Like what you're reading?

We make it easy to stay connected:

to our email newsletters
Download our free apps

Hlas: Basically, college football awards are publicity stunts

It's like comparing Apple Cups and Orange Bowls

  • Photo

I’d go all bowl-conjecture as we near Selection Sunday, but that’s a losing game.

Maybe it will be Iowa against Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. I hope not, because Washington State is soft.

Wait a second. Sez who?

“We’re soft,” said Washington State wide receiver Gabe Marks after his team’s 45-17 loss to Washington in the Apple Cup last Friday.

Oh. Well, he would know.

So while waiting for Sunday’s playoff pairings and the New Year’s Six bowl pairings and the God Save the Cuisine Food Truck Bowl pairings, let’s instead discuss awards.

Here’s a rule of thumb about every award in every walk of life: They’re bogus.

I used to go see the winners of the Best Picture of the Year after the Academy Awards because I didn’t want a gap in my artistic awareness. That often was a misuse of time that could have been better spent watching a better movie, one people still remembered two weeks or 20 years after the Oscars are handed out.

The Best Picture winners aren’t all boring and forgettable, of course. The most-recent winner, “Spotlight,” was mighty good. But how do you really choose one great film over another, one great TV show over another, and so forth?

So it often is in college football. The past week brought us a lot of all-conference football teams and finalists for national awards. The Big Ten’s coaches named Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst the Coach of the Year. The league’s media gave the same honor to Penn State’s James Franklin.

Luckily, there is tiebreaker Saturday night in Indianapolis.

A lot of people in Iowa got riled up when Hawkeyes linebacker Josey Jewell was named second-team All-Big Ten by coaches and media.

“2nd team? Unreal,” Iowa linebackers coach Seth Wallace tweeted. I get that. I saw Jewell play 12 times. It’s hard for me to believe three other Big Ten linebackers were better in America, let alone the Big Ten.

Jewell is one of the most-dynamic and effective players the Hawkeyes have had in the last two decades. His instincts and intensity combine to make him a player you can’t miss if you’re watching an Iowa game.

But Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers and Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan are no slouches.

Of Big Ten players, though, Jewell is the only one among the five finalists for the Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker. The other four are from the SEC.

If you’re Peppers, the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year, do you feel cheated not to be a Butkus finalist? On the other hand, ESPN.com had a six-person panel who unanimously gave their nod as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year to Ohio State safety Malik Hooper, with Watt their No. 2 guy. So perhaps Peppers has no complaint.

Maybe Iowa will go up against Washington State guard Cody O’Connell in San Diego. O’Connell wasn’t first- or second-team All-Pac-12, so no big whoop, right?

Guess again. O’Connell is one of the three finalists for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman.

Speaking of offensive line play, the three finalists for the Joe Moore Award were named this week. That award is to recognize the offensive line “that best displays toughness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique, and ‘finishing.’"

The finalists are Alabama, Ohio State and Iowa. Which was interesting since Iowa ranked 119th nationally in total offense and tied for 90th in fewest quarterback sacks allowed going into this weekend, and no Hawkeyes offensive linemen was first- or second-team All-Big Ten.

But does Iowa meet the Moore Award criteria? Obviously, it must. More importantly, are there too many awards?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to cast my Heisman Trophy vote after comparing the talents and achievements of players I’ve seen once or twice on television.

Give us feedback

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Tell us here.
Do you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.