B1G players, teams all over Fox Sports' midseason awards
Fox Sports college football reporter Bruce Feldman dished out his midseason awards on Thursday, and as expected, there were plenty of B1G mentions.
Feldman gave plenty of love to Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan squad while Carl Nassib’s emergence and Iowa were among Feldman’s first-half notables, as well.
To see Feldman’s complete first-half awards, click here.
To see just the B1G mentions, read below:
COACH OF THE FIRST HALF
1. Kyle Whittingham, Utah: Picked by the Pac-12 media to finish fifth in their division, his Utes are undefeated and No. 3 in the nation and have wins over Michigan, Cal, ASU and a blowout victory at Autzen vs. Oregon.
2. Jim McElwain, Florida: The Gators have 15 freshmen and sophomores on their offensive 2-deep and the first-year head coach still has them at 6-1 with a close loss at LSU.
3. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: No team has been rocked by as many key injuries as Kelly’s. The Irish have lost seven starters, including promising young QB Malik Zaire early in the year, days after losing leading returning rusher Tarean Folston. No matter, the Irish keep rolling on and are 6-1 with only a last-second loss at Clemson in a monsoon on the downside.
4. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: He got the Wolverines back into the Top 25 in a hurry. The only blemishes are a close loss at Utah and the last-second special teams nightmare against Michigan State.
5. Gary Patterson, TCU: People aren’t giving him enough credit for keeping the Horned Frogs unbeaten despite having lost seven defensive starters, most due to injuries.
MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE OF THE FIRST HALF
1. Iowa: The Hawkeyes are undefeated and steamrolling their way to what sure looks like it’ll be a 12-0 regular season thanks in large part to an explosive big-play attack that leads the Big Ten in plays of 40 yards or longer with 12 — which is as many as Iowa had in 13 games last season and only one fewer than the Hawkeyes had in the 2013 and 2012 seasons combined.
2. The AAC: Temple, Memphis and Houston are all undefeated and each has a good win against a Power 5 opponent on its resume. All three teams are in the Top 25 and have coaches seen as rising stars primed to possibly make big jumps to Power 5 jobs. Three years ago, these three teams were a combined 13-22 and all three had losing records.
3. Brandon Harris, LSU, QB: No one’s ever questioned his arm, but there was plenty of skepticism about the sophomore’s consistency and decision-making. Well, so far, so good. Harris was terrific against one of the top defenses in the nation last week vs. Florida. He’s thrown six TDs and zero INTs while taking some heat off Leonard Fournette. Harris is completing 67 percent of his passes in SEC games.
4. Florida: As young as they are, the Gators blasted Ole Miss and have looked like the best team in the SEC East.
5. Michigan: The fact that the Wolverines were the favorite against undefeated Michigan State tells you just how much respect Jim Harbaugh’s team has been getting after becoming the first team in 20 years to notch three consecutive shutouts.
BREAKOUT STAR OF THE FIRST HALF
1. Carl Nassib, Penn State, DE: A former walk-on with plans to go to med school, the 6-7, 270-pound Nassib leads the nation in sacks with 11.5, in TFLs with 15.5 and in forced fumbles with five.
2. Paxton Lynch, Memphis, QB: He’s tall at 6-7 and very athletic, but the unheralded former recruit from Florida has blossomed for coach Justin Fuente. His best receivers are all former walk-ons. Lynch has a 13-1 TD-INT ratio. He shredded an athletic Ole Miss D and is generating some big buzz in NFL circles while leading the unbeaten Tigers.
3. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, RB/KR: Drawing comparisons to Reggie Bush, the 205-pound Stanford sophomore dashed into the Heisman race after running all over UCLA last week.
4. C.J. Prosise, ND, RB: The Irish lost their leading rusher after Week 1 and no one noticed any dropoff because of Prosise — perhaps the best combo of speed and power the Irish have had at tailback in years. He’s run for 922 yards and 11 TDs already, going for 7.2 yards a carry. In the second half of games, Prosise’s average goes up to over 7.6 yards per carry.
5. Matt Johnson, BGSU, QB: Dino Babers’ latest gem, Johnson doesn’t have prototypical NFL size, but the 6-0, 219-pounder whom Babers compares to Doug Flutie can really sling it around. Johnson has a 24-3 TD-INT ratio and leads the nation in total offense.
Taylor Decker, Ohio State OL
Jack Allen, Michigan State OL
Carl Nassib, Penn State DE
Joe Schobert, Wisconsin LB
Jourdan Lewis, Michigan CB
Vonn Bell, Ohio State S