Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year: My vote went to Penn State’s Bill O’Brien
The Oklahoman‘s four Heisman Trophy ballots were published in Tuesday’s newspaper; you can check those out here.
There were nine semifinalists for the Eddie Robinson award, and voters were tasked with ranking them 1-9.
The winner will be revealed on Thursday, Dec. 13, and the official presentation reception will be on Jan. 6, 2013, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Here was my submission, with an explanation for each coach:
1. Bill O’Brien, Penn State: Put simply, Bill O’Brien took on an impossible job, replaced a legendary coach, lost many of his best players and got off to a rocky start before orchestrating a remarkable turnaround. O’Brien did an incredible job leading Penn State to an unlikely 8-4 record after early-season losses to Ohio and Virginia. The Nittany Lions ended their season with a 24-21, overtime win over eventual Big 10 champion Wisconsin. No coach in America faced more difficult circumstances, and O’Brien deserves lots of credit for what his team accomplished.
2. David Shaw, Stanford: Who would’ve expected Stanford to win the Pac-12 this season, especially after losing quarterback Andrew Luck, the NFL’s top overall draft pick? Shaw led the Cardinal to an early-season upset of USC, then fell inches short of playing a second overtime in a loss at current No. 1 Notre Dame. Stanford also finally managed to beat Oregon, the only Pac-12 team the Cardinal hadn’t defeated over the past two seasons, which was in line for a BCS title-game berth at the time of its loss. The Cardinal will play in the Rose Bowl, their third straight BCS bowl game, and its largely because of Shaw’s leadership.
3. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: In most seasons, Kelly would be the obvious choice here for coach of the year. Notre Dame is undefeated, has posted several quality wins — including a convincing 30-13 victory at Oklahoma — and is No. 1 in the land for the first time since 1993. The Irish will play for the national title against defending champion Alabama next month.
4. Urban Meyer, Ohio State: Meyer’s Buckeyes finished the season undefeated; in most years, that would probably mean a trip to the BCS championship game, but Ohio State is ineligible for the 2012-13 postseason. With Braxton Miller at quarterback, and Meyer at the helm, Ohio State looks like it will be a contender for the forseeable future. Another remarkable job by the former Florida coach.
5. Bill Snyder, Kansas State: It’s really a bummer that Kansas State flopped at Baylor like it did, because no coach deserves a national championship like Bill Snyder. I don’t know how he does it — although I suspect a quarterback like Collin Klein doesn’t hurt — but he built the Wildcats back into a contender for a second time; KSU finished the season 11-1 and a Big 12 champion. The Wildcats face a daunting challenge against Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.
6. Gary Andersen, Utah State: In his fourth season at the helm, Andersen led Utah State to its greatest regular-season ever, and its first outright conference championship since 1936. The Aggies’ 10 wins are the most in school history. Remember when Utah State came to Norman in 2010 and hung with the Sooners? OU won 31-24, with the Aggies putting up an impressive fight.
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