2011 NCAA Football Season Review

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With Bowl Season on the horizon and the Army-Navy game in the books the NCAA season is officially finished. It was an interesting year with plenty of debates and many stories throughout the year. With a very up and down year and typical intense rivalries and big surprises the NCAA season was entertaining yet again. The NCAA also went through a number of challenges with controversy surrounding a number of schools. The NCAA is always an entertaining league that sees players not getting paid, or at least not supposed to be getting paid, for playing and simply playing for the love of the game. Watching the future of the NFL is always entertaining and seeing these young men play and try to figure out who is the best. The regular season is over and that means the Bowl Season starts as the small bowls lead into the new year where a new National Champion is crowned. This year it will be between the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers as both teams face off in a rematch to see who the best team is. It is now time to sit back and enjoy the Bowl season because whether you agree or disagree with the Bowl system there is no denying that the Bowls are great games to watch with some teams that are rarely seen on TV.

 

Penn State Tragedy

The NCAA world was shocked this year and this time it was something much worse than a simple rules violation. Instead it was a sex abuse scandal at one of the few schools that had remained clean in a rash of illegal actions. Former Penn State Assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was faced with multiple sexual abuse charges stemming from many years back. These charges arose from a former grad assistant with the Nittany Lions who witnessed Sandusky in the act and reported it to head coach Joe Paterno. Paterno then reported it the Athletic Director and President who in turn did nothing. This inaction led to the firing of the President, Athletic Director, and head coach. Joe Paterno ended his career in the worst possible way after becoming the most winningest coach in NCAA history and coaching for over 60 years with the same school. Worst of all was the fact that the inaction of multiple people allowed Sandusky to continue his alleged actions on campus. The case has yet to be finished with Sandusky claiming innocence but recently being arrested for the second time with more accusations emerging. Penn State will now need to recover from this scandal but more importantly will be what they can do for the alleged victims of the crimes.

 

NCAA Redemption

The NCAA had a rough offseason with some top programs coming under scrutiny after rules violations. The teams included Ohio State, Jim Tressel was fired before the season for violations, Miami, LSU, and many more. Meanwhile USC was still serving a ban from Bowls for their own rules violations during the Reggie Bush era. The NCAA was hoping for this season to be their redemption as they would be able to put these violations behind them. With no major Rules Violations in the season it seemed to be going great but another scandal brought them back to a dark spot. It was another black eye on the NCAA and did not help the NCAA lose the reputation they received in the offseason. It will take a long time for the NCAA to return to a clean image and it could be impossible with more violations seemingly creeping up every year. There is almost a guarantee that most major programs are committing violations. These violations will continue and will go generally unnoticed as many players continually are recruited from low-income families and are not able to live at school. With so many players not getting paid but still needing to study for school, practice for football, and work jobs to pay for groceries and rent the offer of money from a booster is too appealing. The NCAA will need to figure out a system that will allow the student athletes to be successful on and off the field if they hope to end the violations and repair the black eye on the league.

 

SEC Rules Again

The SEC has been one of the best conferences in the past years as they have won the last five BCS National Championships. This year the trend continued as the SEC will win their 6th BCS National Championship in as many years. They are guaranteed a win as the two combatants in the National Championship Game will be between two SEC teams this year. The SEC has become the conference to be in if you want to get favoured for the rankings. The main reason is that the SEC has the best teams and therefore the schedules in the conference are much harder than other conferences. This gets them a leg up on the competition and it was shown as five teams in the SEC were ranked in the top 25. The SEC looks to continue their success for the next few years and adding Missouri could help them out. The biggest question will be just how long the reign of the SEC can last as many different conferences have had their times and all have faded. Will there be another school to lead a conference out of the shadow of the SEC or will it take a lot longer for the conference to become just another part of the NCAA. The Big 12 and Big Ten conferences might have a chance as they have a number of good teams that could be the leaders of the fall of the SEC. For now the SEC will be the conference to beat as they will face off in the National Championship and will continue to be ranked at the top of the NCAA.

 

BCS Circus

The BCS is a very controversial system where certain conferences get a leg up on others and some schools that may deserve to be ranked high end up out of contention. This year the controversy continued as the National Championship game was highly contested. LSU had been the obvious best team in the league all year as the only undefeated team with a tough schedule. This undefeated season including a win over the #2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in a key SEC matchup. With the win LSU went to the SEC championship game, which they won, and remained undefeated until the end. Meanwhile after the loss in early November Alabama seemed to be out of the race for the National championship. The main reason was that a rematch of Alabama and LSU is not what the BCS system is meant to do. The National Championship is meant to pit two teams that have never faced each other before against each other to find out who is the better team. When Alabama lost they only fell only one spot to #3 keeping them in contention with only Oklahoma State between them and a National Championship berth. With a Oklahoma State loss Alabama took over the #2 spot giving them a clear window the National Championship. After a big win in the last week by Oklahoma State there was hope to see a different game in the National Championship. This did not happen though, as the National Championship will become a rematch of the two SEC powers. The hope is that the game will be better than the 9-6 win by LSU as people will watch hoping that the game was the right decision and not another failure of the BCS system.

 

BCS Bowls

Rose Bowl:

#5 Oregon Ducks vs. #10 Wisconsin Badgers (January 2nd; 5:00 pm)

 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl:

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. #4 Stanford Cardinal (January 2nd; 8:30 pm)

 

Allstate Sugar Bowl:

#11 Virginia Tech Hokies vs. #13 Michigan Wolverines (January 3rd; 8:30 pm)

 

Discover Orange Bowl:

#15 Clemson Tigers vs. #23 West Virginia Mountaineers (January 4th; 8:30 pm)

 

BCS National Championship:

#1 LSU Tigers vs. #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (January 9th; 8:30 pm)

 

2011 NCAA Awards

Heisman Trophy (MVP via Writers):

Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor Bears)

 

Maxwell Award (MVP via Coaches and Media):

Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford Cardinal)

 

Walter Camp Award (MVP voted by Coaches):

Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford Cardinal)

 

The Home Depot Award (Coach of the Year):

Les Miles, HC (LSU Tigers)

 

Doak Walker Award (Best RB):

Trent Richardson, RB (Alabama Crimson Tide)

 

Davey O’Brien Award (Best QB):

Robert Griffin III, QB (Baylor Bears)

 

Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (Top Sr. QB):

Andrew Luck, QB (Stanford Cardinal)

 

Fred Biletnikoff Award (Best WR):

Justin Blackmon, WR (Oklahoma State Cowboys)

 

John Mackey Award (Best TE):

Dwayne Allen, TE (Clemson Tigers)

 

Outland Trophy (Top Interior Lineman):

Barrett Jones, OL (Alabama Crimson Tide)

 

Vince Lombardi Award (Top Lineman):

Luke Kuechly, LB/DL (Boston College Eagles)

 

Rimington Trophy (Best C):

David Molk, C (Michigan Wolverines)

 

Chuck Bednarik Award (Defensive MVP):

Tyrann Mathieu, CB (LSU Tigers)

 

Dick Butkus Award (Best LB):

Luke Kuechly, LB (Boston College Eagles)

 

Jim Thorpe Award (Best DB):

Tyrann Mathieu, CB (LSU Tigers)

 

Lou Groza Award (Best PK):

Randy Bullock, K (Texas A&M Aggies)

 

Ray Guy Award (Best P):

Ryan Allen, P (Louisiana Tech Bulldogs)

 

Ted Hendricks Award (Best DE):

Whitney Mercilus, DE (Illinois Fighting Illini)

 

Campbell Trophy (Scholar Athlete):

Andrew Rodriguez, LB (Army Black Knights)

 

Frank Broyles Award (Top Ass. Coach):

John Chavis, OC (LSU Tigers)

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