The Award Finalists. Who Should Win?

Campus Insiders & CFN
Posted Nov 26, 2013

Fiu analyzes and predicts the winners for all the big awards.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

November 26 - The Awards

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The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
The main awards, the finalists, who'll win, and who deserves to win …

13. Butkus - Top Linebacker
Finalists: Anthony Barr, UCLA; Khalil Mack, Buffalo; C.J. Mosley, Alabama; Ryan Shazier, Ohio State; Shayne Skov, Stanford
The vote will be: 1. Mosley, 2. Barr, 3. Skov

My vote: 1. Mosley, 2. Barr, 3. Mack
Who Got Hosed?: 1. Trent Murphy, Stanford, 2. Keith Smith, San Jose State, 3. Tyler Matakevich, Temple

With some of the guys from Pro Football Weekly involved, the Butkus has always taken on a different look with more of a pro prospect slant. Barr might have a chance, since he and Mack will be top ten picks, but the college side of the voters will all take Mosley. Shazier deserves to be close enough to make it a fight.

12. Lou Groza – Best Kicker
Finalists: Robert Aguayo, Florida State; Anthony Fera, Texas; Marvin Kloss. USF
The vote will be: 1. Fera, 2. Aguayo, 3. Kloss

My vote: 1. Kloss, 2. Fera, 3. Aguayo
Who Got Hosed?: 1. Nate Freese, Boston College; 2. Jeremiah Detmer, Toledo; 3. Shawn Moffitt, UCF

Considering South Florida has no offense whatsoever, I'm voting for Kloss, who has bombed away time and again to try to keep the team alive. Without him, there's absolutely no Bull O whatsoever. Fera isn't a bad choice, nailing almost everything, missing just one field goal and getting one extra point blocked, and Aguayo is having a special freshman season missing just one kick all year. Freese is the only kicker in America who has yet to miss a field goal attempt.

11. Ray Guy – Best Punter
Finalists: Tom Hornsey, Memphis; Drew Kaser, Texas A&M; Cody Webster, Purdue
The vote will be: 1. Kaser, 2. Hornsey, 3. Webster

My vote: 1. Hornsey, 2. Kaser, 3. Webster
Who Got Hosed?: 1. Austin Rehkow, Idaho; 2. Justin Manton, ULM; 3. Zac Murphy, Miami Univ.

It's an odd group of finalists. None of them rank in the top five in average yards, and Webster barely makes the top 20. Kaser has been fantastic, but he's not needed much for the A&M offense and hasn't kicked enough to rank among the NCAA leaders and has been nailed with seven touchbacks. However, his 48 yards per kick would lead everyone, putting 14 of his 36 kicks inside the 20. Hornsey, an Australian, is a machine at putting the ball inside the 20, averaging 45.5 yards per kick so far putting 23 inside the 20 and 95 of his career kicks deep. Webster has been fine, but not Ray Guy-worthy averaging 43.5 yards per try with 22 put inside the 20. However, he has only given up one touchback.

10. Mackey – Best Tight End
Finalists: Eric Ebron, North Carolina, 2. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington, 3. Nick O'Leary, Florida State
The vote will be: 1. Ebron, 2. Seferian-Jenkins, 3. O'Leary

My vote: 1. Ebron, 2. Seferian-Jenkins, 3. O'Leary
Who Got Hosed?: 1. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech; Devin Funchess, Michigan; 3. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa

Jace Amaro of Texas Tech is by far - BY FAR - the best tight end in America, if you count him as a tight end in the Red Raider offense, catching 92 passes for 1,157 yards and six touchdowns, and it's the most glaring miss of the entire award season. Ebron is one of the best all-around tight ends in the country and is off to the NFL early next year - he'll be drafted behind Amaro - and Sefarian-Jenkins isn't far behind. O'Leary is fine, but he made his big splash with three touchdown catches in the nationally televised opener against Pitt - he's not one of the nation's top three tight ends.

9. Thorpe – Best Defensive Back
Finalists: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State; Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State; Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State
The vote will be: 1. Dennard 2. Joyner, Gilbert

My vote: 1. Joyner, 2. Dennard, 3. Gilbert
Who Got Hosed?: 1. Anthony Harris, Virginia; 2. Justin Verrett, TCU; 3. Tim Bennett, Indiana

Dennard Island has become a key part to the Michigan State defensive puzzle. Not just a great lockdown defender, he's a decent hitter, coming up with nine tackles against Northwestern and eight against Iowa. Gilbert has been an elite kick returner to go along with his six picks, with two against Texas taking one for a touchdown, and he's a strong open field tackler. Joyner got my vote - just barely over Dennard - because of his all-around physical style - ranking second on the Noles with 55 tackles - and while he only has one pick and three broken up passes, that's partly because no one throws his way.

8. Nagurski – Best Defensive Player
Finalists: 1. CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State, 2. DT Aaron Donald, Pitt, 3. DB Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State, 4. LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama, 5. DE Michael Sam, Missouri
The vote will be: 1. Mosley, 2. Donald, 3. Sam

My vote: 1. Donald,  2. Mosley, 3. Sam, 4. Joyner, 5. Dennard
Who Got Hosed?: 1. LB Trent Murphy, Stanford, 2. LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo, 3. DE Marcus Smith, Louisville

Donald has the potential to rip through the award season, but there's a chance he could get the awards for the linemen and Mosley takes this, along with the Butkus. Trent Murphy deserved to be a finalist.

7. Outland – Best Interior Lineman
Finalists: 1. DT Aaron Donald, Pitt; 2. OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M; 3. OT Cyril Richardson, Baylor
The vote will be: 1. Donald, 2. Matthews, 3. Richardson

My vote: 1. Donald, 2. Matthews, 3. Richardson
Who Got Hosed?: 1. OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama; 2. RaShede Hageman, Minnesota; 3. Will Sutton, Arizona State

This is easy. Donald is the best interior pass rusher in America, and it's not even close. Matthews has been good, but he hasn't been night-and-day better than Kouandjio. As good as Donald has been, Hageman isn't far behind in terms of being an all-around factor in the interior, but he's not an every down factor, having to hit the sidelines a bit too often.

6. Davey O'Brien – Best Quarterback
Finalists: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M; AJ McCarron, Alabama; Jameis Winston, Florida State
The vote will be: 1. Winston, 2. McCarron, 3. Manziel

My vote: 1. Winston, 2. Manziel, 3. McCarron
Who Got Hosed?: 1. Derek Carr, Fresno State, 2. Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois, 3. Tajh Boyd, Clemson

You could make a reasonable case that McCarron isn't even close to being the best quarterback in the SEC this year, much less nationally. Lynch and Carr have been better than both Manziel and McCarron, but obviously against inferior competition. Boyd belonged among the finalists - especially over McCarron - and Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger and Marcus Mariota all had terrific seasons. Of course, Winston is the runaway winner under normal circumstances, and his status could change in a hurry.

5. Doak Walker – Best Running Back
Finalists: 1. Ka'Deem Carey Arizona; 2. Bishop Sankey, Washington; 3. Andre Williams, Boston College
The vote will be: 1. Williams, 2. Carey, 3. Sankey

My vote: 1. Williams, 2. Carey, 3. Sankey
Who Got Hosed?: 1. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska; 2. Kapri Bibbs, Colorado State; 3. Tre Mason, Auburn

I'm fortunate enough and honored to be one of the consultants for this, and this year it was tough to find any back that stood out - until Williams took control of the season. Carey isn't a wrong answer, but the 2,073 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns in 11 games - and 1,063 yards and eight scores in his last four games - should be too impressive for Carey to overcome. How amazing has Williams been? If you just took his last five games, he'd be the nation's 13th-leading rusher. 

4. Bednarik – Best Defensive Player
Finalists: LB Anthony Barr, UCLA; DT Aaron Donald, Pitt; LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
The vote will be: 1. Donald, 2. Mosley, 3. Barr

My vote: 1. Donald, 2. Mosley, 3. Barr
Who Got Hosed?: 1. LB Trent Murphy, Stanford; 2. DE Michael Sam, Missouri; 3. LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo

Donald is picking up steam as the most dominant lineman in college football this year, and that might be just enough to overcome Mosley, who's just as deserving of the honor. Barr will have to settle for being one of the top five overall draft picks. Murphy was a huge misfire on a national scale, being left off of most of the award consideration.

3. Biletnikoff – Best Receiver
Finalists: Brandin Cooks, Oregon State; Mike Evans, Texas A&M; Sammy Watkins, Clemson
The vote will be: 1. Evans, 2. Watkins, 3. Cooks

My vote: 1. Evans, 2. Watkins, 3. Cooks
Who Got Hosed?: 1. Davante Adams, Fresno State; 2. Antwan Goodley, Baylor; 3. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

It's an interesting year for the Biletnikoff with no real wrong answers. Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews has been incredible, Baylor's Antwan Goodley has been unstoppable, and Fresno State's Davante Adams has been unreal, but they didn't make the cut. There might not be a more valuable receiver than Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis or Penn State's Allen Robinson, Colorado's Paul Richardson has been a great story, and Ball State's Willie Snead is the best receiver you've never seen. Watkins might be the nation's most talented receiver, but Evans and his big games on big stages should be enough to overcome the raw stats of Cooks.

2. Maxwell – Best Player
Finalists: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, AJ McCarron, Alabama; Jameis Winston, Florida State
The vote will be: 1. Winston, 2. McCarron, 3. Manziel

My vote: 1. Winston, 2. McCarron, 3. Manziel
Who Got Hosed?: 1. RB Andre Williams, Boston College; 2. RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona; 3. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State; 4. QB Jordan Lynch, NIU

The Maxwell usually goes to one top player, and the Heisman goes to another. It all depends on the Winston controversy, but based on on-field merit, he deserves both.

1. Heisman – Best Player
The vote will be: 1. Winston, 2. McCarron, 3. Manziel
Who Is Going To Get Hosed?: 1. RB Andre Williams, Boston College; 2. RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona; 3. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State; 4. QB Jordan Lynch, NIU

McCarron will get the stage all to himself against Auburn, and as long as the team wins, he'll get the credit for the W. Manziel is out unless he rips up Missouri in a win, and others like Williams, Carey and Lynch will take on several No. 3 spots on ballots. The key will be the timing in the Winston situation. By the time the legal process plays itself out - if Winston is even charged - the Heisman voting will be over. If the off-the-field controversy wasn't a part of it this would be one of the biggest landslides of all-time.

Random Acts of Nutty … Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every man want to be you (or vice versa) a.k.a. things I didn't feel like writing bigger blurbs for.

- The hottest team in the state of Florida besides Florida State is ... Florida Atlantic?! The Owls have won three straight and will be bowl eligible if they can get by Florida International.

- I say this every year. The Heisman ballots have gone out, and anyone who submits their vote now before the regular season is actually over, should be eliminated from the process.

- No one has paid any attention to Notre Dame since the losses to Michigan and Oklahoma, but its 2013 is just as crazy and strange as 2012. How did the team that clunked against Pitt beat Michigan, Arizona State and USC?

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated Kennedy… Underrated: LBJ
2) Overrated: Florida State's schedule … Underrated: Ohio State's schedule
3) Overrated: Northern Illinois ... Underrated: Fresno State
4) Overrated: Pumpkin Pie ... Underrated: Pecan Pie
5) Overrated: Turkey ... Underrated: Beef Tenderloin

"If it were me, I'd bet everything. But that's me. I'm an aggressive gambler. Mr. Vegas. Come on. Go for it. Go for it. Yes, yes, there we go. I'm in."
Sit back and enjoy the ride, baby. 14-3 against the spread over the last two weeks, and the music won't stop now …
1) Ole Miss -3 over Mississippi State
2) Toledo -7.5 over Akron
3) Rutgers -3 over Connecticut
4) Tennessee -3 over Kentucky
5) Missouri -4 over Texas A&M
6) Alabama -10.5 over Auburn
7) Clemson +5.5 over South Carolina
- Record So Far: 42-14 SU, 29-27 ATS

Sorry this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … it's not a big deal at all. I already won a Rose Bowl, so it feels, like, "whatever."