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SEC superlative tracker

10/27/2010

Our weekly look at the offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year and coach of the year races in the SEC:

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton: He carved apart the best defense he’s faced last week against LSU with a career-high 217 rushing yards. He’s already rushed for 1,000 yards this season and has accounted for 27 touchdowns.

2. Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb: Last week wasn’t Cobb’s best game, and he didn’t score a touchdown for a change. But he’s still second in the league with 47 catches, third in all-purpose yardage and one of college football’s best players with the ball in his hands.

3. South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery: Every week, Jeffery makes a big play for the Gamecocks and is making a strong case as the best receiver in this league. He’s averaging 121.1 receiving yards per game to lead the league.

4. Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline: He’s the hottest player in the league right now, having thrown eight touchdown passes in his last two games. Hartline leads the league with 2,144 passing yards and 17 touchdown passes.

5. Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett: Returning to the lineup last week after suffering a concussion against Auburn, Mallett still leads the SEC with an average of 291.4 passing yards per game and is second with 15 touchdown passes.

Defensive Player of the Year

1. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley: His dominance up front was a major reason Auburn was able to beat LSU last week. Fairley is now second in the country with 17 tackles for loss.

2. LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis: He’s been running a close race with Fairley as the top interior defensive lineman in the league. Nevis still leads all SEC tackles with 40 total tackles.

3. Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston: The SEC’s sacks leader with 8.5, Houston is playing his best football right now. He’s second in the league with 14 tackles for loss.

4. Mississippi State linebacker Chris White: Another 14-tackle effort for White last week has established him as one of the best linebackers in the league. He’s third in the SEC with 12 tackles for loss.

5. Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward: He’s been one of the more productive cornerbacks in the league. He’s tied for the SEC lead with five interceptions and leads all cornerbacks with 43 total tackles.

Coach of the Year

1. Auburn’s Gene Chizik: The Tigers keep finding ways to win close games, which is always a mark of quality coaching.

2. Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen: He has the Bulldogs ranked for the first time in nine years and riding a five-game winning streak.

3. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier: The Head Ball Coach is trying to get to an SEC championship game with his second different team.