Best Undefeated Team: Alabama
There isn’t much of a contest here, as Alabama is first in the country in scoring at 56 points per game, and they’ve won every game so far by 20+ points. Starting QB Tua Tagovailoa has yet to play in the fourth quarter this season. Barring any serious injuries, it looks like the Crimson Tide will go wire-to-wire as the #1 team in the country.
Also Considered: Notre Dame, Ohio State
Biggest Surprise Team: Colorado
The Buffaloes were predicted to finish behind USC, Utah, and even Arizona or UCLA in some PAC 12 South predictions, but after six weeks, they’re the only undefeated team remaining in the conference. They have an underrated QB in Steven Montez, and one of the most exciting players in the nation in receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. If they can beat Washington, which will be tough to do on the road, Colorado may just be the team that gets the PAC 12 into the playoff.
Also Considered: Kentucky, North Carolina State, Florida
Best Group of Five Team: UCF
The Knights just pulled off an 18th straight win against SMU, and are finally getting some top 10 love from the AP Poll. McKenzie Milton might be the best player in the Group of Five, and he leads this sixth-ranked scoring offense to almost 49 points per game. Their SOS may keep them out of the playoff once again, but if fellow American Conference teams Cincinnati and USF can stay undefeated and ranked until they face UCF in the final two weeks of the season, that would be a huge boost.
Also Considered: USF, Cincinnati, Boise State
Most Disappointing Team: Michigan State
The Spartans were ranked 11th in the preseason AP Poll and were projected in some cases to compete for the Big 10 title. It hasn’t happened so far, as Michigan State is 3-2 with losses to Arizona State, and Northwestern, but they haven’t looked too impressive in their wins either. With Michigan and Ohio State still on the schedule, the Spartans look to have a tough run in the second half of their schedule.
Also Considered: Nebraska, TCU, Florida State
Game of the Year: Texas 48, Oklahoma 45
The Red River Shootout has been decided by seven or fewer points in each of the past five seasons, and this seasons may have been the most exciting of them all. The Longhorns had a 21 point lead in the fourth quarter, only for Oklahoma to come back and tie the game with 2:38 remaining. But Sam Ehlinger led a great final drive capped off by a 40-yard field goal to seal the game for Texas, and make us wonder once again: is Texas finally back?
Also Considered: Ohio State 27, Penn State 26. USC 39, Washington State 36
Biggest Upset: Old Dominion 49, Virginia Tech 35
The Hokies were a 27.5 point favorite going into the game, and the Monarchs starting QB Steven Williams left the game after the first series. Blake LaRussa came in and led Old Dominion to their first, and so far only, win of the season. The loss knocked Virginia Tech out of the AP Poll from the 13th spot.
Also Considered: Temple 35, Maryland 14. BYU 24, Wisconsin 21.
Coach of The Year: Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Not much stock is usually put into a Notre Dame preseason ranking, even though they were 12th this season. They proved that they deserved that ranking in a Week 1 win over Michigan. After struggling through two more games against Ball State and Vanderbilt, Kelly made the decision to start Ian Book at QB over Brandon Wimbush. All the Irish have done since is average 46 points per game against Wake Forest, Stanford, and Virginia Tech.
Also Considered: Dave Doeren (NC State), Mike MacIntyre (Colorado), Tom Herman (Texas)
Heisman Favorite: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The Heisman race may be close, but Tua is still the clear favorite at this point. He has been a model of efficiency for Alabama, throwing for 18 touchdowns without an interception, and only 25 incompletions. The Tide have a few tough games in the second half of their schedule, so he’ll need to keep up his performance level.
Also Considered: Kyler Murray (QB, Oklahoma) Will Grier (QB, West Virginia), Dwayne Haskins (QB Ohio State)
Offensive Player of the Year: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Even though Tua is the Heisman favorite, Kyler Murray has been the most electric player in college football this season. He has the ability to make plays with both his throwing and running and has accounted for 26 touchdowns so far this season. No school has had different players win the Heisman in back-to-back seasons since Army did it with running backs Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis in 1945-46. But if Murray keeps up his stellar play, he could add Oklahoma to the list.
Also Considered: Haskins, Laviska Shenault Jr (WR, Colorado), Darrell Henderson (RB, Memphis)
Defensive Player of the Year: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
The stats aren’t there like we may have expected them to be for Oliver, as he has yet to record a sack this season, but he still has 40 tackles in 6 games, with 6.5 TFL. Oliver is a mismatch that forces double or triple teams just to slow him down, and he can still gather results. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Oliver is the #1 pick in the draft next April.
Also Considered: Jerry Tillery (DL, Notre Dame) Montez Sweat (LB, Mississippi State), Alvin Davis (DB, Akron)
Freshman of the Year: Alan Bowman, QB, Texas Tech
He didn’t start the season, but when starter McLane Carter left the game with an ankle injury, Bowman stepped right in and did not disappoint. With 1,680 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games, including a Big 12 freshman record 605 against Houston, he gets the nod here. Even though he sat out with an injury against TCU, he should still be the starter next week when Texas Tech faces Kansas.
Also Considered: Rondale Moore (WR, Purdue), Caden Sterns (DB, Texas)
Predicted Playoff Teams: Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Clemson
Also Considered: Georgia, Washington, Penn State, West Virginia, UCF
Photo Source: Carlos Osario / AP Photo