West Virginia's Geno Smith makes bid for top quarterback
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.
Davey O’Brien (Top quarterback)
Our leader: Geno Smith, West Virginia
Matt Barkley failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in nearly two seasons in USC’s loss to Stanford, so his stock has fallen a bit. Though the competition has been light (Marshall and James Madison), Smith has enviable numbers. He’s accounted for more total touchdowns (10) than he has incomplete passes (nine). Upcoming opponents Maryland and Baylor are both ranked in the top 40 nationally in pass efficiency defense, but the the toughest test will be Texas on the road on Oct. 6.
Others: USC’s Matt Barkley, Kansas State’s Collin Klein, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, ULM’s Kolton Browning, QB Teddy Bridgewater
Doak Walker (Top running back)
Our leader: Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
Franklin rushed for merely 110 yards after topping 200 in each of the first two games. He’s still the nation’s leading rusher, though, at 180.3 yards per game. Beyond his success on the ground, he’s topped 50 receiving yards in the last two games. This week, UCLA faces Oregon State, which held Wisconsin’s Montee Ball to 61 rushing yards in the Beavers’ opener.
Others: Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas, Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor, South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore, Fresno State’s Robbie Rouse
Biletnikoff Award (Top wide receiver)
Our leader: Marqise Lee, USC
Barkley’s stock dropped after the Stanford loss, but Lee continued to produced like the top receiver in the nation with eight catches for 100 yards. Those would be season bests for many wideouts, but Lee’s eight catches were the fewest in the last four games. Despite USC’s failed final possession, Lee delivered a great catch on a fourth-and-5, keeping one foot in bounds for an 18-yard reception.
Others: USC’s Robert Woods, West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey, West Virginia’s Tavon Austin
Mackey Award (Top tight end)
Our leader: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Washington
Sefarian-Jenkins has arguably been the most consistent tight end in the country whether facing Portland State or LSU. He’s had at least five catches and 50 yards in each game this season. With 20 catches this season, he’s nearly halfway to his reception total last season (41).
Others: Arkansas’ Chris Gragg, Arizona State’s Chris Coyle
Outland Trophy (Top interior lineman)
Our leader: Barrett Jones, Alabama
Alabama continues its dominating play up front with Jones leading the way at center. Against Arkansas, the Tide rushed for 225 yards, averaged five yards per carry and scored six touchdowns on the ground. That gives Alabama two games against power conference teams in which the Tide topped 40 carries, rushed for at least 200 yards and averaged five yards per carry.
Others: Syracuse’s Justin Pugh, Virginia’s Oday Aboushi, Utah’s Star Lotulelei
Rimington Trophy (Top center)
Our leader: Alabama’s Jones
Others: Clemson’s Dalton Freeman
Bednarik Award/Nagurski Award (Defensive Player of the Year)
Our leader: Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
After a week of grieving the loss of his girlfriend and grandmother, Te’o had one of the best games of his career against Michigan State, recording a season-high 12 tackles with a tackle for a loss a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. Moreover, Notre Dame limited running back Le’Veon Bell to 77 yards.
Others: Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Mississippi State’s Johnathan Banks
Lombardi Award (Top lineman or linebacker)
Our leader: Te’o, Notre Dame
Others: Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt, Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, Stanford’s Ben Gardner, Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Maryland’s Joe Vellano, UCLA’s Datone Jones, BYU’s Kyle Van Noy
Butkus Award (Top linebacker)
Our leader: Te’o, Notre Dame
Others: Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, Kansas State’s Arthur Brown, Connecticut’s Yawin Smallwood, Iowa State’s Jake Knott. Alabama’s C.J. Mosely
Thorpe Award (Top defensive back)
Our leader: Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State
Troy avoided Banks last week after watching Mississippi State’s cornerback intercept Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier a week earlier. The Trojans, instead, fed into fellow cornerback Darius Slay, who intercepted Troy twice last week. Others: Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Texas’ Kenny Vacarro, Texas’ Quandre Diggs, Stanford’s Jordan Richards, Rutgers’ Brandon Jones
SPECIAL TEAMS AWARDS
Groza Award (Top kicker)
Our leader: Caleb Sturgis, Florida
Sturgis hit two short field goals against Tennessee before capping Florida’s second-half surge with a 49-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Sturgis is 7 of 8 this season with two field goals of longer than 50 yards.
Others: Iowa’s Mike Meyer, Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien, UTSA’s Sean Ianno
Ray Guy Award (Top punter)
Our leader: Brad Wing, LSU
LSU has not needed Wing to control field position in a tightly contested game yet, but Les Miles knows he’s ready. Wing averaged 45.2 yards per kick last week against Idaho and has averaged 48.6 yards per punt on a team that ranks fifth nationally in net punting.
Others: Sean Sellwood, Utah, Michigan’s Will Hagerup, Texas A&M’s Ryan Epperson
OTHER NATIONAL AWARDS
Freshman of the Year
Our leader: Duke Johnson, Miami
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley threw two interceptions last week, so our attention turns to Duke Johnson. The Miami running back accounted for four touchdowns against Bethune-Cookman with two touchdown runs, a touchdown catch and a score on a kickoff return. He’s one of four players with at least one touchdown run, catch and return this season. He and North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard are the only players to deliver all three in one game.
Others: UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon
Coach of the Year
Our leader: Jim L. Mora, UCLA
Though sloppy at times (five turnovers last week against Houston), UCLA has shown it will make the Pac-12 race interesting. The Bruins may not face a ranked team until the final month of the season.
Others: Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, Stanford’s David Shaw
by David Fox