Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Erickson: College football midseason awards

It’s that time of year again.

I sadly hang up my Joe Mauer jersey for the year as the Twins fail yet again to make if out of the AL Division series. Instead of letting that pathetic playoff run get me down I can look at the first half of the college football season and basically forget about baseball.

That’s right. We’re halfway through football season. It seems like just yesterday I was moving into my house ecstatic that I was finally back in Madison and not even concerned about classes that seemed like a very long two weeks away.


It’s now two months later and football is just as surprising as ever.

In what is a normal occurrence with college football, the rankings after six games look very different from preseason.

With Texas, Florida and Virginia Tech all out of the top ten, if not the top 25 all together, Oregon, Auburn, LSU and South Carolina have all moved in with big wins and talented squads that really are among the nation’s elite.

One thing is for sure, I did not see South Carolina’s win over Alabama coming at all. In fact I pretty much wrote that game off as a win for Alabama, which I really need to stop doing because somehow the team I think is going to win always struggles or just all out loses.

Now the current controversy is how exactly Alabama is sitting at No. 8 when South Carolina only moved from No. 19 to No. 10. They made a big jump, no doubt about it, but South Carolina clearly showed they were a better football team than Alabama. The Crimson Tide has one more win, but they’ve also played one more game than the Gamecocks. It makes no sense. Alabama didn’t even score a touchdown till the fourth quarter, by that point in the game South Carolina had already made four.

Don’t worry though, if things aren’t messed up enough now, they will be by the end of the season.

Looking back on the past six weeks so much has happened. So many games, so many inconsistencies and so many surprises (Denard Robinson anyone?)

But I think it’s time to hand out some mid-season awards.

Biggest flop

Virginia Tech could easily take home this title as a team that started the season with high hopes and lots of potential, but proceeded to completely fall out of the rankings. In reality, the team that’s been the biggest disappointment so far is Penn State. I know they haven’t been the greatest for the past couple of seasons, but this team just looks so pitiful sometimes.

Last weekend they basically got trampled by an Illinois team that won two games in the Big Ten and three overall last season. It’s almost like Penn State forgot how to play their game.

The Nittany Lions have gone 3-3 so far this season losing games to the No. 1 Alabama and No. 17 Iowa and only getting wins over teams where they were expected to win. Penn State used to be feared, but now they’re essentially a non-factor as they sit at the bottom of the Big Ten with only a 1-5 Minnesota behind them.

Midseason sleeper

While part of me wants to pick already bowl-eligible Michigan State – mostly for what happened against Wisconsin – I can’t ignore No. 9 LSU.

Ranked at No. 21 at the beginning of the season, LSU has gone undefeated in six games, four of which were in conference. The Tigers, while ranked, weren’t expected to make a big splash in the SEC this season. Everyone just seemed to assume Alabama and Florida would be fighting for the conference championship again. But after Alabama’s loss to South Carolina the battle for the SEC is anybody’s game, and LSU is currently in charge.

On that same note, LSU is one of only two teams in the SEC that are already bowl eligible. I don’t think anyone seriously thought the Tigers would be on top of the SEC, especially at this point in the season. The tougher part of their schedule lies ahead, but so far they’ve only allowed on average 15 points per game. I don’t think that trend will change too drastically any time soon.

Best play

Maybe I shouldn’t pick LSU twice in a row, but Les Miles, that was a ballsy call that almost failed.

In their 33-29 win over the Gators, the Tigers lined up for a very long field goal to tie up the game. Instead of kicking the ball, kicker Josh Jasper caught the lateral pass from the holder and ran for the first down, which lead them to victory.

I applaud LSU for their trickery and for spicing things up a bit. I mean, who wants to settle for a tie when you might as well try and win the game?

Therefore all teams should write these tricky plays into their playbooks and actually use them. They may not always be the answer, but they’re more exciting than either punting the ball away or attempting a field goal which isn’t always a sure bet, no matter what you may be thinking.

Biggest upset

South Carolina may have unseated the long time No. 1 Alabama team, but best upset goes to James Madison’s 21-16 win over Virginia Tech.

For a team I don’t think many people have ever heard of – unless they’re from Virginia or the surrounding area, the Dukes knocked the Hokies from their No. 13 spot to absolutely nothing.

James Madison came out of virtual nothingness to the national stage by holding Virginia Tech to only 16 points. The Dukes created three turnovers while never turning over the ball themselves, but also had less total offense, yet were still able to go home with another win under their belts.

It almost seems like West Virginia forgot they were playing a football game that day, but props to James Madison for shocking West Virginia and the rest of college football.

Most impressive performance

Denard Robinson was ruling the Heisman polls for weeks as he carried the Michigan offense, but the Gamecocks win over the Crimson Tide was spectacular.

South Carolina dominated that game from the beginning and for the first time in their 108 years of existence beat the No. 1 team in the nation. Talk about impressive.

The Gamecocks didn’t let the Crimson Tide roll all over them; they played a tough, exciting football game.

Well enough awards, but I have to correct myself now.

At the beginning of the season I expected Alabama and Boise State to make it to the National Championship game. This has now changed.

Considering how I feel Ohio State is completely overrated, I think Boise State will still make it to the big dance, but instead of Alabama, Oregon has proven they’re a tough team.

As to who will win, I’m actually going to say Oregon. They’ve got a speedy LaMichael James who is basically a juggernaut – once he gets going, he’s hard to stop.

Deep down inside my biased, always-roots-for-the-underdog self (only when it’s not one of my teams) wants to see Boise State just win it all this year, but I will most likely just have to settle with a different champion.

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