The final weekly ballot
With the conclusion of the regular season in college football (Army-Navy Game not included), we have one last ballot to cast for the Detmer Award, organized by our friends over at Saturday Blitz. The top five candidates will be formally announced later this week and all voting members will be asked to cast one final vote but if I had to take a guess as to who will be on that last ballot, I would guess a few players on my final weekly ballot will make an appearance.
1. QB Kellen Moore, Boise State
To me, Kellen Moore is the favorite for the Detmer Award. In his final regular season game Moore did what Moore does best, and that is slice and dice weak defenses to near perfection. Moore completed 28 of his 33 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns and he once again avoided throwing an interception. At the time Boise State still felt as though they might be heading to the BCS with a little help round the country, but the BCS had other plans. So we won’t get to see Moore and Boise State on the big stage one more time against one of the big boys of college football (Michigan, I’m looking at you). It would have been the best way to see Moore’s collegiate career come to an end, win or lose. Instead Boise State will take on Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
2. QB Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois
It took a while for Chandler Harnish to settle down under center for Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game Friday night, but once he found a rhythm the Ohio Bobcats found him difficult to stop, as many MAC opponents have learned this season. Harnish didn’t have a huge day running the football, with 31 yards on 13 attempts, but he was effective throwing the football, going 16 for 26 and 250 yards and three touchdowns. Harnish completed two touchdown passes in the final half of the fourth quarter to rally the Huskies to the MAC Championship. Next up is a match-up with the Sun Belt champions, Arkansas State, in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Should be fun to watch.
3. WR Tracy Lampley, Southern Mississippi
Southern Mississippi played tough and pulled out a Conference USA championship on the road against a team looking to go to the BCS as the conference’s first BCS-representative. Wide receiver Tracy Lampley played a key role in the winning effort. He had six catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns, essentially half of the passing offense for the Golden Eagles on Saturday. His early second quarter touchdown gave Southern Mississippi a 14-0 lead and his 61-yard touchdown reception may have served as the final nail in the coffin for Houston, giving Southern Miss a commanding 42-21 lead late in the third quarter. The 125 receiving yards was a season and career high for Lampley.
4. RB Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State
San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman put together one more fine outing on the ground for the Aztecs, rushing for 178 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-28 win against Fresno State. His two-yard run with just over a minute left in the game gave the Aztecs the touchdown lead, after his two third-quarter touchdown runs brought San Diego State back from a 21-14 deficit to take their first lead of the game. Hillman now heads to New Orleans for shot to shine in the Superdome against Louisiana Tech in the New Orleans Bowl.
5. QB Riley Nelson, BYU
We’ll give a nod of approval to BYU quarterback Riley Nelson, who completed 25 of 37 pass attempts at Hawaii and recorded 363 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars prevented Hawaii from becoming bowl eligible. Nelson did not play in BYU’s previous game, against New Mexico State, after cracking a rib against Idaho the week before. Safe to say he was feeling good on the big island this weekend. BYU and Nelson will take on Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl next.
No Case Keenum?
Not this week. Case Keenum put up the usual gaudy passing numbers with 41 completions for 373 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions in Houston’s home loss in the Conference USA Championship Game. While Keenum is left off my final weekly ballot, I feel confident in saying he will be one of the top five candidates for the Detmer Award, and I cannot say I would not vote for him as a result of his final (regular season) game at Houston. He is clearly a deservng player.
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