Blog Entry

Tuesday Top 10: MVPs of the season's first half

Posted on: October 18, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 12:59 pm
Over the weekend South Carolina got some devastating news: Star RB Marcus Lattimore was lost for the season with a knee injury. I brought up the point on Twitter that Lattimore, one of the real workhorses in the sport, might be the most valuable non-quarterback in college football. Where would he rank overall?  This week's Top 10 list: most valuable players of the first half of the 2011 season:

1-Robert Griffin III, Baylor QB: Yeah, his numbers have tailed off a bit since his incredible first month, but RG3 has still been phenomenal for what used to be such a dismal Bears program. Griffin has a 22-2 TD-INT ratio and is connecting on over 78 percent of his passes while accounting for, on average, 374 of Baylor's 550 total yards per game. Look at it this way: Griffin has been a franchise talent for this program that has been embroiled in the rough side of the conference realignment stuff. The Bears have spent several weeks in the Top 25 this season, have a shot at making a New Year's Day bowl and have been nationally relevant for more than a month despite having the 100th ranked scoring D in the country.

2-Andrew Luck, Stanford, QB: As advertised, Luck has been brilliant leading this top 10 team as it moves on without Jim Harbaugh. The Cardinal are unbeaten and no one has gotten closer than 26 points from them while they coasted past a bunch of teams that are mediocre at best. As impressive as Luck's passing numbers are: 71 percent completion percentage, 18 TDs, 3 INTs, something else is even more of a head-turner: Stanford lost three of its five starters up front from last year and they still only have surrendered two sacks all season. A lot of that is due to the big QB's guile and grasp of the offense. Luck makes it all look so easy.

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3-Trent Richardson, Alabama, RB: The current top guy on my Heisman list, Richardson has a better supporting cast than anyone out there. With as devastating as the Tide's defense is this season, Bama could be a top 25 team just with average talent on offense. But it's Richardson who makes the Tide such a force on this side of the ball too. He is a bruising back with outstanding speed and now everyone knows about how slick his moves are after the number he did on Ole Miss last week. Richardson is the engine of the Tide offense, which had to replace, Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and QB Greg McElroy. Despite all of that turnover, Bama is actually still leading the SEC in scoring (39 ppg) and averaging almost six points more than it was at this point last year.

4-Denard Robinson, Michigan, QB: Last year at this time Robinson's act felt like a phenomenon. We've almost gotten used to it, but he is still arguably the most exciting player in college football. Robinson's performance in an amazing comeback win over Notre Dame in September was one for the ages. The Wolverines are much better on D this year, but actually not quite as prolific on offense. Robinson's passing game has regressed a bit from last year, but the load he carries is still remarkable. He is accounting for 312 of Michigan's 451 total yards of offense (69 percent). 

5-Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina, RB: The SEC has a couple of great tailbacks. Whether Lattimore is actually better than Trent Richardson is debatable, but the loss of the star back on Steve Spurrier's team figures to be huge. Lattimore wasn't just a great physical runner, he also was a very capable receiver and the guy who kept the Gamecocks offense going.

6-Russell Wilson, Wisconsin, QB: The NC State transfer has fit into Badger football beautifully, taking this program to a new level. Wilson leads the country in passing efficiency and has thrown 14 TDs against just one INT. As the schedule picks up, Wilson's worth figures to continue to increase.

7-Kellen Moore, Boise State, QB: His yards per attempt and passing efficiency rating are slightly down from last year. Then again, he did have to replace two superb receivers, but Moore has still been his usual outstanding self, completing 76 percent of his passes for the Boise State powerhouse that looks like the safest bet in college football to run the table this fall.

8-Tyrann Mathieu, LSU,  CB/SLB/PR: The Honey Badger is the star of the dominating LSU D, lining up all over the field, blitzing, dropping, playing man, flying in for tackles while trying to rip the ball free. He just has a real knack for making big, momentum-swinging plays. The 5-9, 180-pound Mathieu leads the Tigers in solo tackles (29); forced fumbles (four), fumble recoveries (three) and is tied for second in INTs (two) and for third in TFLs (five).

9-Devon Still, Penn State, DT: A few years back Nittany Lion D-lineman Jared Odrick was such a handful for rival offenses that he won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. Still is playing at that level and might be in line for similar honors if he can keep this up. The Nittany Lions are No. 6 in the country in scoring defense with Still anchoring their front and barreling his way into the other team's backfields consistently. Stats often can't truly measure a lineman's merits, but Still makes more than his share of plays besides the ones he creates for teammates. His 10 TFLs are among the nation's leaders and his play on a good defense has enabled PSU to go 6-1 in spite of a dreadful offense, ranked 96th in the nation.

10 (tie)- Sammy Watkins, Clemson, WR-KR: The most spectacular freshman in football, Watkins' worth was evident last weekend when he turned in big play after big play to bail the Tigers out of a tight situation as they rallied to overtake Maryland. In that game he set a school-record with 345 all-purpose yards. On the season, he already has five plays of 60 yards or longer.

10 (tie) Robert Woods, USC, WR-KR: The Trojan offense has sputtered quite a bit this fall, but Woods is the one USC player who consistently looks like the kind of stud that this program had when it was competing for BCS titles. Woods is on pace for 120 catches and almost 1600 yards receiving for a team that is 5-1, but might only be .500 if it weren't for the sophomore wideout.


Since: May 18, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:53 pm

Tuesday Top 10: MVPs of the season's first half

If production is in then Denard's got a chance.  Who exactly is embracing the spread?  I'm not.  Michigan is not.  We just ran the spread out of town much like the "Charlie Weiss Express".   In fact, the same train, same tracks that Kelly will eventually get run out on, but that's another story.  Denard is a once in a decade type of player and talent.  He'll be a NFL'er but I don't think anyone has figured out exactly where they'll use him.  Either way, he's starting to get some creds.  Bout time.  His passing will get better and the best thing about Denard, in my opinion, is that he'll definitely be back next year and when it's all said and done, he'll be the leading rushing QB of all time. 

You're right about the ND incompetence but it's not DEF or OFF,  It's all inclusive. 

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:40 pm

Tuesday Top 10: MVPs of the season's first half

Luck's numbers wouldn't be so great if they play somebody-  Don't ballyhooe him without recognizing Stanford hasn't played anyone -

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:10 pm

Tuesday Top 10: MVPs of the season's first half

The "spread offenses" that college football has embraced needs a QB of the Cam Newton physical size NOT the Denard Robinson type.  Robinson will never be a "pro style" QB and he cannot survive an entire season taking similar punishment as in East Lansing last Saturday.  Besides he can't pass worth a lick.  ND's incompetance on DEF lost the game for the Irish..not Robinson's "surgical" dissection of the ND defense.  Give me Wilson any day.  And since RPI is out and "production" in for OFF player of the year awards...Kellen should win it. 

Since: Oct 18, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 6:44 pm

Tuesday Top 10: MVPs of the season's first half

Wisconsins entire O-Line from last year is now in the NFL.  They are not "experienced" this year, but yes the line is very good none-the-less. People can stop Denard because they single cover recievers and dare him to throw.  I agree with you that Denard is an incredibly athletic person.  But you just can not throw as many picks as he does and still be considered a legit first half MVP or heisman contender.  There are jsut too many players that put up big numbers across the NCAA.

Since: Oct 18, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 5:02 pm

L James???????

Were is La Mike James on this list?  Rushing for more then 200 yard three games in a row.  Leading FBS in yards per game.  Leading FBS in total yards per game.  More then 9 yards a carry.  Should I keep going?  Luck is good but D Thomas's numbers are just as good or better against better teams.  It's all about the media and who looks good on a poster. 

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:44 pm

The Wilson Loophole

Wiscy was extremely lucky to get Russell Wilson through the loophole they used.  As for Wilson, he has to be wondering why the bleep he ever chose NCSU.  Now that he is playing for a line that can block for him, he is showing the "potential" he had all along.  Imagine what would have happened if he had signed with a good team in the first place.

Since: Jun 26, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:17 pm

Tuesday Top 10: MVPs of the season's first half

 I agree that you have some outstanding players in your top ten. But to not have either of the quarterbacks from the Oklahoma schools is crazy. And not to even mention Broyles on this list is just as ridiculous. Seems all that is read is about how great the SEC is, but there is a lot of good teams, and players outside the SEC. As good a game as LSU-Alabama will be, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State will be as good, later in the year, with as less as much at stake. Lets not assume that the winner of LSU-Alabama is going to be the national Champion. Lets wait and see what happens when either of those teams have to line up against some real offense. Going to make the rest of the college season very exciting.

Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 2:31 pm

Tuesday Top 10: MVPs of the season's first half

I agree that Russel Wilson has been far more consistent than Denard Robinson, but he also has the benefit of playing behind Wisconsin's massive and experienced O-line and with a pair of explosive RBs, meaning that he is not required to do too much from the QB position.  Play action passing is very effective when your running game is grinding people into the dirt, and he has played very well.  On the other hand, every defense currently plays Michigan with one thing in mind - stop Denard Robinson.  That is what is so amazing about what he has been able to accomplish.  As the author said, he is one of the most exciting players in CFB.  That doesn't mean that anyboy is going to mistake him for Kellen Moore or even Russell Wilson.

The good news for Michigan is that our defense has improved substantially, and our offense will only continue to imrpove as more and more of the new system is implemented.  We still have the rest of this season and one more year for Denard to get a hang of the pro-style offense, and maybe next year he can play more of a Russel Wilson type of role rather than having to be the entire offense himself. 

Since: Oct 18, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 2:08 pm

Tuesday Top 10: MVPs of the season's first half

You guys absolutely kill me.  I'm a gamecock fan, but what about that kid at WV Geno Smith.  Check out his stats.  He as thrown for more the 2100 yds (passing percentage 64%) with 16 TD's and 3 INT's.  Although they lost to the daunting defense of LSU he lit'em up for almost 500 yards. 

Just goes to show that you guys say want you want about whom and don't watch and read.

Do your JOB!!!

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2011 2:03 pm

Tuesday Top 10: MVPs of the season's first half

I agree....I can't believe Lattimore is one here and no Lamike, not to mention a few other RBs that are better than Lattimore.

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