Predicting the 2013 individual awards
We'll have to wait until Jan. 6 to find out whether No. 1 Florida State or No. 2 Auburn will raise the crystal football after the VIZIO BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl.
On Saturday night, we'll learn if Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston will become the second consecutive freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, college football's most revered individual award, after Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first in 2012.
On Thursday night, we'll find out the winners of college football's other top individual honors at the Home Depot College Football Awards (7 ET on ESPN) at the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's BoardWalk at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Here are the awards and finalists:
Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year)
Who should win: Donald. The homegrown senior from Pittsburgh has been the most disruptive defensive player in the country. In fact, his production has been better than former Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, a 2009 Heisman Trophy finalist and winner of the 2009 Bednarik Award as well as the Bronko Nagurski, Lombardi and Outland trophies.
Who will win: Donald
Biletnikoff Award (nation's outstanding college receiver)
Who should win: Cooks. I'm glad I wasn't on the Biletnikoff Award selection committee this season because there are about a dozen or so other receivers who easily could have been named finalists. Fresno State's Davante Adams, FSU's Kelvin Benjamin, Penn State's Allen Robinson, Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews and Baylor's Antwan Goodley were equally as deserving. But Cooks led FBS players in receiving yards (1,670) and receiving yards per game (139.2) and was second in touchdown catches (15) and receptions per game (10).
Who will win: Cooks
Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award (nation's outstanding place-kicker)
Who should win: Aguayo, a freshman from Mascotte, Fla., has been fantastic for the No. 1 Seminoles, making 19 of 20 field goal attempts and each of his 90 point-after tries. However, Aguayo didn't have to make many, if any, kicks under pressure because so many of FSU's games this season were routs. Fera was just as consistent in much closer games for the Longhorns. Fera, a Penn State transfer, made 20 of 22 field goal attempts, including 14 of 15 when the scoring margin was seven points or fewer and 6 of 7 when the margin was three points or fewer. He made 15 field goal attempts in a row, tying a UT record, before missing a 44-yard attempt against Baylor last week.
Who will win: Aguayo
Ray Guy Award (collegiate punter of the year)
Who should win: Webster. How bad would Purdue have been without Webster? He was a field position weapon on a really bad team; the Boilermakers ranked second nationally in net punting, with 41.6 yards per punt. Webster averaged 43.5 yards on 70 punts and had 17 punts longer than 50 yards, including two 73-yarders. Purdue's opponents had only 75 return yards on 73 punts this season, and only one of Webster's punts was a touchback.
Who will win: Webster
Maxwell Award (college player of the year)
Finalists: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
AJ McCarron, Alabama
Jameis Winston, Florida State
Who should win: Manziel, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, might have been the most valuable player in the country this season. He completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 3,732 yards with 33 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also ran for 686 yards and eight scores. Manziel had to produce every time the Aggies took the field because their defense was so porous this season. Winston and McCarron were just as efficient throwing the ball, but the Aggies asked Manziel to shoulder a bigger load.
Who will win: Manziel
Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award (nation's best quarterback)
Who should win: Winston, the freshman from Bessemer, Ala., guided Florida State to an undefeated regular season and No. 1 ranking in the BCS standings heading into the national championship against Auburn. He was No. 1 nationally in Total QBR with a 90.9 rating and completed 67.9 percent of his pass attempts for 3,820 yards with 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Winston was No. 8 among FBS quarterbacks in passing yards and 16th in total offense (308.7 yards per game).
Who will win: Winston
Outland Trophy (nation's most outstanding interior lineman)
Who should win: Donald. In 12 games this season, Donald had 26.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks (Suh had 20.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 14 games in 2009). Donald led FBS players with 2.2 tackles for loss per game, while ranking tied for eighth in forced fumbles (0.33 per game) and 13th in sacks (0.83 per game). He has 28.5 career sacks, which ranks second among current FBS players.
Who will win: Matthews
Jim Thorpe Award (best collegiate defensive back)
Who should win: Joyner, a 5-foot-8 senior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., might be the toughest pound-for-pound player in the country. He leads the No. 1 Seminoles with five sacks and is second on the team with 64 tackles, to go with two interceptions, three forced fumbles and four pass breakups. He has lined up at cornerback, safety and linebacker for FSU, which ranks first in the country in scoring defense (10.7 points per game) and passing defense (152 yards) and third in total defense (268.5 yards).
Who will win: Gilbert
Doak Walker Award (nation's top running back)
Who should win: Williams. The Heisman Trophy finalist ran for 2,102 yards in 12 games this season, most by any FBS player and the ninth-highest total in history. In fact, only four past Heisman Trophy winners -- Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen, Mike Rozier and Ricky Williams -- ran for more yards in the seasons in which they won the trophy. Williams also was No. 1 in the country with 329 carries and 175.2 rushing yards per game. He was responsible for 51.7 percent of the Eagles' total offense, the highest by any FBS running back in the past 10 seasons.
Who will win: Williams
Rimington Trophy (outstanding collegiate center)
Who should win: Dismukes, a junior from Spanish Fort, Ala., has been the glue of Auburn's offensive line and the unquestioned leader of its offense. He helped pave the way for an offense that led FBS teams in rushing (335.7 yards per game) and was tied for 11th in scoring (40.2 points). The Tigers also allowed only 16 sacks, a marked improvement from the 37 they allowed in 2012. Dismukes, a three-year starter, also managed a first-year quarterback, Nick Marshall, who was running coach Gus Malzahn's offense for the first time.
Who will win: Ikard
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