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Projecting 2016-2017 College Football Awards

Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
It has been a fun couple of months of college football, but all good things must come to an end. We have reached Championship Week, the only significant week before bowls and the Playoff. With that in mind he look ahead to some of the major award races that will wrap up here soon, and who really deserve the hardware.

Heisman: Lamar Jackson, Louisville, QB (Projected Winner)
Finalists: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (2nd); D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas (3rd); Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (4th)
While this season has had plenty of chaos, one thing that has nearly stood the test of time is the Heisman race. Lamar Jackson has had the trophy in bag since September, and despite recent struggles, appears like he will lock it down. Jackson's numbers are insane (30 passing touchdowns, 21 rushing), and he is clearly a game-changer. However, he has looked pedestrian in Louisville's recent showings, and the last memory voters will have of him before they cast their votes is a late turnover that cost them against rival Kentucky. That could open the door for another name to sneak in, but nobody pops out. Baker Mayfield and D'Onta Foreman have put up huge numbers but against Big 12 defenses, and Deshaun Watson has been extremely turnover-prone. Yet, Watson may have the best chance to usurp Lamar, as he beat Jackson in their showing and has Clemson still rolling.

Coach of the Year: Mike MacIntrye, Colorado (Project Winner)
Finalists: Nick Saban, Alabama (2nd); James Franklin, Penn State (3rd); 
Entering the season, Colorado appeared to be very much a doormat in the Pac-12. The school hadn't been to a bowl since 2007 and while they had shown progress in Year 3 of MacIntrye, they still looked a long way. Just months later, the Buffaloes are playing for a Pac-12 Championship and not completely out of the Playoff picture. MacIntrye has done a great job developing his talent, and has helped his players buy into his vision. Nick Saban is an obvious candidate as well, as the Tide have rolled to a 12-0 mark, while James Franklin's Nittany Lions have been a major surprise en route to a Big Ten East title.

Maxwell Award (Player of the Year): Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Finalists: Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan (2nd); Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (3rd);
The race for the Player of the Year could be interesting. Jackson will continue to back up his numbers, and strong showings against Florida State and Clemson, big wins Mayfield doesn't have. Jabrill Peppers has been the most instrumental player on a great Michigan team that could very well be 12-0 if things had gone just a little different (although it is easy to say that about a lot of teams). All three of these finalists have been announced and while Peppers can do it all, Jackson should handle this award as well.

Fred Biletnikoff Award (Outstanding Wide Receiver): Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma
Finalists: Austin Carr, WR, Northwestern (2nd); Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina (3rd);
Mayfield's main option to help get that big yardage? Dede Westbrook, who has been absolutely unstoppable in the season's second half. Westbrook has 1,354 yards on the year and huge days against Texas (232 yards) and Texas Tech (202 yards) will help him cement the award. Carr has been great as well at Northwestern, and Jones is one of the best receivers in college football history, statistic-wise.

Doak Walker Award (Premier Running back): D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
Finalists: Dalvin Cook, RB,Florida State (2nd); Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State (3rd);
In the midst of the Charlie Strong chaos, Foreman has emerged as a monster, running angry on every play. Despite the fact Texas' offense is one-dimensional still and teams often stack the box, Foreman ran for over 2,000 yards and kept the Longhorns alive in most games. His numbers are enough to lock down the gig over two other legit candidates in Pumphrey and Cook.

Chuck Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year): Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
Finalists: Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan (2nd); Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M (3rd);
After flirting with the NFL Draft last year, Jonathan Allen opted to stay one more year in Tuscaloosca, and it has paid off in a big way. The senior has been a dominant force, with seven sacks in 11 games, and beastly showings against USC and others. Peppers has been fantastic overall, but isn't quite the game-changer on defense. Garrett has also been terrific, but Texas A&M's struggles hurt him, even if he still continues dominating.

Other Projected Winners:
Lou Groza Award (Best Kicker): Daniel Carlson, K, Auburn
Ray Guy Award (Punter of the Year): Cameron Johnston, P, Ohio State
Outland Trophy (Best Interior Linemen): Pat Elflein, G, Ohio State
Jim Thorpe Award (Best defensive back): Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan
John Mackey Award (Outstanding Tight End): Jake Butt, TE, Michigan

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