The Oklahoma Sooners claimed their fifth consecutive Big 12 crown on Saturday defeating the Baylor Bears for the second time in thrilling fashion.
Pair that with losses by Utah and Georgia, and Oklahoma was the no-brainer selection to join LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson in the College Football Playoff.
I have no clue how things have managed to once again fall into place for OU, but it did once again. A nearly identical script to the past years: Lose a tough game, get hot down the stretch, win out, get some help, and make it in once again.
We have a few weeks to dive into the LSU-Oklahoma matchup in the Peach Bowl, and trust me we all will and have already started to, so today let’s take a look at what awards the Oklahoma Sooners could be bringing home this year, and the likelihood of their names being called at tonight’s awards show.
Ok, let’s get the big one out of the way first. Obviously this one won’t be announced at the awards show this evening, but rather Saturday night, but you have to least mention that Oklahoma once again has a finalist for the Heisman trophy in quarterback Jalen Hurts.
This is the first time ever that the same school has managed to produce five Heisman finalists in four years with Dede Westbrook (2016), Baker Mayfield (2016, 2017), Kyler Murray (2018), and now Jalen Hurts heading to New York. Insane.
It is truly incredible that for the fourth straight season the Sooners’ quarterback is a finalist for the one of the most prestigious awards in sports, and with three different players at that. The common denominator among them? Lincoln Riley, who has proven himself time and time again to be one of the very best coaches in the country. It definitely shouldn’t be too difficult for Riley to convince any quarterback in the country to consider heading to Norman, just ask the two 5-Star’s that he has landed in the past couple of years.
As far as Hurts’ actual chances to win it….they are not good at all, frankly. I think even the biggest Oklahoma homer would tell you that.
The year that LSU’s Joe Burrow has had has been beyond insane, and he is going to cruise to bringing home the trophy, maybe by one of the largest margins in recent history – and that is what should happen, the kid has had an incredible season with basically zero down games.
It still has been an incredible year for Hurts, though. As evidence by being a finalist in the first place along with being a finalist for a few other awards, including…
Davey O’Brien Award (Best Quarterback)
Hurts is also a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award which is given to the nation’s best quarterback. He’ll be competing against Ohio State’s Justin Fields and LSU’s Joe Burrow.
Again, fantastic year by Hurts, but there is no way Burrow doesn’t bring this thing home. The season he has had is just too good to ignore.
It will be interesting, however, to see who places second between Fields and Hurts. I tend to think Fields will probably edge him out but it will probably be very close.
Something Hurts has on his side is a good ole-fashioned narrative. Everybody loves Jalen’s story, and he has been a media darling basically since the off-season.
The voters who don’t see as many games are going to lean Hurts because he’s simply a bigger national name than Fields is, and he has that narrative working for him that will certainly help.
Biletnikoff Award (Best Reciever)
In 2016, Oklahoma picked up their first ever Biletnikoff Award when Dede Westbrook took it home in his monster season.
In 2019, Oklahoma will be picking up their second. CeeDee Lamb is absolutely phenomenal in every way, and this year has finally been his chance to burst onto the national spotlight.
This has been his best season, but he has been very special for multiple years now, he just did not get much of the attention around the country because of sharing the field with some other pretty good players by the names of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Marquise Brown – ever heard of them?
This year he has been arguably Oklahoma’s best individual player, making electrifying plays nearly all season long. He even was receiving some Heisman buzz of his own for awhile before an injury forced him to miss the first Baylor game and killed some of that momentum.
Nevertheless, the season he has had as been sensational. And with all due respect to LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and USC’s Michael Pittman Jr, this should be a slam dunk for Lamb.
Maxwell Award (Player of the Year)
The last award Oklahoma could take home tonight is the Maxwell Award which is given to the “Player of the Year.”
The finalists are LSU’s Joe Burrow, Ohio State’s Chase Young, and one Jalen Hurts.
This is one of those funny things about how awards work that I actually think Hurts might have a chance to win this one even though it does not make much logical sense.
If Burrow is going to win the Heisman over Hurts and the O’Brien over Hurts, why wouldn’t he win the Maxwell as well? Because that is often now how these awards work silly rabbit.
We see so often the Maxwell not go to the guy who everyone knows is going to win the Heisman Trophy. Just look at last season as an example of that, when Tua Tagovailoa took home the award over the guy who beat him out for the Heisman in Kyler Murray.
Also, this one is “Player of the Year,” which has a bit of different connotation to it. Between Hurts’ running statistics and the great narrative on his side I referenced earlier, he very well could have the edge over Burrow when it comes to this one.
Chase Young would have had a great chance to win this award had he not gone very quiet the past couple weeks in Ohio State’s two biggest and most recent games. That takes him out of the running in my eyes.
Bottom line, don’t be surprised if Jalen Hurts brings this one home.
The Home Depot College Football Awards are tonight at 6:00 on ESPN, and the 2019 Heisman Trophy Presentation will be on Saturday starting at 7:00, also on ESPN.