Originally posted on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 12/8/11

 

This college football season will be remembered for the re-match in the National Title Game and the dismay towards the BCS but it was really so much more. On the first Friday night of the season Robert Griffin III captured the awe and imagination of every college football fan as he led the Baylor Bears to an upset win over TCU to kick off the season. LSU proved week in and week out that it was the dominant team as it picked off Oregon, Mississippi State, West Virginia, Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia on it's way to the BCS Title Game. Alabama, Stanford, Oregon, Oklahoma State and many others tried to make their case as number two as the season moved to a close. This year was also defined more by great games and finishes (Baylor/TCU, South Carolina/Georgia, Michigan/Notre Dame, Wisconsin/Michigan State, LSU/Bama, Stanford/USC, TCU/Boise, Oklahoma/Baylor and much more) instead of an individual like it has been in the recent past (Cam Newton, Tim Tebow). If you are a fan of college football this season had a little bit of everything for you. The Bloguin Network and it's College Football Bloggers are proud to bring you our College Football Awards for the 2011 Season.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Winner: Les Miles, LSU- 33 points, 30.56% of total points, 7 first place votes

* Perhaps I'm being a bit of a homer, but I give Les the slight edge here.  The combination of how GOOD his LSU team has been and the distractions he has had to deal with earn him this honor.  His starting quarterback is suspended for the first four games.   His offensive coordinator is diagnosed with Parkinson's just two short weeks before the season starts.  Multiple other suspensions from key players take place.   The starting quarterback returns and must be carefully worked back into the mix.  Les handled all of these issues well, and the team did not miss a beat.  They did not lose focus for a single week, and they played outstanding football every single game.   And you know what?   He did it without any crazy trick plays, 4th downs, or gimmicks.  Les knew he had a very good, well prepared team, and he kept things simple.

- Kris Brauner, Saturday Night Slant

* Les Miles gets my vote hands down.  The SEC West is the toughest division in college football, and LSU earned multiple quality wins in conference.  Then factor in they beat Oregon on a neutral field and beat West Virginia in Morgantown.  Miles did all of this while balancing a two quarterback system.

- Eric Taylor, Checkerboard Chatter

* I understand that LSU is wildly talented at almost every position, and a coaching staff of myself and eight hobos could get this team to nine wins.  But, any coach who loses his starting quarterback right before the season begins, wins the first eight games with the backup, then in middle of the ninth game of the season, which is against the second best team in the country, switches back to the starter, who wins not only that game, but the rest of the games, deserves a bewildered slow clap.

- Gray Hardison, The Belly of the Beast

Runner-Up: Bill Snyder, Kansas State- 21 points, 19.44%, 2 first place votes

* While most of us didn't realize Kansas State had a football team, this guy was forming them into a winner. 10-2? In Manhattan, Kansas? Well done, sir.

- Corey, The North End Zone

Honorable Mention: Brady Hoke, Michigan; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State, Ron English, Eastern Michigan; Mike London, Virginia

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Robert Griffin III, Baylor- 44 points, 40.74% of total points, 12 first place votes

* The kid is absolutely phenomenal. I'd love to give his coach the award and RGIII is just as deserving. The speedy quarterback has not only been the nation's most electrifying player on the offensive side of the ball AND he's put Baylor in a spot the Bears aren't quite used to. RGIII has been efficient as a quarterback and truly an unstoppable force.

- Michael Felder, In The Bleachers

* From the first week of the season against TCU until the final week against Texas, Robert Griffin III has been the best player in the nation. He has thrown for nearly 4,000 yards and 38 touchdowns in leading Baylor to a nine-win season and a No. 12 ranking in the BCS.

- Tom Perry, Eye and Eer

* His numbers speak for themselves but not only has the guy put up great stats, he has brought Baylor football to a whole new level in the Big 12 in his time in Waco.

- Derek Lusk, Checkerboard Chatter

Runner-Up: Montee Ball, Wisconsin- 23 points, 21.3%, 4 first place votes

* Not the Heisman – that should go to RGIII – but from a purely offensive standpoint I have to go with Montee Ball, running back from Wisconsin. Ball rushed for 1759 yards this season with an amazing 32 rushing touchdowns; he added six 6 more touchdowns receiving, for 38 overall. Simply amazing. For the season, Ball averaged 6.4 yards per rush, 135 yard per game and was the catalyst for the Badgers offense in 2011.

- Regie Eller, Unconquered Noles

Honorable Mention: Trent Richardson, Alabama; Andrew Luck, Stanford; Matt Barkley, USC

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU- 48 points, 47.52% of total points, 14 first place votes

* The "Honey Badger" has been a difference maker statistically and scheme-wise for this LSU team. Despite being just 5'9, 180, and having the most talented cornerback in the country, Morris Claiborne, across from him, Mathieu has dominated games and changed the team's fortunes single-handedly, similar to how Ndamukong Suh did for Nebraska two years ago. A legit Heisman candidate, Mathieu has been feared as the most dynamic "ballhawk" in the country in every sense of the word.

- Eric Galko, Optimum Scouting

* Honey Badger just takes what he wants. This season, he has stolen plenty of opponents' souls. We saw it again in the SEC championship game when he single-handedly swung momentum away from Georgia on a punt return touchdown. He has done that time and again this year on special teams and defense. He's the biggest defensive game-changer since Ndamukong Suh.

- Allen Kenney, Blatant Homerism

* The kid has been a devil on defense and his trip to New York is a way of validating the season he's put together. Is the Honey Badger the best cornerback in America? No. Is Mathieu the best safety in America? No. But Tyrann is the nation's best defensive player as he impacts the game in so many ways he must be accounted for before every snap.

- Michael Felder, In The Bleachers

Runner-Up: Luke Kuechly, Boston College- 22 points, 21.78%, 2 first place votes

* How do you not give it to a guy with 191 tackles with over 100 of them being SOLO? Oh yeah... the AFCA All-American team. They didn't even have Luke on their 1st team. All credibility? Out the window...

- The Subway Domer

Honorable Mention: Jarvis Jones, Georgia; Whitney Mercilus, Illinois; Melvin Ingram, South Carolina

COORDINATOR OF THE YEAR

Winner: John Chavis, LSU- 33 points, 32.35% of total points, 8 first place votes

* The biggest reason for LSU’s success has been its defense. John Chavis has put together a dynamic unit to frustrate every opposing team on the schedule.

- Pete Sonski, College Football Zealots

* Gah, I love this guy. While the Chief is no longer with my beloved Vols, I am glad he has been able to show the doubters that he’s still got it. LSU’s defense is an absolute terror, and a lot of that is due to Chavis knowing the strengths of his personnel and how to get the most out of his players.

- Drew Pirtle, Checkerboard Chatter

Runner-Up: Greg Mattison, Michigan

* The best move Brady Hoke made when he was hired to replace Rich Rodriguez at Michigan was to lure Greg Mattison away from the Baltimore Ravens to be his defensive coordinator in Ann Arbor. Michigan could score points under Rodriguez, but the Wolverines couldn't stop anybody. Michigan's defense is one of the most improved units in the nation and Mattison deserves most of the credit.

- Tom Perry, Eye and Eer

Honorable Mention: Chad Morris, Clemson; Paul Chryst, Wisconsin; Todd Monken, Oklahoma State

GAME OF THE YEAR

Winner: Wisconsin vs Michigan State (Oct 22)- 25 points, 23.58% of total points, 7 first place votes

* Two times this game looked like it could get sideways in the favor of either team. Wisconsin jumped out to a 14-0 lead and looked like it might run Sparty out of it's own building. Kirk Cousins and Michigan State then answered with 23 straight points to take a 9 point lead into the locker room. Down 2 TDs Russell Wilson led his Badgers back with two late scoring drives and hit Montee Ball with a TD pass with just a buck and some change left on the clock. But Sparty was not to be denied. Not only did Kirk Cousins hit a Hail Mary. He hit one that was deflected and the receiver caught it out of the end zone and had to struggle to get in for the winning score with no time left on the clock. This game is what college football is all about.

- Kevin, College Football Zealots

* Can MSU and Wisconsin play in a bowl game? I have a feeling that may get bloody. Bloody awesome!

- The Subway Domer

Runner-Up: Alabama vs LSU (Nov 5th)- 25 points, 23.58%, 5 first place votes

* Yeah I know, the score was 9-to-6 but the people who complained about this game was one of two (maybe both) things: 1) They hate the S.E.C or 2) They do not like college football being played as it should be. As defensively sound a game I have viewed in years. A game that will be cut up and used in coaches clinics for decades to come.

- Regie Eller, Unconquered Noles

Honorable Mention: Michigan vs Notre Dame (Sept 10th); Stanford vs USC (Oct 29th), Iowa State vs Oklahoma State (Nov 18th), Big Ten Championship Game (Dec 3rd), Baylor vs TCU (Sept 2nd)

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

Winner: Sammy Watkins, Clemson- 45 points, 45.00% of total points, 12 first place votes

* This was a no brainer.  Watkins caught 77 passes for 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns.  He rushed for 229 yards.  And he made a TON of big plays for the Tigers this year.  Easy choice.

- Kris Brauner, Saturday Night Slant

* Instantly coming into the season as the team's feature receiver, Watkins became Tahj Boyd's most trusted deep option for the Tigers, and was consistently making plays down the field. Watkins finished with 1153 yards, 11 touchdowns, five plays over 50 yards, and five games over 100 yards (3 of which were over 150). And with Tahj Boyd returning next year as well, it could another big season for Watkins in 2012.

- Eric Galko, Optimum Scouting

Runner-Up: Marqise Lee, USC- 15 points, 15%, 2 first place votes

* It's very difficult for a Tennessee fan to give any credit to Lane Kiffin, but here goes....This was a very positive season for the Trojans, and standout Freshman wide receiver Marqise Lee was a major contributor.  Lee tallied 73 grabs for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.  Those are excellent numbers for any player especially a Freshman.  There are sunny days ahead in Southern California for Coach Kiffin and his Trojans.

- Eric Taylor, Checkerboard Chatter

Honorable Mention: Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina; De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon; Isaiah Crowell, Georgia; Giovani Bernard, UNC

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Case Keenum, Houston- 36 points, 37.50% of total points, 10 first place votes

* There are several players that have comeback from serious injury to have success, but I’d venture to say Keenum surpasses them all at the college level. He came back from an ACL injury and not only led his team to a one loss regular season, but also passed for over 5,000 yards and 45 TDs.

- Drew Pirtle, Checkerboard Chatter

* Keenum suffered a season-ending injury early last year, but a special exemption from the NCAA allowed him another year of eligibility. His performance had his team undefeated and Keenum himself in the Heisman chase until the C-USA championship game loss to Southern Miss.

- Pete Sonski, College Football Zealots

Runner-Up: Jarvis Jones, Georgia- 14 points, 14.58%, 3 first place votes

* After transferring from USC and rehabbing a neck injury, Jones has returned to the field in a big way, leading the SEC in tackles for loss and sacks while leading the way for Georgia to have one of the top defenses in the nation.

- Kris Brauner, Saturday Night Slant

Honorable Mention: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin; Sam Montgomery, LSU

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Jarrett Lee, LSU- 11 points, 12.64% of total points, 3 first place votes

* LSU fans feared that Lee would show himself to be the turnover machine that he had been throughout his career.  Instead, he filled in brilliantly for Jordan Jefferson and gave his team a chance to be playing in the BCS National Championship game.

- Derek Lusk, Checkerboard Chatter

Runner-Up: Robert Griffin III, Baylor, 9.20%, 2 first place votes

* He threw for 3,998 yards, 36 touchdowns, six interceptions on 72.3 percent of passes completed and ran for 644 yards and nine touchdowns.  He is Baylor football and where the heck
was he in 2010?

- Ritch, Leftover Hot Dog

Honorable Mention: Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State; Geno Smith, West Virginia; Connor Shaw, South Carolina; Tajh Boyd, Clemson; Matt Barkley, USC; Jonas Gray, Notre Dame; David Wilson, Virginia Tech; Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee

Bloguin College Football Awards Roll Call

Aaron Torres Sports- Aaron Torres (@aaron_torres)

The Belly of the Beast- Gray Hardison (@BellyoftheBeast)

Blatant Homerism- Allen Kenney (@blatanthomerism)

Checkerboard Chatter- Derek Lusk (@CheckerbChatter)

Checkerboard Chatter- Drew Pirtle (@CBC_Drew)

Checkerboard Chatter- Eric Taylor (@CBC_Eric)

College Football Zealots- Kevin (@CFBZ)

College Football Zealots- Pete Sonski (@29Sonski)

Eye and Eer- Tom Perry (@eyeandeer)

In The Bleachers- Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers)

Lambeth Field- Hamilton Riley (@lambethfield)

Leftover Hot Dog- Ritch (@LOHDgamecocks)

Optimum Scouting- Eric Galko (@OptimumScouting)

Saturday Night Slant- Kris Brauner (@snslant)

The Duck Stops Here- Dale Newton (@Dale_Newton)

The North End Zone- Corey (@TheNorthEndZone)

The Subway Domer- (@TheSubwayDomer)

Unconquered Noles- Regie Eller (@CFBRocker)

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