NCF Nation: 2011-conference-opoy-poll

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton made the voting process for this award pretty easy last season. The Heisman Trophy winner led the SEC in passing and rushing and guided the Tigers to an undefeated season.

However, 2011 has a handful of worthy candidates for the award.

Alabama might have the most talented running back in the league in junior Trent Richardson. He finally gets to be the feature back in the Tide's offense. With his speed and strength, he should be as effective as Mark Ingram was. He could be even better. Expect the offense to lean on him with a new, young quarterback taking over.

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore was the 2010 SEC Freshman on the Year, so he'll naturally be a favorite to win this award in the fall. Like Richardson, if the Gamecocks put a young quarterback out there, Lattimore will see his number of carries rise.

Quarterbacks account for most of the offensive production, and now that Georgia's Aaron Murray has a year under his belt, he could be a stat machine in his second season. Also, guiding an offense that lost the likes of A.J. Green will only help his chances of taking the award.

But Tyler Wilson might throw for enough yards to win the award for two. He figures to fit right into Arkansas' offense and has the advantage of having the best trio of receivers in the SEC.
Unlike the league's defenders, the top talent on offense is all back next season.

That could mean big numbers on the scoreboard.

Justin Blackmon won the award last season, and could be even better as a junior. Can he top his 1,782 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns?

Ryan Broyles was one of the favorites before the season, but Blackmon surpassed him as the league's best receiver -- and the nation's best. Will he upset the order as a senior in 2011?

Landry Jones brings back the deepest corps of receivers he's ever thrown to, adding a couple possible impact freshmen to the mix. He already runs college football's fastest offense and threw the ball more than anyone last season. Will that bring the league's offensive player of the year award, and perhaps a Heisman?

Brandon Weeden, like Jones, brings back his top target in the passing game. But will his new offensive coordinator, Todd Monken, be able to keep the bar high for Oklahoma State's offense?

Cyrus Gray closed the season better than almost anyone last season, carrying with him a streak of 100 yards rushing in seven consecutive games. How long will that continue now that his teammate in the backfield, Christine Michael, returns from a broken leg?

Vote: Non-AQ Offensive POY

May, 12, 2011
We just had a poll on defensive player of the year for the non-AQs. Now we end the day with a poll asking you, "Who is going to be the offensive player of the non-AQs in 2011?"

Two of the players I selected are my players to watch in my spring wrap: Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore and San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman. I have also included on this list Chandler Harnish of Northern Illinois, Bryant Moniz of Hawaii and G.J. Kinne of Tulsa.

Harnish had an outstanding junior season after many wondered whether or not he would be completely healthy for 2010. He ended up starting every game but one last season and threw for 2,530 yards, 21 touchdowns and five interceptions while adding 836 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. With Chad Spann gone, the Huskies could rely more on him -- especially with a deep and talented receiving group.

Kinne is playing for his third offensive coordinator in three years at Tulsa. He flourished last season en route to Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year honors, leading the team in passing (3,650 yards) and rushing (561 yards). Moniz threw for 5,040 yards -- tops in the NCAA last season -- though he does lose his two leading receivers. Hillman led all freshmen with 1,532 yards rushing and could be even better in 2011.

But it is a no-brainer to pick Moore once again as the non-AQ offensive player of the year. Do we sound like a broken record yet?
It’s nearly impossible to narrow the list of possible candidates for this year’s ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Trust me, the arguments I’ve had with myself about it have been longer than the season itself. Truth is, there is no clear frontrunner this year -- not with so many new faces at quarterback. Virginia Tech alone has two possible candidates in quarterback Logan Thomas and running back David Wilson. But we haven’t seen enough of either one to be certain.

Duke quarterback Sean Renfree should be given legitimate consideration, as he threw only two interceptions in his final 188 pass attempts of 2010 and has some of the top receivers in the league to throw to. If Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd leads the Tigers to a winning record in the first five weeks there’s no question he should become a frontrunner. The same can be said in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, where Mike Glennon and Bryn Renner both have teams capable of contending for their respective division titles.

There are also plenty of proven winners who should be considered: Boston College running back Montel Harris is ready to cap a record-setting career. Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel has two bowl wins to his name. And Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien was the ACC’s 2010 Rookie of the Year.

This is one race that should unfold and become clearer as the season progresses, but we’ve got to start somewhere.
Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is not only the top returning Heisman Trophy candidate in the nation, he also is the defending conference offensive player of the year.

But he will have plenty of competition to defend his crown in 2011, including from fellow Heisman Trophy finalist LaMichael James, the speedy running back from Oregon.

James might not even be the top candidate from Oregon. Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas -- in his first season as a starter -- put up comparable numbers to Luck in 2010. With a rebuilding offensive line, Oregon might need to pass more, which could help Thomas' candidacy.

At Washington, running back Chris Polk might put up huge numbers while the Huskies break in a new quarterback. Speaking of huge numbers, Arizona QB Nick Foles is a candidate to eclipse 4,000 yards, with a pass-happy offense and deep crew of receivers.

And, of course, Luck is Luck. If he wins the Heisman, you'd think he's in pretty good shape to earn POY honors.

The Pac-12 has plenty of potential Heisman Trophy and All-American candidates on the offensive side of the ball. But who will be the best?
Today's voting session ends with a fun question: Who will be the Big East's offensive player of the year in 2011?

You can post your answer in the poll below, and we'll tally the results and react to them later on. I gave early odds on the offensive player of the year race back in March, and here are my top five nominees:
  • Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Smith is already one of the league's best players and now will get plugged into Dana Holgorsen's offense, which has been shown to hyper-inflate quarterbacks' numbers. A 4,000-plus yard season is not out of the question.
  • Zach Collaros, QB, Cincinnati: Collaros was the first team All-Big East quarterback and should be even better with another year of experience in Butch Jones' system as a senior.
  • Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh: Graham has been electric in limited time behind Dion Lewis, and now he gets the ball all to himself in an offense that promises to use him in a variety of ways.
  • B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida: Daniels is key to what the Bulls hope to accomplish and can be a dangerous dual-threat player when he is playing under control and within the system.
  • Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati: Running backs have won the past three of these awards, and Pead is the league's leading returning rusher.

So there are your nominees. Now it's time to let your voice be heard. Vote early, vote often.
We round out the day of polling with a look at the Big Ten's offensive player of the year race.

For the second consecutive year, the Big Ten returns its reigning offensive POY. Wisconsin running back John Clay wasn't able to repeat as the winner after claiming the award in 2009. Indiana running back Anthony Thompson is the only player to win Big Ten offensive player of the year in consecutive seasons (1988-89).

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson can change things with another superb season this fall. Robinson set the NCAA quarterback rushing record with 1,702 yards in 2010, became the first player in FBS history to record 2,500 pass yards and 1,500 rush yards in the same season, and also set several Michigan marks. But the Wolverines junior is transitioning to a new offense that might present some challenges.

Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa is another leading candidate after rehabbing from a ruptured Achilles' that cut short his 2010 season. Persa set a Big Ten record for completion percentage (73.5 percent) and will lead what could be one of the league's best offenses this season.

Not to be forgotten is Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins, who enters his third season as a starter after leading the Spartans to a share of their first Big Ten title in two decades. Cousins battled through injuries during the second half of last season. At full strength, he could have a huge year.

Don't forget about the Big Ten running backs in this race. Wisconsin has two of the best in Montee Ball and James White, who could end up competing against each other for the award.

What say you?