Since I like the college convention of naming awards after great players and coaches, I thought I would do the same with my awards. The naming criteria was that they had to have played in the Big XII era (1996-present), starred for a Big XII team, and fit the award given out.
So here's a brief explanation of the awards, and why I named them as such.
Ricky Williams Award - No this is *not* "Most likely to smoke the sticky icky". This is our Offensive Player of the Year award. Why? Well, once upon a time, Ricky Williams was the best running back in the Big XII, a Heisman Trophy winner, and was the DI-A's all-time leading rusher when he graduated.
Roy Willams Award - The Roy Williams Award, which goes to our Defensive Player of the Year, is named after the Roy Williams who played safety for Oklahoma before becoming an All-Pro with the Dallas Cowboys.
Wes Welker Award - This goes to our Special Teams Player of the Year (kickers, punters, and returners). Welker, who's now with the Dolphins, was Texas Tech's special teams ace from 1999-2003 and he graduated with the most punt return TDs in Division I-A history.
Eric Crouch Award - I wanted to also give out an award for a player who was the "Most Valuable to his Team". Not necessarily the best, just someone whose team could least afford to lose him. Someone whose play made that team more successful than it would have been otherwise. Obviously, Eric Crouch typifies this sort of award. He made that 2000 Nebraska team what it was, and the program began to fall apart once he left.
Tom Osborne Award - This is our Coach of the Year, and the name selection was obvious. Osborne was was really the first coach the Big XII had with any kind of national credibility.
Adrian Peterson Award - Our "Freshman of the Year". Peterson's freshman campaign was one of the best ever in college football history, and certainly the best ever in the Big XII.
Michael Bishop Award - Obviously, junior college transfers have become increasingly important as programs under pressure try to reload in a hurry. So in recognition of the transfer who most thrived in the pressure situation of learning a new system while adjusting to the faster pace of the Big 12, we present this award for "Transfer of the Year", named after former Blinn Junior College star Michael Bishop, who went on to lead Kansas State to within one upset loss of a National Title Game.
The envelope please...
Ricky Williams Award
(Offensive Player of the Year)
Vince Young, Texas
First off, they guy is a playmaker all by himself. What's made the difference is that he's made a Donovan McNabb-like transformation in his passing ability, mainly his accuracy. He's a true dual-threat QB now, not just a scrambler.
Our Preseason Pick: Adrian Peterson
If Oklahoma had gotten off to a better start *and* had beaten Texas, Peterson probably would have gotten the award, but he was hurt by having a green QB running the passing attack and a young defense that's still growing into it's roles. Still, he's put up good numbers despite all the problems OU has had this year.
Roy Williams Award
(Defensive Player of the Year)
Slay is the biggest reason Texas Tech improved on defense this year. He's a hard hitter and playmaker who had 68 solo tackles and 101 overall tackles. He also showed some playmaking ability as he led the conference in forced fumbles.
Our Preseason Pick: Charles Gordon, Kansas
He really got overshadowed by his teammate Nick Reid, and people just quit throwing to his side of the field. Plus, Kansas's offense was so bad that it put their defense in too many awkward situations.
Wes Welker Award
Special Teams Player of the Year
The Georgetown, Texas native made a statement on opening week when he kicked Colorado to victory over Colorado State. When the Buffalo offense wasn't on track, Crosby's leg kept them in a lot of ball games.
Our Preseason Pick: Todd Pegram, Texas A&M
I did not pick very well with this one. I really thought Pegram would be a contributing factor to more wins for A&M. Oh well.
Eric Crouch Award
Most Valuable to His Team
Brad Smith, Missouri
This was a tough award to choose. Young could have won this one too, but they won the Texas A&M game largely in spite of his bad day. Bret Meyer was under consideration until Iowa State failed to win the Big 12 North after Colorado basically handed them the title. I could have picked Taurean Henderson also, but Dwayne Slay was just as important to the Red Raiders' improvement.
In the end, Brad Smith's improvement mirrored Missouri's improvement from last year's disappointment to one of this years' bowl teams.
Tom Osborne Award
Coach of the Year
Mack Brown, Texas
Before this year, we said, like a lot of people, that Mack Brown was a coach who folded when the spotlight was biggest, and that one close Rose Bowl did not make a career. Well, his Horns won on the road at Ohio State, beat OU to end a long losing streak, and exposed an undefeated Texas Tech team. Oh, and he's also 11-0 and on the verge of playing for a national title.
Our preseason pick: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
Wow, not only did Bob Stoops get rolled by Mack Brown, he lost to Mike Leach for the first time *and* saw his Sooners rolled by TCU and UCLA. To his credit, however, Stoops rallied the Sooners late in the year and OU should be contenders next year if recruiting goes well.
Adrian Peterson Award
Freshman of the Year
Jamaal Charles, Texas
Until he got injured, Charles was putting up decent numbers and was part of the reason the Longhorns were able to balance their offense and take the heat off of Vince Young.
Michael Bishop Award
Transfer of the Year
Robert Johnson, Texas Tech
RoJo not only had to learn a new offense and adjust to the speed of the Big 12 in his transfer year, he moved from quarterback to reciever in this whole process. Yeah, Tech's recievers put up great numbers, but he basically had to walk, chew gum, and do his taxes at the same time while putting up those numbers.
And now, the Cheap Seats all-conference teams...
|Taurean Henderson||Texas Tech|
|Jarrett Hicks||Texas Tech|
|Robert Johnson||Texas Tech|
|Joel Filani||Texas Tech|
|Justin Warren||Texas A&M|
|Dwayne Slay||Texas Tech|
|Bret Meyer||Iowa State|
|D'Juan Woods||Oklahoma State||LB||Tim Dobbins||Iowa State|
|Travis Wilson||Oklahoma||LB||Corey McKeon||Nebraska|
|Jason Carter||Texas A&M|
|Jeromey Clary||Kansas State|
|E.J. Whitley||Texas Tech|
|Vincent Meeks||Texas Tech|
|Corey Hilliard||Oklahoma State|
|DeAndre Jackson||Iowa State|