We’re about halfway through the college football season (although, with conference championships and bye weeks, do we actully know when the halfway point really is?), which means it’s time to review some of the highlights from the first half of the year. And what’s everyone’s favorite way to showcase accomplishments? Awards, of course! So here are the 2015 College Football Midseason Awards.
Best Offensive Player: RB Leonard Fournette, LSU
In Saturday’s win over Western Kentucky, Fournette ran for 150 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. AND THAT WAS HIS WORST GAME OF THE SEASON! The first six games of the year, Fournette was averaging over 200 yards per game and more than two touchdowns. On the season he has 1352 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s going to win the Heisman. No doubt about it.
I really wanted to give Corey Coleman, Baylor’s top wide receiver, this award due to his 18 touchdowns and because Fournette’s so obvious, but he doesn’t even have 1,000 yards receiving. Fournette might get 1,000 more yards before the end of the regular season! He’s a freaking beast.
Best Defensive Player: DB Eddie Jackson, Alabama
Eddie Jackson will not be the first player on the Alabama defense drafted if he goes pro at the end of this season. However, he’s having a statistically great year. He’s intercepted 5 passes (which is third in the country) and returned two of them for touchdowns. Jackson’s success finally proves that Nick Saban is Satan incarnate giving his football players supernatural abilities in return for their souls.
Best Final Play: Georgia Tech Returns Blocked Kick
Florida State and Georgia Tech are tied at 16 with six seconds left. The Seminoles are undefeated and hoping to get back into the College Football Playoffs. They line up for a 56-yard kick, and then this happens:
Did you see all his teammates waving their arms telling him not to return the kick? Good thing that guy had more balls than the locker room attendants! But seriously, how often do you see a game won on a blocked field goal return? That’s pretty exciting, even if Georgia Tech’s season is a complete disappointment otherwise.
Best Radio Call on a Final Play: Michigan Student Radio
As much as I love the announcer in the Georgia Tech clip yelling, “What a time to be alive,” the Michigan student radio station has them beat. Up by two points with less than 20 seconds to play against their rivals, the Michigan State Spartans, the Wolverines just need to punt the ball down field. Here’s what happened:
That’s a great clip. But here’s how Michigan student radio called the play:
I love the guy yelling, “NOOOOOOOO,” right as the Spartans cross the goal line. You can literally hear his heart-breaking live on the radio.
Best GIF: P Michael Dickson, Texas Longhorns
Believe it or not, I don’t think the Michigan fumble was the worst play by a punter of the season. That honor would belong to Michael Dickson for this horrendous play:
Not only is that perhaps the worst punt I’ve ever seen, Oklahoma State was able to kick the game-winning field goal seconds after it happened.
QB Who’s Really Good But Won’t Be Drafted Until the 5th Round in the NFL For Some Reason: QB Trevone Boykin, TCU
Let’s compare two players really quick.
QB1: 2265 yards, 65.5 completion pct., 20 TD, 9 INT, 70.2 QBR
QB2: 2539 yards, 66.4 completion pct., 25 TD, 5 INT, 89.2 QBR
The first player is Cal QB Jared Goff, who is projected to be the first quarterback taken in next year’s NFL Draft. He’s played only two good teams, Utah and UCLA, and lost to both of them (and threw five INTs against the Utes).
The second is TCU QB Trevone Boykin. In addition to those stats, he’s also run for 440 yards and five TDs. And yet, he’s projected to go anywhere from the 5th to 7th rounds.
Jared Goff is 6’4” and plays in a “traditional” offense, while Boykin is only 6’2” and doesn’t just stand in the pocket and throw an eight-yard slant pass every play. He can scramble, he can throw deep, he can make plays. But because he doesn’t fit what the NFL views as a “traditional” mold for a quarterback, he won’t get drafted until late and might even have to change to a running back or wide receiver.
Dear NFL offensive coordinators, if you’re wondering why your team is 3-4 with some random white guy as your quarterback, it’s not because your quarterback lacks toughness or has bad arm strength. It’s because you suck at your job and can’t figure out how to design an offensive around an incredibly gifted quarterback like Trevone Boykin, or Johnny Manziel, or Michael Vick, or Vince Young, or any good college quarterback from the past 15 years who wasn’t some 6'5" white guy. (Isn’t it weird how many “bust” NFL quarterbacks happen to black? Just saying.) Look at what Carolina’s doing with Cam Newton and take notes.
Most Underrated Conference: Big Ten
Everyone knows Ohio State is the number one team in the country and Michigan State is a top 10 team as well. But did you know Iowa is also ranked no. 10 right now? No one even thought Iowa would be ranked right now, let alone undefeated. Michigan is no. 15 in the country as well, having only lost to ranked Utah and the Spartans. Outside of the rankings, Penn State, Wisconsin and Northwestern are all 6-2. (The Wildcats have only lost to Michigan and Iowa and beat a ranked Duke team and a top-10 Stanford team. Yes, I’m a Northwestern alum.) Minnesota and Illinois are both above .500. And Indiana, despite being only 4-4, have given both Michigan State and Ohio State scares this year. Not only does this conference have three great teams, they have a lot of depth as well.
Not that you’d know any of that from watching ESPN…
Most Overrated Conference: SEC
I will admit that I am an avowed SEC hater, but let’s be honest for a second: the SEC has the same exact makeup as the Big Ten right now. Three elite teams (LSU, Alabama, and Florida), two teams that are 6-2, two that are 5-2 and a bunch of mediocre teams. The difference is while none of the Big Ten 6-2 teams are ranked, all of the SEC ones are. The college football world has just universally agreed the SEC is the best even though all they do is beat up on each other all season long and destroy their creampuff non-conference schedules.
Let’s hope another non-SEC College Football Champion will end the media’s obsession with the conference.
Best Coach: Les Miles, LSU
How much of LSU’s success can be credited to Les Miles as opposed to Leonard Fournette? I don’t know, but LSU is the only undefeated team in the SEC, which no one would’ve predicted at the beginning of the year. So he gets it by default. The other coaches at the top of the polls (Urban Meyer at Ohio State, Art Briles at Baylor, Mark Dantonio at Michigan State) were all expected to be good. And the other really good teams (Iowa, Oklahoma State) haven’t played anyone that good.
Baylor’s starting quarterback just got injured and they’ll have to start a freshman the rest of the season. If Baylor ends up winning the Big 12 without their starter, then Briles will probably win this. We’ll see if Miles and LSU are the real deal in their next game against Alabama.
Mid-Major Team You Should Root For: Memphis
Of the four non-Power Five teams that are currently ranked, three of them play in the AAC (Temple, Memphs, Houston). Of those three, Memphis is the only one who’s beaten a team that’s actually good in Ole Miss. (Temple did beat Penn State, who are ok but not nearly as good as Ole Miss.) In order for Memphis to go undefeated, they will have to play the other two on the road. If they accomplish that, they will almost certainly be in the top 10 and present the College Football Playoff Selection Committee (or whatever it’s called) with a major dilemma: Do we put an undefeated team that played almost no good opponents into the playoff and leave a one-loss Power Five Team out? Or do we keep them out and have everyone accuse us of having a major conference bias?
College football is all about chaos. Memphis going undefeated would cause the most chaos imaginable. So…let’s go Tigers!
Best Gameday Signs: James Madison University
To finish off this article, let’s take a moment to appreciate the glory that was College Gameday this past weekend. The ESPN crew went to the university since they were hosting their rival Richmond (and there wasn’t really any other good locations). While it might seem like a pretty lame location, they actually had the funniest Gameday signs of the first half of the season. Here are some of the highlights:
This seems likely to work, Bradley. pic.twitter.com/pFExVb9Ga0— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 24, 2015
Bravo, James Madison University.
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Joseph Misulonas is the Girls co-editor for Playboy.com. He can be found on Twitter at @jmisulonas.