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The college football regular season has come to an end, and that means it is time to hand out a number of superlatives for some of the best and worst of 2017.
Best Player: Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson is insane. He was insane last year, and he is insane this year. Nobody seems to care because Louisville was never a playoff contender this year, and Jackson’s extraordinary ability has fallen out of the limelight. It's a shame, because Jackson is still incredible.
As a sophomore, he accounted for over 5000 yards of offense and 51 touchdowns on his way to the Heisman. He will crack 5000 yards again this season and still finish with a gaudy 40+ touchdowns. And, of course, this is all being done by a poor offensive line and with little star power surrounding him. Bryce Love, Baker Mayfield (and other guys who don’t play Heisman eligible positions) definitely deserve consideration, but Jackson is still the best player in the game.
Runner Ups: Baker Mayfield, Bryce Love
Best Game: UCF 49-USF 42
This game was off the rails. It was a back-and-forth affair that featured one of the best quarterbacks in the game and one of the most surprising teams of the season. The Bulls tied the game on an 83-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion with less than two minutes to play. UCF then answered by returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to win the game, 49-42. It was a wild game with an electric atmosphere and New Years Six implications. It also reminded us of something the playoff era has caused most of us to forget: there is still good football in the group of five. This was the most meaningful and exciting Florida rivalry game of the season, and it delivered.
Runner ups: Miami 24-Florida State 20, Penn State 21-Iowa 19
Biggest Surprise: Central Florida
There are two teams that finished the regular season undefeated. Central Florida is one of them. The Knights ran the table and hammered nearly every opponent one year after a 6-7 campaign in 2016. Anybody who said UCF would be the second best team in Florida this year would have been checked into a psych ward, yet here we are.
Runner ups: Iowa State, Florida Atlantic
Biggest Disappointment: Florida State
Runner ups: Indiana, Tennessee
Biggest Dumpster Fire: Tennessee
Rocky Top has hit rocky bottom. (I am the first person to make this joke.) Tennessee did not win a conference game all season. Its coach said a whole lot of dumb crap that only embarrassed the program further. The team had a trash can on their sideline, and apparently nobody could identify the irony of doing that in time to stop it from happening. Eventually, Butch Jones was ousted, and Tennessee attempted to replace him with Greg Schiano, only realizing this was a bad idea after every Vol fan under the sun had an aneurysm, and rightfully so. My god, guys.
Runner ups: Kansas, College Football Playoff Committee
Dumbest Game: NC State 17-Boston College 14
Your eyes would have been better served by you going outside and staring directly at the sun for a three-hour period than by watching this debacle. NC State was determined to lose this game, but fortunately for the Pack, Boston College was even more determined. NC State missed three field goals and may have actively tried to throw the game with the worst trick play in sports history, which was called WITH THE LEAD in the second half.
The turnover that resulted from the play gifted the lead to Boston College. Boston College, with its truck of a running back, faced a fourth and one inside the State 20 in the first half. A halfback pass was the playcall because who even knows. BC then botched the snap on a game-tying field goal in the final minutes to lose by three. Playcalling was atrocious. The actual playing was atrocious. It was all just very bad.
Runner ups: Arizona State 13-Washington 7, Maryland 51-Texas 41