Cavalcade, Part 2 - The Award Finalists
Idaho OG Mike Iupati
Idaho OG Mike Iupati
Posted Nov 24, 2009

Do you know who Mike Iupati is? Neither do many who voted him as a Outland Trophy finalist. However, overall, outside of the Butkus Award, the lists of finalists aren't all that bad. Pete Fiutak breaks down each major award and who he voted for (so far) in Part Two of the Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Nov. 24, Part 2

- Nov. 24, Part 1

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength With the voting season for the big awards upon us, I'm going to help out the voters with who deserves these things. I'm given a choice of finalists to select for some of the awards, and in other cases I had to go by the finalists presented. 

12. Mackey Award – Nation's Best Tight End
Finalists: Dorin Dickerson, Pitt; Aaron Hernandez, Florida; Dennis Pitta, BYU
The Vote Will Likely Be: 1) Dickerson, 2) Hernandez, 3) Pitta
My Vote: 1) Hernandez, 2) Dickerson, 3) Cody Slate, Marshall
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … Slate

Dickerson will end up winning the award because he's a tremendous receiver with great stats, but Hernandez was the nation's best all-around tight end this season. The Florida passing game did a whole bunch of nothing outside of the short to midrange passes to Hernandez over the first half of the season, and without him there would be even more dive plays than usual. Pitta is a wide receiver masquerading as a tight end, and he's been a slight disappointment.

11. Lou Groza Award – Nation's Best Kicker
Finalists: Kai Forbath, UCLA; Leigh Tiffin, Alabama; Blair Walsh, Georgia
The Vote Will Likely Be: 1) Forbath, 2) Tiffin, 3) Walsh
My Vote: 1) Forbath, 2) Tiffin, 3) Walsh
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … Grant Ressel, Missouri

Layup. Forbath is the UCLA offense, and without him, there would be no bowl, this would be a losing season, and Rick Neuheisel might be in a little bit of trouble. Tiffin has been good, but Forbath leads the nation in field goals and it's not like they've been cheap. Ressel deserves to be in the mix having hit 20-of-21 kicks on the year.

10. Ray Guy Award – Nation's Best Punter
Finalists: Drew Butler, Georgia; Zoltan Mesko, Michigan; Chas Henry, Florida
The Vote Will Be: 1) Butler, 2) Mesko, 3) Henry
My Vote: 1) Butler, 2) Mesko, 3) Henry
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … Matt Reagan, Memphis

Forbath deserves to be a slam dunk for the Lou Groza, but Butler is the lead-pipe lock of the year. Mesko has been terrific and deserves to be a finalist, bailing the inconsistent Wolverine offense time and again, while Henry has been fine the few times he has seen the field. Butler doesn't just lead the nation in punting, he leads by a ten-mile wide margin averaging 48.84 yards per kick while No. 2 man, Matt Reagan of Memphis, averages 45.72.

9. Outland Trophy – Nation's Best Interior Lineman
Finalists: Mike Iupati, Idaho; Russell Okung, Oklahoma State; Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
The Vote Will Be: 1) Suh, 2) Okung, 3) Iupati
My Vote: 1) Suh, 2) Terrence Cody, Alabama, 3) Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … Cody

(Heavy sigh) Mike Iupati is a big-time NFL prospect because of his size and athleticism, but an Outland Trophy finalist?! This is supposed to be about who's having the best season, and it's not like the Idaho O line is killing WAC defensive lines because of its future first round draft pick. I freely admit that I don't know enough about him outside of what I've heard; he seemed fine the few times I've watched Idaho, but an Outland Trophy finalist spot goes to the pretentious extreme (a line I blow past on a regular basis). Believe me, maybe two people who voted for Iupati could tell you anything about him. I could make up a guy, sell it right, and some voters would fight for him.

"Art Vandalay is flying under the radar because San Jose State is having such an awful season, but several scouts are talking about him as the highest riser in the draft. He was a late bloomer, but he has been destroying everyone and more than held his own against in the opener against USC. The coaches are saying he could turn out to be the best blocker the program has ever had."

The lesson? SIDs, if you have a stud offensive lineman worthy of post-season honors, sell him and sell him hard. The voters will bite (admittedly, myself included).

It doesn't matter. Suh might get every first place vote, and rightly so.

8. Davey O'Brien Award – Nation's Best Quarterback
Finalists: Case Keenum, Houston; Colt McCoy, Texas; Tim Tebow, Florida
The Vote Will Be: 1) McCoy, 2) Tebow, 3) Keenum
My Vote: 1) Keenum, 2) McCoy, 3) Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … LeFevour

The voters will pick McCoy in a lifetime achievement sort of way. They won't do that for the Heisman and their guilt will be alleviated with by picking him for the Davey O'Brien. To me, LeFevour deserves the lifetime achievement honor, too, as the greatest MAC player of all-time (not pro prospect, but college player), and it's flip a coin time right now between Keenum and McCoy. Keenum beat Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, just like McCoy, but he has had to do more for his team. Texas would still be unbeaten without McCoy.

7. Doak Walker Award – Nation's Best Running Back
Finalists: Toby Gerhart, Stanford; Mark Ingram, Alabama; C.J. Spiller, Clemson
The Vote Will Be: 1) Ingram, 2) Gerhart, 3) Spiller
My Vote: 1) Gerhart, 2) Ingram, 3) Ryan Mathews, Fresno State
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … Mathews

Is Spiller a first-team All-ACC running back? As an all-around player, yeah, but I'm not so sure that Georgia Tech's Jonathan Dwyer and Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams weren't better. I can't decide between Gerhart and Ingram. Ingram probably deserves it for carrying the Tide offense to an unbeaten record, but Gerhart has been unbelievable. I might flip-flop on this late in the game.

6. Biletnikoff Award – Nation's Best Wide Receiver
Finalists: Freddie Barnes, Bowling Green; Jordan Shipley, Texas; Golden Tate, Notre Dame
The Vote Will Be: 1) Barnes, 2) Tate, 3) Shipley
My Vote: 1) Tate, 2) Barnes, 3) Danario Alexander, Missouri
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … Alexander

Barnes is putting up monster stats, but he only came up with 70 yards on ten catches against Missouri and caught four passes for 24 yards against Boise State. Basically, he blew up the MAC. Tate not only has been consistently special, but he carried the passing attack when Michael Floyd was down. Sorry, C.J. Spiller, but Tate is the most electrifying player in college football. Alexander has been better this year than Shipley, especially over the last three games, catching 34 passes for 587 yards and four scores as the catalysts of a nice second half rebound for the Tigers.

5. Thorpe Award – Nation's Best Defensive Back
Finalists: Eric Berry, Tennessee; Joe Haden, Florida; Earl Thomas, Texas
The Vote Will Be: 1) Haden, 2) Berry, 3) Thomas
My Vote: 1) Haden, 2) Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State, 3) Trevin Wade, Arizona
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … Cox

Cox has been a terrific playmaker and Wade might be the best pure cover-corner in the country this year, but Haden has done it all for the Gators with a team-leading 44 solo tackles (and seven more stops than Brandon Spikes), three interceptions and three sacks. He has also broken up six passes including two in the key win over LSU. There's no arguing against Berry or Thomas, but Cox has been better against the pass.

4. Butkus Award – Nation's Best Linebacker
Finalists: Sergio Kindle, Texas; Rolando McClain, Alabama; Eric Norwood, South Carolina; Brandon Spikes, Florida; Sean Weatherspoon.
The Vote Will Be: 1) McClain, 2) Spikes, 3) Norwood
My Vote: 1) Greg Jones, Michigan State; 2) Pat Angerer, Iowa, 3) Luke Kuechly, Boston College
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Won't Be … Jones

Of all the awards, this one is the most embarrassing whiff and it's not even close. McClain is a phenomenal player, and he'll end up winning it, but he also benefits from having Terrence Cody and a tremendous line to work behind. Stats-wise, McClain shouldn't be in the discussion, and he didn't have anywhere near the season that my three choices had. Greg Jones was the best all-around linebacker in America, and he did it all without having a bunch of stars around him. But I get it; Michigan State wasn't a spotlight team. However, it's not like Iowa was hidden, and there's no excuse for Pat Angerer to not be a finalist. If Mark Herzlich, who missed the season recovering from cancer, had come up with the season that Luke Keuchly had, he'd have won the Butkus in a landslide. Kindle, Norwood and Spikes don't deserve to be within ten miles of winning the award.

3. Bednarik Award – Nation's Best Defensive Player
Finalists: Terrence Cody, Alabama; Brandon Spikes, Florida; Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
The Vote Will Be: 1) Suh, 2) Spikes, 3) Cody
My Vote: 1) Suh, 2) Greg Jones, Michigan State, 3) Pat Angerer, Iowa
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … Jerry Hughes, TCU

Having Spikes as a finalist is an embarrassment; he wasn't even the best defensive player on his own team this year (that was Joe Haden). Suh was the best defensive player in college football as the star and leader of a defense that carried the Huskers to the Big 12 Championship game. On an interesting note, the pass rushers didn't get a whole bunch of love this season. Hughes should've gotten on some list as the top player on a loaded TCU D.

2. Maxwell Award – Nation's Best Player
Finalists: Mark Ingram, Alabama; Colt McCoy, Texas; Tim Tebow, Florida
The Vote Will Be: 1) Ingram, 2) McCoy, 3) Tebow
My Vote: 1) Ingram, 2) McCoy, 3) Tebow
Player Who Should Be A Finalist But Isn't … Toby Gerhart, RB Stanford

The Maxwell often becomes the booby prize for the guy who won't win the Heisman. Tebow doesn't deserve to look at this list, much less be on it. Like all the major awards involving the offensive stars, I'm waiting to see more. No one has grabbed the reins this year.

1. Heisman – "The most outstanding college football player in the United States for 2009."
The Vote Will Be: 1) Mark Ingram, RB Alabama, 2) Colt McCoy, QB Texas, 3) Tim Tebow, QB Florida
My Vote: 1) Toby Gerhart, Stanford, 2) Ingram, 3) Case Keenum, Houston, but …

I'm waiting to the last possible nanosecond before submitting my vote. I'm a believer that the Heisman should go to the signature player of a season, and there hasn't been one yet. At the moment, Tebow shouldn't be in the discussion, but if he's the reason Florida beats Alabama and plays for the national title, he might be it. Yes, it all might come down to one game.

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.
- Miami's Jacory Harris said the team got fired up after a sluggish start when they heard Duke players singing. Either 1) Miami is mentally soft because it needs something so innocuous to get jacked up and 2) that's an indictment of the coaching staff that it can't flip the switch needed to get this team to play at its best. Miami should be playing for the ACC title, and isn't because it didn't always play up to its talent.
-How great are college football fans? Notre Dame has blocked the school plane's flight information on Why? It wants to keep it hidden if the plane goes to, say, Gainesville or Norman.
- You think college football fans are crazy? Check out the soccer world over in Europe and the bizarre situation with the Thierry Henry hand ball situation. Henry set up a goal with "Le Hand of God," controlling the ball with his hand leading to the game-winner to give France a win over Ireland. It has become such a big deal that Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are getting involved. College football fans get crazy, but soccer fans take nuts to a whole other level.
- To give Iowa a look-see later, I recorded the Minnesota game. For the first time ever, I used the "Hell, Yes … Please Delete Now" button.
- Uhhhhhh, isn't Connecticut in the Big East? In an attempt to make a bigger story out of the situation, everyone seemed bent on playing the Little Engine That Could card after the win over Notre Dame. It's not like this was Western Kentucky coming up to the FBS level and pulling off the upset. Connecticut is a living, breathing, BCS conference team.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Kari Wuhrer … Underrated: Marisol Massey

2) Overrated: USC trying to pick up the pieces over the last few week … Underrated: Los Angeles trying to brace itself for the invasion of Oprah
3) Overrated: The Ohio State throwbacks ... Underrated: The Oklahoma throwbacks
4) Overrated: All things Stoops, apart ... Underrated: All things Stoops when they were together at Oklahoma
5) Overrated: UGA VII ... Underrated: Stefanie Spielman (Sorry to be so crass to express utter sorrow of the tragic passing of Chris Spielman's wife in this way. Life sucks sometimes. A lot.

"It takes a big man to admit he's wrong, and I am not a big man." … The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off. Yeah, I'm back on my 1-2 kick. I press on. … 1) Florida -23 over Florida State, 2) Arizona -3 over Arizona State, 3) Auburn +13.5 over Alabama

Week 11 Results: 1) Iowa -10 over Minnesota (W Iowa 12-0), 2) Kent State +13.5 over Temple (L, Temple 47-13), 3) Stanford -7 over Cal (L, Cal 34-28) … Record So Far: 12-22-2.

My Heisman ballot this week would be (if the college football season ended right now) … 1) Toby Gerhart, RB Stanford, 2) Mark Ingram, RB Alabama, 3) Case Keenum, QB Houston

Sorry this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … I thought I could spike the ball and get my field goal team on to the field even though I was out of time outs and there was one second left on the clock. I hurried up to the line and should have enough time to get out one final pl ...

 - Nov, 24.. Part 1