NCF Nation: awards-110211

Pac-12 superlative tracker

November, 2, 2011
Tracking the offensive, defensive and coach of the year races in the Pac-12.

For a more thorough look at offense, re-read our Heisman Watch update.

Offensive player of the year

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: He ranks fifth in the nation in passing efficiency. He's completing 72 percent of his throws with 23 touchdowns and four interceptions.

2. Chris Polk, RB, Washington: Polk ranks second in the Pac-12 and fifth in the nation with 127 yards rushing per game. His nine rushing touchdowns rank second in the conference.

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon: James returned to action against Washington State after missing two games. He had 53 yards rushing on 13 carries in the Ducks' win. He ranks second in the nation with 150.8 yards rushing per game.

4. Robert Woods, WR, USC: Woods caught nine passes for 89 yards and a touchdown in the triple-overtime loss to Stanford. He ranks No. 5 in the nation with 123.9 receiving yards per game.

Defensive player of the year

1. Chase Thomas, LB, Stanford: Thomas leads the conference in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (11.5). He's also forced three fumbles.

2. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State: Burfict ranks second on the Sun Devils with 45 tackles, with 6.0 tackles for loss and four sacks. He also has an interception and four passes defended.

3. Mychal Kendricks, LB, California: Kendricks is fifth in the conference with 7.4 tackles per game. He also has 6.5 tackles for loss.

Coach of the year

1. Dennis Erickson, Arizona State: If the Sun Devils win out and win the South Division, Erickson is a good bet for coach of the year -- unless these other guys do something really special. Like play for a national title.

2. David Shaw, Stanford: Shaw remains unbeaten as a head coach. If he's still unbeaten on Dec. 3, he's the Coach of the Year.

3. Chip Kelly, Oregon: How could Kelly not be Coach of the Year if he wins a third consecutive Pac-12 title?

4. Steve Sarkisian, Washington: Sark's candidacy needs a win on Saturday against Kelly.

Big 12 Awards Update: Week 10

November, 2, 2011
Here's our weekly update on the major Big 12 award races.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State: Weeden's excellence in conference play lands him at the top of the list for the first time this season. He's completing over 71 percent of his passes and has 22 touchdowns.

2. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma: Broyles leads the nation at 133.8 receiving yards per game, and is second in receiving yards (1,070) and receiving touchdowns (10). He still has an outside shot to break the NCAA career receiving yardage record, too.

3. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Griffin's award stock is sliding a bit after two blowout losses, but he's still leading the league in completion percentage and has two fewer interceptions (4) than any Big 12 QB with at least 160 pass attempts.

Honorable mention: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma, Henry Josey, RB, Missouri,

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: Brown made seven tackles in the loss to Oklahoma, and his chances will be made or broken in the next two weeks against OSU and Texas A&M.

2. Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M: Porter moved into sole possession of the Big 12 lead in sacks, with 8.5. He's got 12 tackles for loss and 51 total stops.

3. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma: Alexander had a quiet big night in the loss to Texas Tech, but made just one tackle against Kansas State on Saturday.

Coach of the Year

1. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: One loss, no matter how lopsided, does not a coaching campaign ruin. Snyder's still at the top of this list with a 7-1 Wildcats squad.

2. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State: The challenge for Oklahoma State now becomes focus. Three games (K-State, Texas Tech, Iowa State) stand between them and a mammoth game against Oklahoma. We've seen teams (Oklahoma, Texas Tech) not show up for two consecutive weeks, and Gundy is tasked with making sure the Cowboys don't become the next on the list.

3. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma: Stoops gets back on the board after a nice response to the K-State loss and a Tech flop against Iowa State, but this award looks like it'll most likely boil down to a two-man race.

SEC superlative tracker: Week 10

November, 2, 2011
An updated look at the races for the top individual awards in the SEC:


1. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: Even with the off week, Richardson is tied for the SEC lead in rushing with 989 yards and leads the league with 17 rushing touchdowns. His Heisman stock could skyrocket with a strong showing against LSU Saturday.

2. Michael Dyer, RB, Auburn: He is still running in Richardson's shadow, but Dyer has had a great second year with the Tigers. He's tied with Richardson at the top of the conference in rushing and is fresh off a 177-yard, one-touchdown performance against Ole Miss.

3. Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas: A new receiver makes it on the list after yet another solid showing. Wright has not only been Arkansas' best receiving threat, but he leads the league with 44 catches for 709 yards and seven touchdowns. Last week, he had 135 yards and a touchdown.


1. Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia: We have a new leader in this category yet again. Jones gave Florida's backfield, especially quarterback John Brantley, headaches all day last week after recording four sacks and four quarterback hurries. He has 44 tackles on the year and leads the SEC with eight sacks for 55 yards.

2. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina: He only had one tackle against Tennessee last week, but his body of work so far makes him very deserving of being on this list.

3. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: He was off last week and hasn't played in a game since Oct. 15. Still, he's the most exciting defensive player to watch in the country and should be itching to make even more plays against Alabama Saturday.


1. Les Miles, LSU: After watching him act so calm and loose on the Tuesday of Alabama week, you can tell the Miles has "it" and he gets "it." With all of the distractions he and his team have faced this year, LSU shouldn't be where it is. I'm not sure there's a coach out there that could have a team so focused after everything that's happened.

2. Mark Richt, Georgia: Richt not only ended a three-game losing streak to Florida but he also eliminated the Gators from the East race. Those are two major victories for a coach entering the season with the hottest seat in the SEC. Georgia can almost taste Atlanta right now, it's so close, but the Bulldogs still need South Carolina to lose. Regardless, Richt went from dead in the water to at the top of the East this season.

3. Gene Chizik, Auburn: Right when things look shaky on offense for the Tigers, things pick right up and before you know it, Auburn has a 41-23 win over Ole Miss. Chizik just knows how to make the right adjustments and he's done a fine job this season with such a young team. His best move might have been making Clint Moseley his starting quarterback. He has really grown -- along with the offense -- since taking over in the second half against Florida.

Big Ten awards race tracker: Week 10

November, 2, 2011
November brings some heated races in the Legends and Leaders divisions and also in the quest for some individual hardware in the Big Ten. Here's how we see some of those key awards shaping up with a month to go in the regular season:

Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year

1. Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead: Our new clubhouse leader. Burkhead has become the most important offensive player on the league's top-ranked team. He is averaging 110 yards rushing per game and has run for 12 touchdowns. Maybe more importantly, he gives the Nebraska offense leadership and confidence, and his 35-carry performance against Michigan State defined what an MVP should look like.

2.Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson: Two straight losses diminish Wilson's terrific season, but he shouldn't be blamed for Wisconsin's breakdowns in pass coverage and special teams. He remains the best quarterback in the Big Ten.

3. Penn State running back Silas Redd: All Redd did was run for 703 yards in October, surpassing 125 yards in five straight games. He is the first Big Ten back to go over 1,000 yards this year and is making a strong push for MVP honors.

4. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson: After talking about it for a long time, the Wolverines coaches are finally taking the load off Robinson somewhat, with increased roles for Devin Gardner and Fitz Toussaint. That's good for Robinson's health and the team but maybe bad for his award candidacy. He still leads the Big Ten in total offense (281 yards per game).

5. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball: Ohio State did a great job shutting down the Badgers' running game on Saturday, but Ball still found the end zone. That's what he does. He has accounted for 22 total touchdowns this year (18 rushing, three receiving, one passing).

Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year

1. Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still: Simply put, Still is the most important defensive player on the league's best defensive team. He had 3.5 more tackles for loss and a sack in yet another dominating performance against Illinois last week.

2. Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus: The nation's sack leader added one more against Penn State, along with another forced fumble. It's a close call between him and Still, but Penn State is 5-0 in the conference. To the victors go the spoils.

3. Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David: A 13-tackle performance against Michigan State has David moving on up our list.

4. Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy: Nebraska was able to mostly contain Worthy (two tackles on Saturday), but he has had a terrific season as the point man on the Spartans' defense.

5. Penn State linebacker Gerald Hodges: Winner of two straight Big Ten defensive player of the week awards, Hodges jumps into the top five following his 19-tackle showing against Illinois.

Just missed: Ohio State defensive tackle John Simon.

Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year

1. Marvin McNutt, Iowa: He leads the Big Ten in touchdown catches (9) and has already set the Iowa career touchdown receptions record. McNutt is averaging 107 receiving yards per game with an impressive 17.9 yards per catch average.

2. A.J. Jenkins, Illinois: Jenkins has already gone over 1,000 yards and leads the league in receptions and yards, with seven touchdowns. But he has cooled off a bit after an unbelievable start to October as defenses have focused on stopping him.

3. B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State: Cunningham is having a terrific season and looks like the Spartans' best offensive player, but he was held without a catch for the first time in more than three years last week at Nebraska.

4. Nick Toon, Wisconsin: A nice bounce-back year for the senior, Toon is averaging 18.1 yards per reception and has six touchdowns.

5. Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern: His numbers likely would be better had Dan Persa not missed so much time. Still, Ebert has 569 receiving yards and seven scores.

ACC superlative tracker

November, 2, 2011
There is a new name on this list, and you’ll find it in the Coach of the Year section. Welcome to the show, Mike London.


Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd: Despite his underwhelming performance last weekend at Georgia Tech, Boyd is a major reason the Tigers are leading the Atlantic Division. His accomplishments as a first-year starter grasping a new offense have been critical. Boyd leads the ACC in passing average per game with 297.1 yards and is fourth in passing efficiency (154.8). He has 25 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins: He’s had a phenomenal first season, and leads the ACC with 7.1 receptions per game and is second with 108.7 yards per game. He’s also tied for second in the ACC in touchdowns scored with 11, is second in the league in kick return average, and first in all-purpose yards.

Virginia Tech running back David Wilson: He leads the ACC in rushing yards per game with 131.8, and has seven touchdowns. He has surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark eight times in nine games this season. His 1,185 yards are the most of any running back in the FBS.


Miami linebacker Sean Spence: He is the ACC’s active career leader in tackles for loss, and ranks 12th nationally in tackles with 10.71 per game. He also has three sacks and is second in the ACC with 1.43 tackles for loss.

Clemson defensive end Andre Branch: He leads the ACC with 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. He also has one pass breakup, a forced fumble, and 12 quarterback pressures.

Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly: He has had 30 straight games of at least 10 tackles, the longest current streak in the FBS. He also has two interceptions, a team-best 8.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.


Clemson coach Dabo Swinney: The Tigers are 8-1, the ACC’s highest-ranked team in the BCS standings, and the leader in the Atlantic Division standings.

Virginia coach Mike London: The Hoos are one win away from bowl eligibility, in contention to win the Coastal Division, and look ahead of schedule in just the second season under London.

Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe: It’s hard to believe this team was 3-9 a year ago, as Grobe has the Deacs in a position to win the Atlantic Division.

Big East superlative tracker

November, 2, 2011
Just as this league race is completely wide open, so is the race for offensive and defensive player of the year and coach of the year in the Big East. Here are a few candidates to consider.


1. Geno Smith, West Virginia. Smith has had a few bad games, but he also has had some big games, too. Smith ranks No. 5 nationally in passing and leads the league in that category. Smith has completed 209 of 330 passes for 2,715 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions this season.

2. Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers. Sanu has 70 catches for 731 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He leads the league in receptions per game (8.8) and remains on pace to become the first player in Big East history to catch 100 passes in a season. Larry Fitzgerald owns the record with 92, set in 2003 at Pitt.

3. Isaiah Pead/Zach Collaros, Cincinnati. Both of these guys have been equally valuable for the Bearcats in their 6-1 start. Pead ranks No. 3 in the league in rushing, averaging 100 yards a game. Collaros ranks third in the league in passing, with 1,576 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.


1. JK Schaffer, Cincinnati. Schaffer has been the heart of the improved Bearcats defense, averaging 7.7 tackles a game. He also has three interceptions.

2. Dexter Heyman, Louisville. Heyman has 55 tackles, including 10 for a loss, three sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble this season. Safety Hakeem Smith has been good this season, too.

3. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers. Greene leads the league with 75 tackles and has been a force on the retooled Rutgers defense.

4. Aaron Donald, Pitt. Watch out for Donald who is on a tear of late. He leads the league with seven sacks and has 2.5 additional tackles for loss.

Coach of the Year

Butch Jones, Cincinnati. Jones has taken a team that went 4-8 last season to 6-1 and on top of the Big East. If the Bearcats hang on to win the league, he should be a virtual lock to win this award. If they slip, then there are plenty of other candidates but it depends on the team that rises to the top.