At the end of every sporting year, we get to look back at the performances and see what kind of progress has been made and get a “30,000 feet view” of what actually took place throughout the season. There are some individuals that always, invariably, stick out in our minds and make us appreciate just how difficult it is to be “good” at a certain level. Others just make us proud to have them on our team.
The 2016 football season has been a bit of a rollercoaster for our emotions. When the Broncos were up, they were up big. When they were down, it sometimes felt like they were cratering (thankfully those down moments were few and far between). But this football season saw some athletes etch their names in Bronco-lore forever, and we should appreciate their efforts as such.
Yesterday, the Mountain West Conference released the All-Conference selections. Some were good. Some were questionable. Others were frustrating. In a Boise State-centric view, some selections were just egregious oversights. Which were which? Let us take a look.
The Boise State first-team selections:
- Brett Rypien
- Thomas Sperbeck
- Travis Averill
- Mario Yakoo
- Sam McCaskill
- David Moa
Boise State second-team selections:
- Jeremy McNichols
- Ben Weaver
- Chanceller James
- Jonathan Moxey
- Sean Wale
- Steven Baggett
- Mason Hampton
- Tanner Vallejo
- Cedrick Wilson
In short: any of Boise State’s selections. From first-team to honorable mention, any time a Bronco has his name on this list, he did a good. Why they weren’t all Boise State selections is kind of dubious but, whatever, I suppose some other athletes on other teams did some good things as well.
But, to be more specific:
Brett Rypien’s back-to-back selection as first-team QB. Mr. Rypien has had a solid year. He led the league in passing yards (3,341 total yards) and had 23 TDs and 6 INTs. He improved his TD to INT ratio from last year and led the highest scoring offense in the conference. This seemed like an interesting selection given Josh Allen’s, of Wyoming, ascendence in the conference. Allen did get a second-team selection.
Thomas Sperbeck and his ability to just be pure awesome. He quietly amassed over a thousand yards receiving (1,193), was the tops in the Mountain West, and proceeded to become the most prolific receiver in Boise State history. These awards are not meant to be “career” awards (though other selections that were made call into question that rule) but Mr. Sperbeck just seemed “destined” to get this nod.
Travis Averill and Mario Yakoo were anchors on a line that helped generate the highest scoring offense in the conference. These two were leaders on the team and will be sorely missed going forward. Though we do not hear their names, relatively speaking, as often as the others their jobs are vital and allow for the Broncos to have their overall success.
Sam McCaskill and David Moa were stalwarts on a defense that did not have super-high expectations coming in. After losing seven defensive lineman from the year before, the prevailing thought was the Broncos were going to just have to put up points at will. Having the defense show up as well as they did was a great surprise and a comforting feeling.
Jeremy McNichols second-team selection. First off: WHAT?! Is this all some kind of sadistic joke by the coaches and media of the Mountain West? You are meaning to tell me that a guy who has 2,185 all-purpose yards and leads the COUNTRY in total touchdowns (27) cannot get on the Mountain West Conference first-team? I cannot say it any better than the Boise State press release, so I am just going to let them do it for me:
McNichols, a Doak Walker Award semifinalist and four-time Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week in 2016, was voted to the second team after a regular season in which he leads the country in touchdowns (27), is second in rushing touchdowns (23), leads the Mountain West in all-purpose yardage (2,185), leads all Mountain West backs in receptions and receiving yards (32, 450) and ranks third in the conference with 1,663 rushing yards, including three 200-yard performances and sharing the conference lead with nine 100-yard games.
As Fearless Leader puts it:
This release wins first-team All-MWC passive-aggressive award. Awesome! https://t.co/yRu6KVctJV— Drew Roberts (@mybrainissmart) November 29, 2016
The three nominees for Offensive Player of the Year were the three best running backs. While it was not necessarily the most baffling error that Jeremy McNichols did not get it, there were plenty of arguments to be made that he should have. But to not get first-team? That is an error and one I wish could be rectified.
Cedrick Wilson only getting an honorable mention. This one could even be a worse snub than McNichols’. Sperbeck and Michael Gallup (Colorado State) were both one and two in the MWC for receiving yards. So, in turn, they were both rewarded for their efforts and made the first-team. Perfect, great. The receiver who was third overall in receiving yards? Tanner Gentry of Wyoming. So he got on the second-team, as one does. I’m with that, it makes sense. So that would invariably mean that the guy, who WAS fourth on the list, had over 1,000 yards receiving, would be second-team as well, yeah? Logically speaking based on what we got from the previous selections, right?
WELL YOU WOULD BE ONE OF THE MOST INCORRECT PEOPLE ON THE PLANET IF YOU TRIED TO APPLIED THAT LOGIC IN THIS CASE.
You literally have to skip over three other receivers (one of whom was Marcus Kemp of Hawaii who also had over 1,000 yards receiving) just to get to Jalen Robinette of Air Force.
I mean seriously:
- Cedrick Wilson: 50 receptions, 1,041 yards, 10 TDs
- Jalen Robinette: 33 receptions, 835 yards, 5 TDs
The only, the only, stat that Robinette has the advantage over Wilson is average yards per catch: 25.3 to 20.8. But in a triple option offense, a receiver's yards per catch are expected to be very high, because defenses sell out to stop the run and receivers often get a couple wide open shots a game. Wilson still leads in every other measure as it pertains to a receiver.
Mr. Wilson got robbed on this selection, and it is not even close.
One final thought:
None of the ranting and raving is about how poor quality any of the non-Bronco athletes are. Of course these guys are good. And of course they had themselves solid performances. They would not have been in any of these discussions if they did not prove themselves in some capacity. Specifically Mr. Robinette. No one, at least here, is claiming that he is unworthy of praise. Of course he is. But if we are measuring success for a receiver, on a consistent basis, the numbers just are not there.
To look at the accomplishments Mr. McNichols and Mr Wilson had this year, and think that there were some performances that were demonstrably better, is ludicrous.
Well? What did I get wrong? What did the Mountain West voters get wrong? Have any other parting thoughts?