Once again Alabama football was the big winner at the Home Depot National Player of the Year awards Thursday night.
The ESPN broadcast of the Home Depot awards has been a victory lap for Alabama football in the Saban era. More so than any other college football program, the Alabama Crimson Tide is afforded what is equivalent to a two-hour TV commercial.
The only real blip on Thursday night was the inexplicable choice of Brian Kelly as Coach of the Year. Kelly has now won the award three times, despite not winning a national title at Notre Dame – or a conference title either since the Irish are annually allowed to bypass that gauntlet.
Two coaches deserved the award more than Brian Kelly. Nick Saban is, of course, the first and such obviously so, no elaboration is needed. But if Nick must be bypassed again because of Alabama football fatigue, UAB’s Bill Clark should have won.
The Coach of the Year award is named after Gene Stallings. It is said to include consideration for humanitarian contributions. There is some debate Kelly qualifies as a humanitarian, which we will leave to others. What he has done (or his team has done) on the field is also dubious. Undefeated yes, but destined to be man-handled by Clemson.
The COTY voting seemed to not faze Nick Saban, who sat, with a beaming smile, next to Tua Tagovailoa during the event. Nick has always preferred winning on the field.
Speaking of Tua, he won the Walter Camp and Maxwell awards for the Player of the Year in CFB. Tua did not win the Davey O’Brien as the nation’s top quarterback. That award went to Kyler Murray. We don’t mean to quibble but when the overall Player of the Year wins the Maxwell and the Camp – and he is a QB – how does he not win the O’Brien? It has happened before, though.
Jerry Jeudy won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wide receiver. Quinnen Williams won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman. Jeudy and Q certainly deserved the honors. Unfortunately., Quinnen winning the Outland meant Jonah Williams did not. Apparently, Jonah finished second in the votes. Quinnen became the fourth Outland winner in the Tide-Saban era.
Quinnen was also a finalist for the Bednarik award which was won by Josh Allen of Kentucky.
The event is staged in a gltizy fashion, complete with a red carpet. It is well produced by ESPN. The players deserve such a high-profile event. Amidst the hoopla was the sign below. Nice dig at UCF.
Does Tua winning the Maxwell indicate he will win the Heisman? The last five Maxwell winners did.