School football’s big end-of-season awards have three or even more finalists apiece, and several of those names were announced Monday. See if you can spot what’s missing:
(It’s Lamar Jackson. Lamar Jackson is missing.)
The Louisville quarterback is not a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award, directed at the country’s most outstanding quarterback. He’s likewise not a finalist for the Maxwell Award, a more generic “participant of the year” honor. Jackson received the Maxwell last year, when he likewise received the Heisman Trophy, the sport’s biggest individual honor.
I just voted for Jackson simply because an O’Brien finalist, along with Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. I omitted Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, who’s had a slightly* more prolific passing season than Jackson but isn’t practically the running danger Jackson is. I’ll vote for Mayfield to get both of these awards if his season stays on course.
*Barrett’s got a 166 rating to Jackson’s 149, but that are the result of some more touchdown passes. Jackson gets additional yards per pass, and the operating difference between the two of these (605 back yards, 5.3 per carry for Barrett, compared to 1,287, 6.8 per carry for Jackson) is massive.
Jackson not being among the top three QBs in the country this year is a difficult sell. He’s nonetheless the most dangerous participant in college football.
There is a strong case that Jackson’s been better this year than he was in 2016. (He just missed from the O’Brien, which visited Clemson’s Deshaun Watson.)
Jackson’s reviewed 3,000 passing back yards and 1,000 rushing yards for the second year in a good row, making him simply the first player in NCAA history to do that, and in some methods he’s been sharper. No one can break a game open that can compare with he can.
Jackson still may be a good finalist for the Heisman this year. Mayfield offers emerged as the apparent frontrunner to win, but if voting’s close plenty of, lots of guys could get to NY. Jackson’s in that blend along with Stanford operating back Bryce Love, Penn Status running back Saquon Barkley, Barrett, and Rudolph, among a few others
Jackson’s problem, more than anything, is that Louisville isn’t good.
The Cardinals are 7-4, plus they don’t have any wins of consequence. But that’s not really on the QB. Bill Connelly wrote last week, before Jackson destroyed Syracuse in a blowout get:
Virtually not one of Louisville’s problems is Jackson’s fault. After sacrificing defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to Mississippi Status and changing him with Peter Sirmon, the protection has fallen from 19th to 98th in Def. S&P+; the Cardinals are permitting 1.1 more yards per play in 2017, plus they possess allowed at least 39 points in all four losses. The criminal offense? It has increased from 10th to eighth in Off. S&P+ despite Jackson sacrificing his top rated three receivers and three beginning linemen and lining up subsequent to a QB-turned-WR-turned-RB (Reggie Bonnafon) in the backfield.
An accounting of Jackson’s numbers then, which is now one game outdated (but with trends that are just about the same):
Comparing Lamar Jackson’s 2016 to 2017 Stat 2016 Lamar 2017 Lamar (projected from 10 to 13 games) Stat 2016 Lamar 2017 Lamar (projected from 10 to 13 games) Completions 230-intended for-409 (56%) 276-intended for-458 (60%) Passing back yards 3,543 3,903 Passing TDs 30 27 INTs 9 8 Sacks 46 29 YPA (including sacks) 7.1 7.7 Bears 214 203 Rushing yards 1,896 1,671 YPC 8.9 8.2 Rushing TDs 21 18 Fumbles 8 5
Jackson still includes a flair for the dramatic but still makes absurd highlights. In this article, have this video of a few of his best work just from the month of September:
These aren’t said to be team awards.
But if Jackson weren’t on a four-loss team, he’d be on these finalists lists.