The Big East's Best

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UConn dominated the postseason awards in the Big East.

UConn dominated the postseason awards in the Big East.

Athlon will be awarding postseason honors to each BCS conference in the country. Today we look at the Big East’s best for 2010.

For the sake of this exercise, the Heisman and Bednarik will function as MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards. The Outland will be given to the offensive lineman of the year while the Lombardi will be given to the defensive lineman of the year. Two fictitious awards, the Adrian Peterson Freshman of the Year honor and the Desmond Howard return specialist of the year award, will be given as well.

Heisman Trophy (MVP/POY): Jordan Todman, UConn
The UConn Husky led the league in carries (302), yards (1,574) and touchdowns (14). His 143.1 per game average was actually second only to LaMichael James nationally. In the five-game winning streak to finish the 2010 season, Todman rushed for 733 yards and six touchdowns en route to the school’s first-ever BCS bowl berth.

Chuck Bednarik Award (Def. POY): Jabaal Sheard, Pitt
The senior defensive end was second in the league in tackles for loss (14.5) and third in the league in sacks (9.0). He led the league in forced fumbles with four and finished with 43 total tackles. He also tallied one fumble recovery, four passes deflected and 15 quarterback hurries.

Davey O’Brien Award (QB): Geno Smith, West Virginia
The Mountaineer quarterback led the league in passer efficiency (149.71) in his first season under center. His 23:6 TD:INT ratio was by far the league’s best, and he was second in the league in yards with 2,567. He led his team to a 5-2 conference record — good enough for a co-Big East championship.

Doak Walker Award (RB): Jordan Todman, UConn
See Heisman Trophy above.

Fred Biletnikoff Award (WR): Armon Binns, Cincinnati
The Bearcat receiver led the league in receptions (75), yards (1,101) and receiving touchdowns (10). His only statistical competitor was teammate D.J. Woods (even though Jonathan Baldwin is probably the best wideout in the league).

John Mackey Award (TE): Cameron Graham, Louisville
Much like Binns, Graham dominated the stats at his position. He led the league in yards (439), receptions (37) and touchdowns (4) for a tight end.

Outland (O-Lineman): Zach Hurd, UConn
The resume includes leading the way the nation’s second-leading rusher — and Big East player of the year — Jordan Todman, winning a conference championship and being named first-team all-conference by the coaches.

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Athlon looks back on the 2010 season in the Big East.

Dick Butkus Award (LB): Lawrence Wilson, UConn
The Husky backer led the league in tackles at nearly 10 per game and was instrumental in UConn’s first-ever BCS bowl berth. He returned an interception for a touchdown in the season finale against USF (a 19-16 win), posted 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles for the year.

Jim Thorpe Award (DB): Keith Tandy, West Virginia
Tandy led the league in interceptions with six and was second in passes defensed with nine. He finished with 45.5 total tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. The season ended on a four-game winning streak for WVU and Tandy was at his best during that span. He tallied two picks, a sack, seven passes deflected and 20 total tackles to end the year.

Lombardi Award (D-Lineman): Jabaal Sheard, Pitt
See Bednarik above.

Adrian Peterson Award (freshman): Bruce Irvin, West Virginia
Yeah, I know, Irvin is not a freshman. But he is a Big East rookie and newcomer. And since they are my awards, Irvin is the guy. He led the league in sacks despite only playing on third downs for most of the year. His 12 total sacks were good for third-best nationally. Hakeem Smith, a safety for Louisville, posted 68 total tackles and would be the top freshman in the Big East.

Lou Groza Award (K): Ross Krautman, Syracuse
UConn’s Dave Teggart led the league in field goal makes (23) but also missed six kicks. Krautman went 17-for-18 in field goals as only a freshman. His 17 makes were No. 2 in the league and the 94-percent kick rate tops the 79-percent number everytime.

Ray Guy Award (P): Rob Long, Syracuse
The appropriately named punter led the league with a 43.8 average with a second-best (worst?) 64 punts and second-best 2,806 yards.

Desmond Howard Award (KR/PR): Lindsey Lamar, South Florida
Lamar was 13th nationally in kick returns this year with a 28.1-yard average. He finished second in the conference to Vic Anderson’s 30.8 average, but had more than double the number of returns (30 to 12). Lamar also returned two kicks for scores — no other Big East player who was eligible returned a kick for points.

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year (HC): Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Randy Edsall is the easy pick here but all he did was accomplish what we thought he should have. Syracuse was picked seventh in the league. They had arguably the worst offensive and defensive lines in the league. The quarterbacks, pass-catchers and secondary were considered amongst the league’s worst as well. The seven wins were as many as the two previous years combined and were the school’s most since the 10-win 2001 campaign.

Broyles Award (Asst Coach): Jeff Casteel, West Virginia
The Mountaineers boasted the nation’s No. 3 rated total defense and obviously led the conference on that side of the ball. The 251 yards allowed per game were nearly 50 yards better than Syracuse’s 295 ypg allowed. WVU also finished second in the league in takaways with 22.

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