Notre Dame's Manti Te'o remains in lead for national honors
The Heisman Trophy isn’t the only award worth watching on a weekly basis. The Lombardi, Outland, Davey O’Brien and Biletnikoff races are all worth watching and debating as the season goes along.
Throughout the season, we’ll keep an eye on all the prominent position trophies through college football in addition to the Heisman.
If you’re looking for our thoughts on that other trophy, check our weekly Heisman poll.
Week 8 Previews and Predictions
Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Geno Smith, West Virginia
Smith had his worst game of the season against Texas Tech, going 29 of 55 for 275 yards and a touchdown in a 49-14 loss. His overall resume, though, remains the best of any quarterback in the country. Smith has thrown 314 consecutive passes and 31 touchdowns since his last interception, including 259 attempts and 25 TDs this season.
Others: Kansas State’s Collin Klein, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller
Doak Walker (Top running back)
Our leader: Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State
Bell rebounded from a lackluster performance against Ohio State to rush for 261 yards and three touchdowns in his last two games against Indiana and Iowa. Bell also has two 200-yard games under his belt this season.
Others: Oregon’s Kenjon Barner, North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard, UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin, Florida’s Mike Gillislee, Kansas State’s John Hubert, Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson, South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, Northwestern’s Venric Mark
Biletnikoff Award (Top wide receiver)
Our leader: Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech
Odds are, one or both of the West Virginia receivers is going to be a finalist for the award. This week, we should recognize of the best games by a receiver this season when Patton had 21 catches for 233 yards and four touchdowns against Texas A&M. Patton has 765 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 55 receptions this year.
Others: Cal’s Keenan Allen, West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey, Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins, USC’s Marqise Lee, Penn State’s Allen Robinson, Baylor’s Terrance Williams
Mackey Award (Top tight end)
Our leader: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
Seferian-Jenkins caught five passes for a season-high 83 yards with a touchdown against USC last week, giving him 29 receptions for 337 yards with two touchdowns this season.
Others: Arizona State’s Chris Coyle, Stanford’s Zach Ertz, Stanford’s Levine Toilolo
Outland Trophy (Top interior lineman)
Our leader: Barrett Jones, Alabama
Alabama dominated the ground game in a rainy 42-10 win over Missouri last week. Jones helped pave the way for 362 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in the rout of the Tigers.
Others: North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt, Florida State’s Bjoern Werner
Rimington Trophy (Top center)
Our leader: Alabama’s Jones
Others: Kansas State’s B.J. Finney, Clemson’s Dalton Freeman
Bednarik Award/Nagurski Award (Defensive Player of the Year)
Our leader: Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
Te’o had 11 tackles in the 20-13 win over Stanford last week and continues to be the face of a defense that has allowed three offensive touchdowns (all passing) this season. Opponents have scored touchdowns on only 2 of 16 trips into the red zone against Notre Dame this season. Generally, the team leading the nation in that stat allows opponents to score touchdowns on approximately 35 to 40 percent of red zone chances.
Others: South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene, Utah's Star Lotulelei, Penn State's Michael Mauti
Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)
Our leader: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
In a 23-21 loss to LSU, Clowney failed to record a sack for the first time since the second game of the season, but he did finish with six tackles and two pass breakups. Coming up this week: A critical matchup against the Florida offensive line and the slippery Jeff Driskel.
Others: Oregon State’s Scott Chricton, Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene, Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Penn State’s Michael Mauti, Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore, Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt, Florida State’s Bjeorn Werner
Butkus Award (Top linebacker)
Our leader: Te’o, Notre Dame
Others: USC’s Dion Bailey, Kansas State’s Arthur Brown, Rutgers’ Khaseem Greene, Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, Iowa State’s Jake Knott, Penn State’s Michael Mauti, LSU’s Kevin Minter, Alabama’s C.J. Mosely
Thorpe Award (Top defensive back)
Our leader: Jordan Poyer, Oregon State
Poyer’s pick six against BYU last week gave the Beavers cornerback his fifth interception in his last three games. Oregon State is third in the Pac-12 and 24th nationally in pass efficiency defense.
Others: Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks, Florida’s Matt Elam, Alabama’s Dee Milliner
SPECIAL TEAMS AWARDS
Groza Award (Top kicker)
Our leader: Mike Meyer, Iowa
Meyer was 4 for 4 on field goal attempts against Michigan State, including a 42-yard game-winner in the second overtime. Meyer is 14 of 15 on field goals this season, converting 13 in a row since the opener.
Others: Louisiana-Lafayette’s Brett Baer, Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien, Clemson’s Chandler Catanzaro, Florida’s Caleb Sturgis
Ray Guy Award (Top punter)
Our leader: Florida’s Kyle Christy
Florida is a field position and defensive team this season, making Christy’s role critical. He’s delivered by averaging 46.4 yards on 29 kicks for a team that ranks fourth nationally in net punting.
Others: Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Allen, Texas A&M’s Ryan Epperson, Utah’s Sean Sellwood, Oklahoma State’s Quinn Sharp
OTHER NATIONAL AWARDS
Freshman of the Year
Our leader: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
“Johnny Football” now holds the top two SEC single-game records for total offense with 576 total yards against Louisiana Tech and 557 against against Arkansas. That broke the record of 540 yards held by Ole Miss’ Archie Manning and LSU’s Rohan Davey.
Others: Georgia’s Todd Gurley, UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Miami’s Duke Johnson, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota
Coach of the Year
Our leader: Bill O’Brien, Penn State
No team faced more adversity this season than Penn State, which watched a handful of key players bolt via transfers after the NCAA announced crippling sanctions. Despite no postseason in the future and a dwindling of numbers, Penn State is much improved on offense. The Nittany Lions have scored at least 24 points in four consecutive games, a benchmark they reached only three times all of last season.
Others: Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, Rutgers’ Kyle Flood, West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Florida’s Will Muschamp, Oregon State’s Mike Riley, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder
Broyles Award (top assistant)
Our leader: Art Kaufman, Texas Tech
The idea of holding a team like West Virginia to two touchdowns would have been foreign to the Texas Tech defense a year ago when the Red Raiders ranked 113th in pass efficiency defense and 120th in run defense. Under the first-year defensive coordinator, Texas Tech ranks seventh in pass efficiency defense and 12th in run defense.
Others: Oregon State’s Mark Banker, Notre Dame’s Bob Diaco, Alabama’s Kirby Smart, Washington’s Justin Wilcox
by David Fox
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