In & around the SEC: postseason awards edition

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

The 2012 college football regular season is complete and once again dominated by the Southeastern Conference. For the seventh consecutive season, an SEC team will compete for the BCS National Championship, as Alabama faces Notre Dame on Jan. 7. The Heisman trophy also returns to the SEC after Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the prestigious award.

The SEC produced six 10-win teams this year, including Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. The SEC produced nine first team All-Americans, more than any other conference.

After another stellar season, the SEC yet again has proven why it is the best conference in college football.

Here’s a look at The Messenger’s 2012 All-SEC awards:

Coach of the Year
Kevin Sumlin
Texas A&M

The Aggies entered their first season in the SEC fresh off of a disappointing 7-6 final season in the Big 12. In the preseason, Texas A&M was picked to finish fifth in the SEC West. However, head coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies took the league by storm. Texas A&M finished the season 10-2, including an upset win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel won the Heisman trophy, the first Aggie to win the award since John David Crow in 1957.

Other Coach of the Year candidates: Huge Freeze (Ole Miss), James Franklin (Vanderbilt), Will Muschamp (Florida), Nick Saban (Alabama).
Offensive MVP
Johnny Manziel
Texas A&M

While Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman trophy, he also broke Cam Newton’s record for total yards in a single season. Manziel’s electric style of play ignited the Texas A&M offense as he led the Aggies to 10 wins in their first season in the SEC. The scary news for the rest of the conference is that Manziel will be back for a few more seasons.
    Other Offensive Player of the Year candidates: Todd Gurley (Georgia), Eddie Lacy (Alabama), Mike Gillislee (Florida).

Defensive MVP
Jadeveon Clowney,
South Carolina.

Clowney led the SEC and was second in the nation with 13 sacks on the year. Clowney was a nightmare for opposing offenses, and he helped lead the Gamecocks to a 10-2 record this season. The so-phomore also totaled 48 tackles and a forced fumble throughout the year.

Other Defensive Player of Year candidates: Jarvis Jones (Georgia), C.J. Mosley (Alabama), Jonathan Banks (Mississippi State).

All-SEC Offense

Quarterback: Johnny Manziel (Fr.), Texas A&M
Running Back: Todd Gurley (Fr.), Georgia; Eddie Lacy (Jr.), Alabama
Wide Receiver: Cobi Hamilton (Sr.), Arkansas; Jordan Matthews (Jr.), Vanderbilt; Justin Hunter (Jr.), Tennessee
Tight End: Jordan Reed (Jr.), Florida
Line: Luke Joeckel (Jr.), Texas A&M; Chance Warmack (Sr.), Alabama; Barrett Jones (Sr.), Alabama; Jake Matthews (Jr.), Texas A&M; Gabe Jackson (Jr.), Mississippi State
All Purpose: Cordarrelle Patterson (Jr.), Tennessee; Ace Sanders (Jr.), South Carolina
Kicker: Caleb Sturgis (Sr.), Florida
Coordinator: Kliff Kingsbury, Texas A&M

All-SEC Defense

Line: Jadeveon Clowney (So.), South Carolina; Sam Montgomery (Jr.), LSU; Damontre Moore (Jr.), Texas A&M; Sharrif Floyd (Jr.), Florida; Sheldon Ri-chardson (Jr.), Missouri
Linebacker: Jarvis Jones (Jr.), Georgia; C.J. Mosley (Jr.), Alabama; Kevin Minter (Jr.), LSU; Alec Ogletree (Jr.), Georgia
Cornerback: Johnthan Banks (Sr.), Mississippi State; Dee Milliner (Jr.), Alabama
Safety: Matt Elam (Jr.), Florida; Eric Reid (Jr.), LSU
Punter: Kyle Christy (So.), Florida
Coordinator: Kirby Smart, Alabama

Honorable Mention

Quarterback: Aaron Murray (Jr.), Georgia; A.J. McCarron (Jr.), Alabama
Running Back: Mike Gillislee (Sr.), Florida; Zac Stacy (Sr.), Vanderbilt
Wide Receiver: Chad Bumphis (Sr.), Mississippi State; Ryan Swope (Sr.), Texas A&M; Donte Moncrief (So.), Ole Miss
Tight End: Mychal Rivera (Sr.), Tennessee
Line: D.J. Fluker (Jr.), Alabama; Larry Warford (Sr.), Kentucky

Honorable Mention

Line: John Jenkins (Sr.), Georgia; Jesse Williams (Sr.), Alabama; Corey Lemonier (Jr.), Auburn; Bar-kevious Mengo (Jr.), LSU
Linebacker: Jon Bostic (Sr.), Florida; Cameron Lawrence (Sr.), Mississippi State; Denzel Nkemdiche (Fr.), Ole Miss
Cornerback: Darius Slay (Sr.), Mississippi State; Marcus Roberson (So.); Florida; Andrew Hal (Jr.); Vanderbilt
Safety: Bacarri Rambo (Sr.), Georgia; D.J. Swearinger (Sr.), South Carolina; Robert Lester (Sr.), Alabama

Bowl Predictions

December 15
New Mexico Bowl: Nevada vs. Arizona (-10).
Nevada is playing its 10th bowl game under head coach Chris Ault, and the Wolf Pack are 2-7 all time in bowl games. In his first season as Arizona’s head coach, Rich Rodriguez led the Wildcats to a 7-5 record. Coming off of a 4-8 season, the Wildcats vastly improved in Rodriguez’s first year. ARIZONA 41, Nevada 34

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo vs. Utah State (-10.5). Utah State won 10 games for the first time in school history this year. Head coach Gary Andersen also led the Aggies to their first Western Athletic Conference championship in school history. In his first year at Toledo, Matt Campbell led the Rockets to a 9-3 record, including a 29-23 upset over Cincinnati. UTAH STATE 34, Toledo 31

December 20

Poinsettia Bowl: BYU vs. San Diego State (+3) – BYU finished 7-5 on the season under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, including narrow losses to Boise State and Notre Dame and victories over Utah State and Georgia Tech. San Diego State finished 9-3 in head coach Rocky Long’s second season, and the Aztecs are winners of seven consecutive games. The Aztecs also have the home field advantage, as the game will be played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. SAN DIEGO STATE 24, BYU 20

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