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College Football Midseason Awards 2017

It may be hard to comprehend but we are deep into October now, which means the college
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
football season has reached its halfway point. There are still plenty of great moments sure to happen over the coming months and plenty of further developments. But, as we sit right now here is my predictions for some of the sport's biggest awards:

National Champion: Alabama Crimson Tide
We have seen a healthy dose of upsets over the first seven weeks of this season, but that has not changed my National Champion pick. In a world where No. 2 can lose to unranked Syracuse, Oklahoma can beat Ohio State then loss to Iowa State, and the Pac-12 divulges into complete chaos, Alabama has stayed constant. The Tide have dominated opponent after opponent en route to a flawless start and still own one of the biggest wins of the year, over Florida State when they were at full strength. Only helping Alabama's chances at winning the National Title is the fact that their route there is not super tough. LSU and Auburn are enough to challenge them, but neither look ready to overtake 'Bama at least at this point. Georgia out of the East looks to be quite the battle, but if Alabama is able to enter the SEC Championship Game undefeated, they could realistically lose it and still get into the four-team field.
Finalists: TCU, Ohio State, Clemson (projected field)

Coach of the Year: Gary Patterson, TCU
After winning 23 games in two seasons behind the play of Trevone Boykin, TCU slipped off last year, falling to 6-7. They were clearly more talented than their record may have indicated, but the prognosis for 2017 wasn't much better, considering the talent at the top of the Big 12. However, the Horned Frogs are now the conference favorite seven weeks into the season, and Patterson looks to have his first ever Playoff team. Much of the success this season can be attributed to the improvement of former Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill at quarterback but also Patterson's job defensively. A unit that was wildly inconsistent a year ago has looked much more disciplined and well-rounded, which gives TCU a significant advantage in the pass-happy Big 12.
Finalists: Dabo Swinney (Clemson), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State)

Biletnikoff Award: James Washington Jr., Oklahoma State
It isn't a banner year for receivers across the country, as few names jump out at you at the receiver position. That should make James Washington's route to a Biletnikoff (given to the nation's best receiver) even easier. Washington opted to stay his senior season in Stillwater after flirting with the idea of the NFL and it has paid off, as the veteran has 34 receptions for 882 yards and six touchdowns, while Oklahoma State is still in the Big 12 title hunt. With his big-play ability and fabulous hands, Washington should be able to lock down this award over the season's second half.
Finalists: David Sills V (West Virginia), Michael Gallup (Colorado State), Darren Carrington II (Utah), Anthony Miller (Memphis)

Doak Walker Award: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
No player in college football has been even close to Saquon Barkley in terms of dominance in 2017. The powerful Penn State rusher has 649 yards and six touchdowns but that doesn't take in to account his ability to create as a receiver (29 catches, 395 yards). Barkley is almost surely to get pushed for this award by a wonderful group of running backs, including Stanford's Bryce Love, San Diego State's Rashaad Penny and Colorado's Phillip Lindsay, but if he keeps up his pace, this won't be the only hardware he is adding to his collection.
Finalists: Bryce Love (Stanford), Rashaad Penny (San Diego State), Kerryon Johnson (Auburn), Josh Adams (Notre Dame), Phillip Lindsay (Colorado)

Davey O'Brien Award: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Baker Mayfield made quite the Heisman statement with his victory over Ohio State early on in the year, and while a loss to Iowa State hurt his chances, he still has played like the nation's best quarterback. The senior is absolutely fearless and supremely confident, and he backs it up, as he has 1,937 yards and 17 touchdowns through the air on the season. In order to get back into the Heisman forefront, Mayfield will need a huge second half and likely need Oklahoma to run the table. Even if that doesn't happen, Mayfield should be able to lock this one down.
Finalists: Luke Falk (Washington State), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Nic Shimonek (Texas Tech)

Breakout Player of the Year: Bryce Love, Stanford
There were plenty of people across the country that believed Bryce Love would have a big season replacing the departed Christian McCaffrey, but the junior's play so far this season has been even more transcendent than expected. Love leads all FBS running backs with 1,387 yards, along with 11 touchdowns, and he showed just how good he can be by running for over 300 yards against Oregon State. If not for Love, it is worrying to imagine where Stanford, who sits at 5-2 and 4-1 in the Pac-12, would be. 
Finalists: Shea Patterson (Ole Miss), Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin), Justin Reid (Stanford), Will Grier (West Virginia), Austin Bryant (Clemson)

Chuck Bednarik/Bronco Nagurski Award: Bradley Chubb, NC State
Bradley Chubb was another player who seriously considered going pro following an impressive junior campaign, but he decided to stay for one final year in Raleigh. Much like Washington, it has worked out extremely well for the explosive defensive end. Chubb has asserted himself as the most dominant defensive player in the land, as he has 37 tackles and seven sacks. That production and NC State's quick improvement with Chubb at the helm has to convince NFL scouts he is worthy of a first-round selection, and voters he deserves the award given to the Defensive Player of the Year.
Finalists: Josey Jewell (Iowa), Jalen Davis (Utah State), Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama), Austin Bryant (Clemson), Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Oklahoma)

Heisman: Saquon Barkley, Penn State
As I mentioned previously, Barkley has been an absolute stud all season long for Penn State, who just happens to be in the lead in the Big Ten and ranked second nationally. Barkley's ability to run people over, jump over them or break things open in the middle of the field is truly special, and there is no doubt he'll be a high pick in the NFL Draft next spring. But, in order to truly lock down the Heisman, Barkley still has work to do. He faces a stretch that includes Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State. The trio presents a stiff defensive challenge but big-time performances by Barkley in primetime might be enough to cement himself as the newest member of the Heisman club.
Finalists: Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Bryce Love (Stanford), Rashaad Penny (San Diego State), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Bradley Chubb (NC State)

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