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2019 College Football Midseason Awards

Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
Even though it feels like the 2019 college football season started just yesterday, we are now over seven weeks into the campaign, roughly the halfway point of the regular season. Of course, plenty is going to change between now and early January, when a National Champion is crowned. However, I still felt like it worthwhile to break down my picks for a few of the sport's premier awards (along with some unofficial ones). Here are the winners, along with a few finalists for each award.

National Champion: LSU Tigers
LSU's offensive revolution has been one of the highlights of the 2019 college football season. Long stuck in the stone age on offense, this particular group is shredding defenses to the tune of 52.5 points per game. The offense has a veteran quarterback who seems to be getting more confident every passing week, lethal speed on the perimeter, and a serviceable offensive line. Now, it is important to note the Tigers do still have to go on the road to Tuscaloosca in early November, where they haven't won since 2011. The good news there is that this Alabama defense is extremely beat up, and LSU has a strong enough resume to still gain entry into the Playoff with one loss.
Finalists: Ohio State Buckeyes, Alabama Crimson Tide, Clemson Tigers (projected Playoff field)

Coach of the Year: Matt Rhule, Baylor
Back in 2017, Matt Rhule coached a 1-11 Baylor team in the midst of one of the worst scandals in modern collegiate football. Just two years later, the Bears sit 6-0 and look like a serious threat to topple Oklahoma and win the Big 12. It has been a remarkable turnaround for the program, and Rhule's ability to build a culture and develop talent is the reason for it. The schedule is going to pick up, but this Bears team still looks like they are a double-digit win team. It wouldn't be surprising to see a few NFL teams come calling for Rhule after this season.
Finalists: Ed Orgeron (LSU), James Franklin (Penn State), Mack Brown (UNC), P.J. Fleck (Minnesota)

Biletnikoff Award: CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
This is going to be a hotly contested year for the Biletnikoff Award, with a host of receivers challenging for the honor. After a 171-yard, 3 touchdown performance in a rivalry win over Texas, CeeDee Lamb now appears to be the slight favorite. The veteran has formed quick chemistry with new quarterback Jalen Hurts, and has flashed unbelievable hands and game-changing speed. I expect his numbers to only get better, even as the Sooners face a stretch of sneaky tough defenses (West Virginia, Kansas State, Iowa State).
Finalists: DeVonta Smith (Alabama), Tylan Wallace (Oklahoma State), Omar Bayless (Arkansas State)

Doak Walker Award: Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
It was a tough decision between Hubbard and Jonathan Taylor for the honor of nation's best running back. I decided to go with Hubbard, who has done more with less help, as he doesn't have the luxury of running behind one of the country's best offensive lines. The Oklahoma State Cowboy leads college football with 1,094 yards, while coming up slightly behind Taylor in terms of total touchdowns. If he continues on his current pace, he'll finish second on OSU's single-season rushing list, behind only Barry Sanders and his 1988 campaign.
Finalists: Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin), J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State)

Davey O'Brien Award: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
After finishing second in Heisman voting a year ago, Tua Tagovailoa has picked right back up where he started. He is completing 74% of his passes for 2,011 yards and 27 touchdowns, along with just one interception. While he has been helped by one of the greatest receiver corps in college football history, Tua has still played at an impressive rate and shouldn't slow down anytime soon. He gets the slight nod over a lot of qualified candidates, such as former teammate Jalen Hurts and SEC West foe Joe Burrow.
Finalists: Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma), Joe Burrow (LSU), Justin Fields (Ohio State)

Chuck Bednarik/Bronco Nagurski Award: Chase Young, Ohio State
An absolute freak of nature who stands six feet, five inches tall and weighs in at 265 pounds, Chase Young has been the most dominant defender in college football so far this fall. Despite facing constant double teams, Young has totaled 8.5 sacks on the season, second nationally. He has also been a help in run support, tallying 21 tackles and forcing one fumble. A serious candidate to be the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Ohio State defender should load up on hardware before he declares.
Finalists: Evan Weaver (California), Oluwole Betiku (Illinois), Douglas Coleman III (Texas Tech)

Dick Butkus Award: Evan Weaver, California
The fuel behind Cal's surprising start to the year, Evan Weaver leads all defenders in FBS football with 83 tackles. He makes plays at a startling pace, with 22 tackles in a win over Ole Miss and 18 in an upset of Washington. The Golden Bears are going to need their superstar 'backer to keep it up, as they continue play without the help of starting QB Chase Garbers, who is out for a significant period of time.
Finalists: Jordyn Brooks (Texas Tech), Javahn Ferguson (New Mexico State), Curtis Weaver (Boise State)

Jim Thorpe Award: Grant Delpit, LSU
My preseason pick for the award given to the nation's best defensive back, I will stick with Grant Delpit as the eventual winner. While his numbers of 27 tackles, three pass deflections and one INT don't necessarily jump out at you, it is impossible to understate Delpit's importance to the Tiger defense. He is yet another award recipient who is sure to go highly in next spring's NFL Draft.
Finalists: Patrick Surtain (Alabama), Jeffrey Okudah (Ohio State), Douglas Coleman III (Texas Tech)

Breakout Player of the Year: Joe Burrow, LSU
Even the most optimistic LSU fan probably would never have imagined what Joe Burrow has done in 2019, already eclipsing 2,000 yards and notching 27 total touchdowns. It has been a complete transformation for the former Ohio State transfer, as he has played with complete confidence and poise, despite staring down a number of difficult opposing defenses. Seeing a transfer find a new home and succeed is one of the best parts of modern college football.
Finalists: Justin Fields (Ohio State), Oluwole Betiku (Illinois), Anthony Gordon (Washington State), Chuba Hubbard (Oklahoma State), Sage Surratt (Wake Forest)

Freshman of the Year: Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
Another LSU Tiger taking home hardware? With how impressive he has been over the first seven weeks of the year, it is hard to go anywhere else but Stingley here. The former five-star prospect has consistently taken on opponent's best receivers and shut them down. He already has three interceptions and nine pass deflections on the year, and seems to only be getting more comfortable with his role. He certainly appears to be the latest in a long line of star defensive backs in Baton Rouge.
Finalists: Dillon Gabriel (UCF), Kenneth Gainwell (Memphis), Sam Howell (UNC), Jayden Daniels (Arizona State)

Heisman: Joe Burrow, LSU
Nobody has really separated themselves from the pack in this year's Heisman race, but Joe Burrow's performance in a win Saturday over Florida helps him take the slight edge. Burrow not only has the stats to back it up, he has been the leader of 2019's most impressive team, a team with landmark victories over Texas and Florida. The LSU-Alabama meeting might not only decide the SEC race, it may also end up being the deciding factor in the Heisman competition between Burrow and fellow favorite, Tua Tagovailoa.
Finalists: Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma), Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Justin Fields (Ohio State), Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)

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