The Nation's Best: Sixth Annual Herbie Awards
It's the sixth anniversary of the Herbies, and we're celebrating with one of the top classes of award winners. This list has everything to do with the playmakers, the hogmollies, the difference makers and, in short, just great college football players. It has nothing -- nothing -- to do with their pro potential.
Herbies are given to the best college football players, coaches, teams and fans from across the nation.
Also, this is just my list. These are my choices and not everyone will agree. That's the beauty of it. Let the second-guessing begin.
So, without further ado, the sixth annual Herbie Awards.
|1. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma||
Adrian Peterson ran away with a Herbie.
|2. Michael Bush, Louisville|
|3. Marshawn Lynch, California|
|4. Darren McFadden, Arkansas|
|5. Jamaal Charles, Texas|
Jeff Samardzija was a catch for the Irish.
|1. Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame|
|2. Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech|
|3. Dwayne Jarrett, USC|
|4. Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State|
|5. Chansi Stuckey, Clemson|
|6. Derrick Williams, Penn State|
|7. DeSean Jackson, California|
|1. Ryan Kalil, C, USC|
Ryan Kalil is a menace on the line.
|2. Jordan Grimes, G, Purdue|
|3. Brian Daniels, G, Colorado|
|4. Justin Blalock, T, Texas|
|5. Ryan Harris, T, Notre Dame|
|Top Tight Ends|
Greg Olsen gives the 'Canes a lift.
|1. Greg Olsen, Miami|
|2. Matt Spaeth, Minnesota|
|3. Zach Miller, Arizona State|
|4. Joe Newton, Oregon State|
|5. Matt Herian, Nebraska|
|Old School (Classic dropback style)||New School (Run and pass like Michael Vick)|
|1. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame||1. Troy Smith, Ohio State|
|2. Brian Brohm, Louisville||2. Drew Stanton, Michigan State|
|3. Chad Henne, Michigan||3. Pat White, West Virginia|
|4. Drew Weatherford, Florida State||4. Drew Tate, Iowa|
|5. Kyle Wright, Miami||5. Willie Tuitama, Arizona|
|Top Defensive Ends||Top Defensive Tackles|
|1. Gaines Adams, Clemson||1. Frank Okam, Texas|
|2. Quentin Moses, Georgia||2. Quinn Pitcock, Ohio State|
|3. Tim Crowder, Texas||3. Baraka Atkins, Miami|
|4. Lawrence Jackson, USC||4. Brandon Mebane, California|
|5. Adam Carriker, Nebraska||5. Sedrick Ellis, USC|
|6. Mkristo Bruce, Washington State|
|Larry Birdine, Oklahoma|
|Top Outside Linebackers||Top Inside Linebackers|
|1. Paul Posluszny, Penn State||1. Anthony Waters, Clemson|
|2. Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma||2. Desmond Bishop, California|
|3. Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech||3. Brandon Siler, Florida|
|4. Brian Toal, Boston College||4. Corey McKeon, Nebraska|
|5. Ali Highsmith, LSU||5. H.B. Blades, Pittsburgh|
|6. Patrick Willis, Ole Miss|
|Top Cornerbacks||Top Safeties|
|1. Daymeion Hughes, California||1. Michael Johnson, Arizona|
|2. Leon Hall, Michigan||2. Kenny Phillips, Miami|
|3. Antoine Cason, Arizona||3. Brandon Meriweather, Miami|
|4. Justin King, Penn State||4. LaRon Landry, LSU|
|5. Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State||5. Michael Griffin, Texas|
|Movin' On Up||Headin' On Down|
|Mark It Down|
By far Tommy Bowden's most talented team on both sides of ball. Can Will Proctor get it done?
Steady Eddie on Chestnut Hill.
After massive changes to coaching staff and being kicked around in the offseason, look out for the 'Canes.
Defense alone will keep the Hokies in every game. Will they have enough offense to win the league?
I love West Virginia and Rich Rodriguez, but something always happens to the team in this conference that is wearing a bull's-eye.
The much maligned Tyler Palko has leadership and ability. Along with H.B. Blades, the Panthers are a threat.
The Buckeyes have the most electrifying offense in nation, and despite nine new starters on defense, they will have one of fastest defenses in the nation as well.
Following a 7-5 season and the ridicule that goes along with it, the Wolverines have too much pride not to come out swinging.
|Big 12 North||
Bill Callahan has the Huskers believing; Zac Taylor is the difference.
It may not be this year, but it won't take Dan Hawkins long to work his magic.
|Big 12 South||
The Horns just need their young QB to distribute the football to a bevy of talent.
Mike Leach's team is always competitive. This year, he gets Texas in Lubbock.
|Big 12 Champ||Texas|
Despite obvious losses, there is one constant: Pete Carroll.
In his third year, Mike Stoops has built a nasty defense and may have the Pac-10 offensive player of the year in Tuitama.
Talent isn't the question. It's all about chemistry.
Don't forget about the Ol' Ball Coach nestled away in Columbia. By SEC standards, it's a manageable conference schedule and it's the Gamecocks' second year in Steve Spurrier's system.
The Tigers are incredibly athletic on defense, and with Brandon Cox and Kenny Irons on offense, the Tigers will be the team to beat.
Every third year I love Woo Pig Sooey. This happens to be the third year. Go Hogs!
|Conference USA East||UCF|
|Conference USA West||UTEP|
|Conference USA Champ||UTEP|
|MAC East||Kent State|
|MAC West||Northern Illinois|
|MAC Champ||Northern Illinois|
|Mountain West Champ||BYU|
|Sun Belt Champ||UL Lafayette|
|WAC Champ||Boise State|
Florida State's Myron Rolle is living up to the hype.
|C.J. Gable, USC|
|Percy Harvin, Florida|
|Brandon Minor, Michigan|
|Myron Rolle, Florida State|
|Sam Shields, Miami|
|C.J. Spiller, Clemson|
|Chris Wells, Ohio State|
|Kenny Wilson, Nebraska|
|Al Woods, LSU|
|Sam Young, Notre Dame|
Willie Tuitama is a name you'll know.
|Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma|
|Nate Longshore, Cal|
|Brandon Ore, Virginia Tech|
|Raymell Rice, Rutgers|
|Javon Ringer, Michigan State|
|Nate Swift, Nebraska|
|Rendrick Taylor, Clemson|
|Travis Thomas, Notre Dame|
|Lawrence Timmons, Florida State|
|Willie Tuitama, Arizona|
|1. Charlie Weis, Notre Dame||
Charlie Weis makes coaching look good.
|2. Jeff Tedford, Cal|
|3. Steve Sarkisian, USC|
|4. Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia|
|5. Al Borges, Auburn|
|6. Bobby Petrino, Louisville|
Gene Chizik will be counted on in the Horns' title defense.
|1. Gene Chizik, Texas|
|2. Jon Tenuta, Georgia Tech|
|3. Vic Koenning, Clemson|
|4. Mark Stoops, Arizona|
|5. Jim Heacock, Ohio State|
|6. Bud Foster, Virginia Tech|
|Best Game-Day Coaches||Top Future Coaches|
|1. Pete Carroll, USC||1. Gene Chizik, Texas|
|2. Mack Brown, Texas||2. Steve Sarkisian, USC|
|3. Jim Tressel, Ohio State||3. Rob Spence, Clemson|
|4. Charlie Weis, Notre Dame||4. Frank Cignetti, North Carolina|
|5. Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia||5. Kevin Steele, Florida State|
Student sections gain respect from me for originality, support (noise) and organization.
|1. Penn State -- After witnessing the whiteout last year and seeing Paternoville, I'm a 100 percent believer that the Nittany Lions have the best student section in the nation.|
|2. Notre Dame -- High points for T-shirt coordination for every home game and for its overall support.|
|3. Texas A&M -- Even though its team has fallen on hard times, based on my criteria, the Aggies student section still scores high points in all categories.|
|4. Michigan -- Based solely on outstanding organization (although it loses points for the smart-aleck factor). I do, however, admire its energy.|
|5. Florida -- The Swamp is one of my favorite places in the country to watch a game. The student section creates a ton of energy that is evident from the field.|
|1. All SEC schools
It doesn't matter where, when or who is playing. This argument is closed.
|2. Do we really need a No. 2? Is it even possible?|
Florida State, Texas, Arizona State, Clemson
|Offensive Team||Defensive Team|
|QB - Brady Quinn, Notre Dame||DE - Gaines Adams, Clemson|
|RB - Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma||DE - Quentin Moses, Georgia|
|RB - Darren McFadden, Arkansas||DT - Frank Okam, Texas|
|WR - Dwayne Jarrett, USC||LB - Desmond Bishop, Cal|
|WR - Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State||LB - Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech|
|WR - DeSean Jackson, Cal||LB - Paul Posluszny, Penn State|
|C - Dan Mozes, West Virginia||LB - Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma|
|G - James Marten, Boston College||CB - Antoine Cason, Arizona|
|G - Rueben Riley, Michigan||CB - Josh Pinkard, USC|
|T - Sam Baker, USC||S - Kenny Phillips, Miami|
|T - Joe Thomas, Wisconsin||S - LaRon Landry, LSU|
|1. Ohio State -- Rabid fans and one of the top programs in the nation. And I get to have my kids on the set. Plus, the GameDay crew has fallen in love with City Barbeque.|
|2. USC -- I'm pretty shocked to put a Pac-10 school on this list, but Pete Carroll, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush have made our L.A. stops extremely memorable. Can the legacy continue without Matt and Reggie?|
|3. LSU -- Some of the best fans in the country, an unbelievable tailgate scene and a great Friday dinner at Ruffino's.|
|4. Florida -- When the Gators are good, there is not a more vocal crowd in the country|
|5. Penn State -- The Nittany Lions are supported by the best student section in America.|
|6. Auburn -- Like most SEC schools, Auburn has a rabid fan base and a Chick-Fil-A really close to our set.|
|7. Virginia Tech -- Frank Beamer's fan base adores its Hokies and is always very accommodating to College GameDay -- not to mention a Friday lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings topped off by a blizzard from the DQ.|
|8. Alabama -- We have a great setup at the quad. Very friendly tailgaters offering delicious BBQ. But most important, 'Bama has by far the best security service we get anywhere on the road. Note to fans: It would be wise to be on your best behavior when Chris, Lee and I are walking with our officers in Tuscaloosa.|
|9. Notre Dame -- I'd like to welcome the Irish back to the list. Outside of the obvious tradition and ambiance of South Bend, the Irish faithful are borderline obnoxious with their regained swagger and love for their school.|
|10. Oklahoma -- Even though the Sooners are coming off a down year, Norman has been a consistent stop for GameDay. Oklahoma has a highly supportive fan base. And there is nothing like a dinner at Pearl's the night before a big game|
Ranking based on expediting passengers and cleanliness.
|1. Austin, Texas -- Clean and always great service.|
|2. Starkville, Miss. -- The Golden Triangle has just one gate, which means it doesn't take long to get your bags.|
|3. Tallahassee, Fla. -- Easy in and out. Very quick access to school.|
|4. Phoenix -- The only potential pitfall is the length of time to claim your bag -- otherwise high marks.|
|5. Gainesville, Fla. -- Very quick ride to the hotel and stadium.|
|1. Lil' Dooey in Starkville, Miss. (Hands down, the best barbecue in the country.)|
|2. Cypress Inn in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (The chicken with white barbecue sauce is a must.)|
|3. El Arroyo in Austin, Texas. (Great Tex-Mex.)|
|4. Ruffino's in Baton Rouge, La. (Phenomenal combination of Cajun and Italian.)|
|5. Hyde Park Steakhouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Best steak I've ever had.)|
Kirk Herbstreit is an analyst on ESPN's College GameDay. Chat with Kirk Herbstreit every Thursday during the season.
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