Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Big East awards race update: Week 13
By Brian Bennett
Only two regular-season games left -- or one, for Louisville and Syracuse -- for players to make to their cases for some individual hardware.
Player of the year race: Offense
1. Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut: Todman all but engraved his name on the trophy with a 130-yard, two-touchdown day against Syracuse on Saturday. He went over 1,300 yards for the season with two games left.
2. Armon Binns, WR, Cincinnati: Binns solidified his stake as the best receiver in the Big East, at least production-wise, with a six-catch, 139-yard performance against Rutgers. He needs 35 more yards to reach 1,000 for the season.
3. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith didn't do a whole lot in the Louisville game, completing just 9 of 20 passes, but he continues to be the most important player on the Mountaineers' offense.
4. Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville: Powell has been quiet most of the past few games because of injury, and on Saturday he barely made a dent in the stat sheet while dealing with an illness and the sick West Virginia defense.
5. Zach Collaros, QB, Cincinnati: Collaros tossed four more touchdown passes against Rutgers, giving him a league-best 24 on the season.
Player of the year race: Defense
1. Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh: Sheard was relatively quiet stats-wise against South Florida but is still the most-feared defender in the Big East.
2. Chris Neild, DT, West Virginia: The Mountaineers' defense is on a historic pace without a lot of superstars, but Neild starts it off as the anchor up front.
3. Lawrence Wilson, LB, Connecticut: Had eight more tackles against Syracuse to go over 100 for the second straight year.
4. Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia: Grabbed his Big East-best sixth interception versus Louisville.
Coach of the year race
1. Doug Marrone, Syracuse: No matter what else happens, winning seven games and getting the Orange back to a bowl should be enough for Marrone to win this award going away.
Coordinator of the year race
1. Jeff Casteel, West Virginia: His defense is just astounding, allowing 12.9 points and 88 rushing yards per game while leading the nation in third-down defense. If he doesn't get mentioned for head-coaching jobs this December, I'll be dumbfounded.
2. Scott Shafer, Syracuse: The Orange defense is responsible for the team's major turnaround, and Syracuse was flat-out nasty on the road because of it.
3. Mark Snyder, South Florida: Inherited a defense that lost five starters to the NFL and not only didn't lose a beat, but made them tougher against the more physical teams in the league.
4. Vance Bedford, Louisville: People usually talk about Charlie Strong when they mention the Cardinals' defense, but Bedford is the defensive coordinator. Louisville's defense is posting its best numbers in more than a decade. Considering the lack of elite talent on that side of the ball, especially up front, that's amazing.
Considering the way the Big East is gone, it's not at all amazing that all the coordinators on this list come from the defensive side of the ball.