Well I missed the halfway point of the season a week or two ago, but anyway I've decided to hand out some awards for the skill players. I thought about adding offensive linemen to this list of awards, but let's be honest, how do you really critique them? They go unnoticed unless they give up a sack or get called for holding, so let's just keep it that way. As for defense, I don't believe I am qualified enough to pick a handful of young men that stood out above the rest. I could do some research and see what other people are saying, but that would be stealing and I'm against stealing other people's ideas.
So here we go with the In The Bleachers Just Past Mid-Season awards. I chose 3 at each skill position (quarterback, running back, wide receiver) and 2 tight ends. Why only two tight ends you ask? Try finding some stats on them and then get back to me. My selection process was simple, first I thought who would I want on my team if I was picking a fantasy college football team. So that includes their stats and their other intangibles on the field. So without further reading here is my team.
At Quarterback it was easy to pick the first two. QB1 would be Troy Smith. The man is so calm and poised in the pocket, nothing seems to phase him and surprisingly he only has two interceptions all year. He is a mobile QB that can make plays happen with his feet or just buy more time by scrambling around in the pocket. QB2 is Notre Dame's Brady Quinn. The only knock I have on Quinn is that he seems to panic a little when pressured. Quinn seems to have that comeback quality that John Elway and Joe Montana had, that was especially evident in the games against UCLA and Georgia Tech this year. Finally QB3 is Hawaii's Colt Brennan. If you haven't got a chance to seem him play yet I suggest you do. Go to the grocery store get 4 pack of red bull, heck even get some jager too, and stay up late to watch Hawaii play. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Running back was a difficult position for me to choose because there are a lot of good ones out there. I am sorry Sooner fans but I had to disregard Peterson. He is injured and not coming back this year, therefore he is off the team. RB1 is Michael Hart. Hart you ask, he just gets 125 yards a game for the 2nd ranked team in the nation. He held the team together while the passing game gelled. Hart isn't flashy but he is a workhorse that gets the job done. RB2 is none other than the speedy and flashy Steve Slaton from West Virginia. Give this guy the ball and some space, and watch the tacklers miss. Finally, RB3 is Ian Johnson of Boise State. Sorry Wolfe fans but Johnson has some pretty impressive numbers too, and he's doing it for a team that is undefeated and on track to get a BCS Bowl bid for a Mid-Major conference. I will say though, it was tough choosing between Johnson and Ray Rice.
When looking at the wide receivers there is only one name that jumps out at you and that's Georgia Tech's Calvin Johnson. The guy is just a physical specimen, with his 230 lb frame and a lot of speed to go with it. I hope he decides to play in some All Star games after the season because I would like to see what he would do with a real QB throwing him the ball. Injuries to superstar Dwayne Jarrett has him on the outside looking in. WR2 is given to New Mexico State's Chris Williams. Just for a second here look at Williams' stats, 53 receptions for 886 yards and 7 touchdowns. Yes New Mexico State is a pass happy team, yes Williams is only 5-9 155 lbs, but he shouldn't be overlooked. WR3 is Rice's Jarett Dillard. By this time you must think I am smoking crack, but Dillard is one heck of a WR. He might not get the publicity that a Jarrett, or a Ginn Jr, or a Sweed does but 769 yards and 12 TDs on a 3-5 Rice of all teams is impressive.
At the Tight End position, the #1 tight end is Minnesota's Matt Spaeth. Spaeth has a lot of speed for a Tight End, and head coach Glen Mason takes advantage of that speed by splitting him out in the slot from time to time. TE2 is BYU's Jonny Harline. The JC transfer is having a good year for the Cougars with 5 touchdown catches.
My final award is the Coach of the Year award. If I were to vote right now I would have to vote for the job that Ty Willingham has done in Washington. That team was utterly pitiful last year and Willingham has the Huskies on the verge of becoming bowl eligible. Willingham and the Huskies gave Cal all they could handle last week, even without Isaiah Stanback and played USC close. Both games were winnable. The Huskies need 2 wins in the last 4 games to become bowl eligible. A close second is Guy Moriss at Baylor. Baylor has not made a bowl game since the 1995 season. Moriss decided to go to a spread offense and it is paying off for them as they are 4-4 (3-1) and could become bowl eligible. I would like to give an honorable mention to Gary Pinkel. Most thought that the Missouri Tigers were in trouble after losing Brad Smith to graduation, but Pinkel has developed Chase Dainels into a fine QB and has the Tigers competing for a Big 12 North Title.