The Western Athletic Conference released the winners of their first annual Bizarro WAC Awards today in a ceremony held at OBNUG headquarters in Kevan's guest bedroom. Karl Benson was not in attendance.
The awards, which honor the exact opposite of what the traditional Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards honor, were conceived out of a need to recognize the overwhelming amount of bad performances year in and year out in the WAC. They were also instituted at the request of Brent Guy so that he might have something good to put on his resume.
Here are the winners:
Bizarro offensive player of the year: QB Taylor Bennett, Louisiana Tech
Bennett was touted as the preseason savior of the Louisiana Tech football program and the one player who would have perhaps the biggest impact on the WAC. How dare he steal coach Derek Dooley's limelight!
As a transfer from Georgia Tech and a highly recruited QB prospect out of high school, the senior certainly had pedigree on his side. He did not, however, have accuracy, pocket presence, leadership skills, or a strong arm. As such, Bennett found the bench midway through the season and got to sit back and watch backup QB Ross Jenkins lead the Bulldogs to a second half revival.
In four of Bennett's five starts (during which the Bulldogs were 2-3 with wins over Mississippi State and SE Louisiana), he completed less than 38 percent of his passes and cracked the 200-yard mark just once. His two total touchdown passes on the season were roughly twenty or so fewer than what people expected. People, as it appears, should have lowered their expectations.
Bizarro defensive player of the year: S Shiloh Keo, Idaho
An anti-award ceremony wouldn't be complete without an Idaho Vandal. Shiloh Keo, come on down!
The Vandal superstar safety was not exactly the difference maker everyone expected he would be this year. Keo injured his shoulder in the Vandals' fourth game of the year (against Utah State, no less) and missed the remainder of the season.
But before you go poo-pooing this selection in the spirit of fairness, let us remind you that Keo was starting in the Vandals' two highest scoring opponent games: a 70-0 loss to Arizona and a 51-28 loss to Western Michigan. The fact that the Vandal defense somehow managed to play better with Keo's absence might say more about Keo than he wishes it would. Without the senior safety, Idaho managed to hold New Mexico State's pass-happy attack to just 14 points and nearly pulled out a win over SJSU. With Keo in the lineup, none of this would have been possible.
Bizarro coach of the year: Hal Mumme, New Mexico State
Who better to earn the first Bizarro coach of the year award than the late (coaching-wise) Hal Mumme? OK, the case could be made for Robb Akey. We'll give you that.
But Mumme's bunch was just so completely outcoached and outclassed by the end of the year that there was really no contest for who did the worst out of the WAC's bumbling bottom tier. A 49-2 loss to Utah State? It's as if the guy thought he had job security.
Bizarro sixth-year senior of the year: RB Yonus Davis, San Jose State
Rather than hand out a freshman of the year award, the Bizarro WAC awards choose to honor the most disappointing player who has had the longest tenure of disappointment with the conference. That fits SJSU's Yonus Davis to a "T."
Davis, by some unfathomable act of God, actually made the all-WAC second team. To show the largess of that feat, take a look at Davis' numbers on the year:
120 carries, 558 yards, 4.7 ypc, 3 TDs
Davis' conference numbers were even worse:
77 carries, 256 yards, 3.3 ypc, 2 TDs
That's right. Davis rushed for a little over 250 yards in conference play and was rewarded with a second team all-conference selection. Throughout his entire Spartan career, Davis has shown flashes of brilliance to be immediately followed by high ankle sprains. He missed almost all of 2007 with an ankle injury. He played sparingly in 2004 also, and his only good season was 2006 when he barely cracked 1000 yards (1007 to be exact). Fortunately, after using up all of his eligibility with redshirts and medical redshirts, he will not be around to taunt us with his potential any more.