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OBNUG's Boise State football awards extravaganza (brought to you by OBNUG)

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It's OUR party, so we get all the presents

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Mountain West will do its level best to flub the Player of the Year Awards tomorrow, so let's get out ahead of that and make our own Bronco-centric picks. The rules here are simple...pick a Bronco player, coach or sideline photographer for each award below and so help me, if Rocky Long gets a single award I will pull this car over.

Damien

Bronco offensive player of the year

McNichols. This is a difficult one as it could have gone to one of several guys. Sperbeck for breaking records. Rypien for the same. But McNichols has had a lot of success this year and is going to be the cornerstone for the offense for the next two years (AND NO HE IS NOT LEAVING EARLY, WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT?!). McNichols had 18 rushing TDs (tied for fourth) and five receiving TDs. His total touchdowns (23) was a NCAA best this season and he was second in total scoring for the NCAA in 2015. All that in eleven games and a bowl game still left to go. The dude is sneaky-fast, can turn an edge, and can will himself to a touchdown. Ask San Jose State.

Bronco defensive player of the year

Darian Thompson. I could have said Vallejo, and maybe Deayon (if he hadn’t missed so many games) but Thompson was one of the best pass-defenders Boise State had and it showed during the games he was out. The MWC all-time leader in interceptions is going to get paid on the next level. I would venture to say at WORST a third round draftee. He was a leader for the Broncos coming into this season and had/has the ability to make plays. He will be missed next season.

Bronco newcomer of the year

Rypien. Well. Because. A ton has been asked of the true freshman and he has stepped up handsomely. Sure, he’s acted like a true freshman some games, but that is to be expected. Rypien has the most passing yards during the regular season for the MWC—by a little over 600 yards. Rypien, coupled with McNichols, will be a dangerous player going forward for the Broncos.

Bronco coach of the year

I’ll go with Andy Avalos. The linebacker corps has been strong this year. Weaver, Martarano, Vallejo, Gray. All those guys have been solid. You could probably plug any of those guys into any of the other rosters in the MWC those guys could not only start, but probably be the best. Those guys, combined with the front four, had a pretty strong rushing defense. Second in the MWC to San Diego State. Only allowing 117 yards a game.

Bronco play of the year

In order: JT’s Pick6 in Virginia; Rypien’s "fumble" pass touchdown; McNichols’ long TD runs (any of them).

Bronco game of the year

Virginia. On loop.

Bronco beat writer of the year

Michael Katz of the Times-News over in Twin. Good guy and like his hot takes. Nuggies should throw him a follow on Twitter @MichaelLKatz (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Russ

Discuss the different equipment modes of ICS (auto, manual, update, etc.).

Whoops, I just hit Ctrl-V without first copying your question, Drew! Now you know what sort of exciting things I'm waking up at 4:30 each morning to write at work! I might be slightly off my game...

Bronco offensive player of the year

Brett Rypien. I know I should be more generous to other players, since Rypien is a lock for newcomer-of-the-year, but I don't believe everyone needs to get a trophy. Rypien has given me reason to believe we can go undefeated again during his tenure. If he's given time to pass, he'll make defenses crazy with his accuracy and football smarts. (Sorry, Yakoo, I still love the crap outta ya!) From his first drive, I knew this kid was something special, and barring all his well-placed balls that were unfortunately tipped into defenders hands, his touchdown-to-interception ratio is pretty dang impressive! (Especially since I have no problem pretending each of those dropped passes were going to go for touchdowns.) But like Damien said, with McNichols on the field (with Rypien), I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Bronco defensive player of the year

Has to be Darian Thompson. He set the MWC career interception record and when he sat out with injury, his absence was felt in a very real way (mostly during Air Force passing touchdowns). I swear, if the MWC doesn't give this award to him...

(...and I don't swear very often. Ask my wife! She watched me pass a kidney stone!)

Bronco newcomer of the year

Your mom.

Bronco coach of the year

I know people are going to disagree with me on this one, but I have to say Eliah Drinkwitz. We've seen very different packages for different teams, which means he's doing his homework and changing things up to exploit other teams' weaknesses. I still contend that if the players didn't make freshman mistakes like forgetting how to catch, and we weren't missing SWR down the stretch, we're looking at a NY6 bowl right now. Drinkwitz shows creativity and plays to the strengths of his players, and for the most part, it's paid off. When you really evaluate how different this offense looks from the latter-end of Petersen's days and the latter-halves of Sanford's games, it feels more like a team playing to win rather than not lose. I'll Drink to 'Witz!

Bronco play of the year

Hard to choose, but I still think Rypien's fumblerooski was executed to perfection, and it led to 6 uncontested points, the defense was so fooled!

Bronco game of the year

The one where my favorite team blanked my alma-mater, and we were introduced to a young man who apparently has an MVP uncle.

Bronco beat writer of the year

I think Chadd Cripe is the best at digging deep and getting the good stories, plus, he writes really well. I was going to say the low-resolution kid from the online student paper, but he doesn't English so gud. As far as my favorite straight-up Bronco writer goes, nobody beats Drew Roberts! I laugh out loud every time I read his stuff! And since Victor Borge once said, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people," Drew steals the award from Cripe. Huzzah!

Casey

Bronco offensive player of the year

I'm going to go with Sperbeck. He's been nearly unstoppable this year. Teams know he'll be thrown to and he still make the plays. He's been a reliable target for Rypien, which has been great for him this year, but hoping he gets a solid supporting cast as I don't want him to become a crutch.

Bronco defensive player of the year

Gotta go with Darian Thompson. The last two games he was out were obviously in need of him. His leadership and ability were sorely missed. Not to mention setting the MW career interception record.

Bronco newcomer of the year

Rypien for sure. Horton gets a nod as he has played well in the secondary, but Rypien has played on another level from other true freshman. Very few kids can come in to a program and do as well as he has. Has he had some poor games? Sure. I don't think there is a Bronco fan that would say he has been underwhelming.

Bronco coach of the year

I'd have to go with Avalos here. Each of the other coaches have had glaring issues that have cropped up, but the linebackers have been pretty solid all year. The development of Martarano and Vander Esch has been amazing.

Bronco play of the year

I'd say JT's pick six. How he ended up with the ball was kinda crazy. Then, he travels at mach 1 into the endzone, setting the tone for the entire game.

Bronco game of the year

I'm going to go with SJSU. Coming off historic losses at home with seemingly nothing left to play for, the Broncos seemed poised for a third loss in a row after entering halftime down 10-9. They made adjustments at halftime and came out running on all cylinders. Cool to see them bounce back after some tough losses.

Bronco beat writer of the year

Cripe is an easy one as he's full of info, but I'm going with Jay Tust. Love his stats, for bad or good, and how much research he does to get them.

Drew

Bronco offensive player of the year

My process for picking the offensive player of the year was simple: pick the player that passes the "Kellen Moore" eyeball test in that they look like a ballboy in street clothes but turn into an unstoppable killbot on the field. This year, that player is Thomas Sperbeck—who made Colorado State's Rashard "Hollywood" Higgins look like "Burbank" Higgins at best and who did things like this several times:

Bronco defensive player of the year

I'm sensing a trend here among my OBNUG brethren and bucking trends just isn't my cup of Earl Grey. Darian Thompson is the Broncos defensive player of the year for the aforementioned reasons along with the fact that the Broncos struggled more mightily than normal when Thompson was unavailable. I'm not saying that we would've beaten Air Force with Thompson on the field, but we totally would've beaten Air Force with Thompson on the field...and TCU in 2011...and probably Vietnam.

Bronco newcomer of the year

The correct answer to this question is Brett Rypien. Gold stars all around! Rypien led the conference in passing by 600 yards despite playing in 2.5 less games than his contemporaries and at times looked nearly unstoppable. A few late-season games exposed a few freshman tendencies, but when Rypien is "on" he looks as good as any QB we've had come through here. See, I can say that because I avoided a direct Kellen Moore comparison. Loophole! Loophole!

Bronco coach of the year

I too like what I saw from Coach Drinkwitz in year one. The Broncos desperately need an OC to stick around for a few years and Drink dialed up some pretty potent plays at times. He got some criticism down the stretch (as did heaps of other people), but numbers don't lie...when the Broncos executed Drink's playcalls correctly, there was much rejoicing.

Bronco play of the year

I too am partial to the fake fumble play against Hawaii, that I believe is called "Houdini". I know this because of my encyclopedic knowledge of plays that Kellen Moore ran against Oregon in 2008 (and also my knowledge of Vaudeville-era escape artists). However, I am not choosing Houdini...I'm choosing the play I call "unnecessary late score against UVA". The 4th quarter had begun, Boise State was running UVA off the field...Rypien should've been sitting, icing his shoulder, and playing Bubble Witch on his iPhone...but NO, he was throwing a TD bomb to Thomas Sperbeck JUST BECAUSE. Later Eliah Drinkwitz confirmed that he let Rypien throw the late TD strike because Brett had seen something from the Virginia defense that was exploitable, so he allowed the youngster (in his first career start, no less) to exploit it. The kid's got moxie, I tells ya.

Bronco game of the year

I'm going with the season opener against Washington. It was an emotional game for the Broncos and no doubt an emotional homecoming for Chris Petersen and the Broncos handled it masterfully. UW, who ended up a pretty decent team mind you, only put up 179 TOTAL yards against the Broncos in a defensive effort that in hindsight, got our hopes up a little too high about our defenses ability to shut down offensive-type things.

Bronco beat writer of the year

Even though Russ made my question seem all pandery by mentioning yours truly, I assure you it was on the level. Furthermore, any goodwill that Russ gained by tossing my name in was utterly squandered by his "your mom" gibe—MY MOTHER IS A SAINT, SIR! My Bronco beat writer of the year has to be Dave Southorn (@IDS_Southorn) because a) he writes humorous things, b) is a comic book nerd, c) doesn't steal all the press box brownies (looking at you Paul J.), and d) doesn't "big-time" people like that showboat David Augusto used to—I just wanted an autograph, David! You didn't have to tase me!