That is right – it’s time for the first annual FCB Half Season Big Easties! The Big Easties are handed out to a select deserving few – fine individuals who have shown a certain aspect, a certain skill, that has stood out above the others.
Actually, with the Big East consisting of only eight teams and not exactly being a powerhouse, it’s a wonder every award had a winner. However, without further adieu, here are this year’s Half Season Big Eastie winners (and losers).
Biggest Surprise of the Season So Far: Bilal Powell – Louisville RB – The senior back was thought to be Victor Anderson‘s understudy heading into the season. However, Powell won the starting job and never looked back. He is currently leading the Big East in rushing (898 yards) and Powell has scored more than doubled his previous touchdown total for a season (9). In fact Louisville’s offense to this point has been a giant surprise.
The Cards are the second highest scoring team in the Big East. Powell just beat out Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham and Cincinnati’s Isaiah Pead.
Biggest Disappointment of the Season So Far: TIE – Dion Lewis – Pittsburgh RB – B.J. Daniels – South Florida QB – Lewis came into the season as a possible Heisman candidate and now he may not be the best back on his team. It’s Ray Graham that leads Pittsburgh in rushing yards and in rushing TDs! Lewis has battled injuries and defenses gearing on him and it has not been pretty (3.8 yds per carry). For his part Daniels looks lost in new USF head coach Skip Holtz‘s offense. The Sophomore has 10 interceptions to 4 touchdown passes through six games. There are a few options for this award, West Virginia’s Noel Devine for example, but no one could beat out Daniels or Lewis.
Where Did This Guy Come From?: Isaiah Pead – Cincinnati RB – Through the first three games of the season Pead rushed for 36 yards total. In the last three the Junior has rushed for 516 yards! With Cincinnati in a process of transition no one knew what to expect out of Butch Jones‘ offense, but through six games it looks like the Bearcats are finding themselves thanks in large part to Pead. Syracuse wide out Van Chew also was considered for this award for leading the Orange in receiving yards and for having the name Van Chew.
Why Won’t This Guy Go Away?: Zach Frazer – Connecticut QB – This one isn’t fair because Frazer has actually been benched. However, Frazer started the first four games of the season for the Huskies and he struggled mightily. UConn was picked by many (including yours truly) to win the Big East, yet the team went lost two of it’s first three games before Frazer was benched in game number four. With a running back like Jordan Todman and a supposedly nasty defense, Frazer proved to be a weak link. Noel Devine of West Virginia was up for this award too, but mostly because he has terrorized opposing defenses for what seems like 10 years. Also up for this honor was the entire Rutgers offense for being so God awful.
Top Defense: West Virginia – In something of an upset West Virginia has been the Big East’s top defense to this point of the season. The Mountaineers held South Florida to six points in their Big East opener and for the season they have only allowed 74 points. Bruce Irvin has five sacks on the season and Keith Tandy leads the the Big East with four interceptions. Rutgers received consideration, but piling up big numbers against Florida International and Norfolk State hurt the Scarlet Knights.
Top Quarterback: Zach Collaros – Cincinnati – With 17 touchdown passes to just 3 interceptions Collaros has the Bearcat offense rolling. In the last three games Cincinnati has put up 29 points or more and Collaros is a huge reason why. Was it any surprise that, even without Brian Kelly as coach, a Bearcat QB would have a huge year? Collaros barely beat out West Virginia QB Geno Smith.
Top Wideout: DJ Woods – Cincinnati – In his last game out Woods caught two passes total, yet both were for scores. He has six touchdowns on the year and is a primary target for our top QB Zach Collaros. Woods’ issues on special teams scare us, but Collaros to Woods will be a primary combination in the Big East for the rest of the season. Syracuse’s Van Chew and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin were up for this award, but both do not have the touchdowns that Woods has so far this season.
Top Tight End: Louisville’s Tight Ends – (This is one of those awards that would be handed out earlier in the night) In college football the position of tight end can be highly productive, think spread offenses, or it can be all about blocking. In the Big East the tight end is often just another form of protection for the quarterback. However, the Cards present Cameron Graham and Josh Chichester. Graham has 19 grabs this season while Chichester has 11 and both have two touchdowns apiece. No one else was up for this Big Eastie.
Top Running Back: Jordan Todman – Connecticut – Louisville’s Bilal Powell leads the league in rushing, but Todman has been unreal. The Junior has 761 yards rushing and 8 TDs all while missing a game!
There you have it! Winners and losers of the first annual Big Easties. With six games remaining against mostly conference competition I fully expect the mid-season award winners to look a lot different than the end of season Big Eastie winners. The next six weeks will separate the strong from the weak in team and inpidual play and we’ll be back to recognize the good and the bad with more Big Easties!