Florida State v Pittsburgh

College football awards recap: Why is Pitt’s Aaron Donald not a Heisman finalist again?


Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald was the big winner of this week’s awards circuit. The ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year collected the Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy. Somehow though, Donald is not one fo the six finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented Saturday in New York. How a player so dominant and decorated on the defensive side of the football misses out on a trip to New York when six finalists are extended an invitation is beyond comprehension.

The likely Heisman Trophy winner, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, received a handful of honors as well. Winston was named the Walter Camp Player fo the Year and Davey O’Brien Award winner.Winston was one of three Florida State players to win an award, with Bryan Stork winning the Rimington Trophy for best center and kicker Roberto Aguay0 winning the Lou Groza Award.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, another Heisman finalist, was named the Maxwell Award winner. Boston College running back Andre Williams, also on his way to New York for the Heisman festivities, was named the Doak Walker Award winner.

Here is a rundown of the awards presented or acknowledged Thursday night in Orlando at the annual college football awards show.

Maxwell Award (Player of the Year)

AJ McCarron, Alabama

Walter Camp Player of the Year

Jameis Winston, Florida State

Chuck Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year)

Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

Bronko Nagurski Award (Nation’s Outstanding Defensive Player)

Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

Rotary Lombardi Award (Nation’s Outstanding Lineman)

Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

Davey O’Brien Award (Nation’s Best Quarterback)

Jameis Winston, Florida State

Doak Walker Award (Best Running Back)

Andre Williams (Boston College)

Biletnikoff Award (Best Wide Receiver)

Brandin Cooks, Orgeon State

John Mackey Award (Best Tight End)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

Outland Trophy (Most Outstanding Interior Lineman)

Aaron Doanld, Pittsburgh

Rimington Trophy (Best Center)

Bryan Stork, Florida State

Jim Thorpe Award (Best Defensive Back)

Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

Lou Groza Award (Best Kicker)

Roberto Aguayo, Florida State

Ray Guy (Best Punter)

Tom Hornsey, Memphis

William V. Campbell Trophy (Academic Success)

John Urschel, Penn State

Home Depot Coach of the Year

Gus Malzahn, Auburn

Frank Broyles Award (Top Assistant Coach)

Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State defensive coordinator

NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award

John Gagliardi

Disney Spirit Award

Devon Walker, Tulane

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.