NCAA.
Game of the Year – Ole Miss defeats Alabama 23-17 – To me there was only one choice for this category as the only thing missing from this game was overtime and it really didn’t need it. If was the first time that ESPN’s College Gameday traveling band of misfits’ trip to Oxford, Mississippi, and the legendary ‘Grove’ party scene. Ole Miss had climbed the polls to just outside of the top ten at number 11 while they were welcoming the 3rd ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The first half ended with Alabama up 14-3 fresh off of a defensive touchdown late in the second quarter. The second half was all Rebels as Ole Miss put 20 points on the board after halftime and held Alabama to only 3 points but the big play came in the final minute when Alabama was driving down the field for the would-be game-winning touchdown. With thirty seven seconds remaining Alabama quarterback Blake Sims heaved a pass towards the end zone and tight end O.J. Howard when Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson made a circus interception in the back of the end zone to preserve the 6 point win.
Coach Who Should Probably Be Fired But Won’t Because He’s Been There Too Long To Fire For Only Winning Eight Games – Bob Stoops – Oklahoma – It hasn’t been a great year for Bob Stoops. For one of the first times in a long time the Sooner defense hasn’t been very good and the quarterback that showed so much promise in last year’s bowl game turned out to not be very good this season. In 2014, Oklahoma has played three ranked opponents and lost all three games and also was defeated in overtime by their not yet bowl eligible in state rival Oklahoma State Cowboys. This was an Oklahoma team that started the season ranked in the top five and many believed was going to be in the college playoff but since then they just haven’t played up to their potential this season and in the end, that falls on the head coach.
Uniform of the Year – Navy Midshipmen ‘Dress Whites’ – I have a soft spot in my heart for all of the service academies and usually enjoy most of their uniforms. When Navy busted out their new all-white uniforms in the first week of the season I knew they would be tough to beat for the rest of the season. The all white motif reflected the ‘Dress Whites’ worn by the cadets and also reflected the rank of each cadet individually on their uniform. It was a very good look on the gridiron and I wish they would wear them more often.
Dud Uniform of the Year – Texas A&M Aggies 1939 Throwbacks – Good lord, these things were hideous from the word ‘go’. They looked bad in pictures and even worse when the Aggies took the field against UL-Monroe wearing them. I guess Texas A&M wanted to get by with wearing them in a game a lot of people wouldn’t be watching.
Tune in to the Southern Football Report Bowl Special on Saturday December 20th from 10 am until Noon on Live 101.9, Rockin 106.3 & Q 92.3 FM for a regular season wrap up as well a commentary on all the big bowls coming up this bowl season!