Wednesday, January 24, 2007

REVIEWAPALOOZA: Short Acceptance Speeches, Please



If it's a wrap on the South Carolina season review, it must be awards time. Not because an awards presentation is the best use of time -- though it has it merits -- but because C&F feels he would be acting irresponsible if he didn't do an awards time.


Not this irresponsible or anything, but still...

Now, C&F doesn't have a lot of the mainstays of an awards show. No red carpet. No actual trophy. And no roomfull of celebrities who have toothpicks holding their smile in place as their rival gets their award.


None of her, either. Though she would like to say that garnet is definitely Sidney's color.

In any case, some of these awards are based on statistics. Others are based on guts. Some are based on whimsy. (MVP, Clemson game: Jad Dean.)

In any case, here we go:

BEST PLAYER -- OFFENSE: CORY BOYD



Yeah, Sidney Rice and Syvelle Newton got more attention. But when it came to all-purpose real estate, Cory Boyd got more yards. A total of nearly 1,300 yards, thank you very much, and 10 TDs to boot. And Boyd turned in a tough, gutsy performance at the Liberty Bowl, despite having Lord knows how much metal in him.

BEST PLAYERS -- DEFENSE: THE BRINKLEY TWINS



The Brinkley duo combined for 28 TFL and 12 sacks on the year, including one of the most important plays of the season on Jasper's part. In fact, it was hard to go through a defensive series this year without hearing an announcer say "-asper Brinkley."

SYVELLE NEWTON AWARD FOR DEDICATION: SYVELLE NEWTON



This new award -- okay, so they're all new awards, but that's beside the point -- goes to the player who shows the most dedication and selflessness in the course of a season. Newton isn't likely to be drafted as a WR, but he went there because the team needed him. He won't be drafted as a QB, but he went there because the team needed him. And even though it didn't make his day, despite the fact that it's probably where he'll end up in the pros, he went to DB when the team needed him there. It's the kind of selfless play that has marked Newton's career at South Carolina.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: BLAKE MITCHELL



He was supposed to be an all-conference QB. Then again, he was also supposed to be a team leader. He was neither at the beginning of the season, playing himself out of a starting job with poor efforts against Mississippi State and Georgia, combined with his just flat-out embarassing efforts to beat up a bouncer in Five Points.

PLEASANT SURPRISE: KENNY McKINLEY



If anybody overperformed this year, it was McKinley. Coming into the year, it was an open question whether he could be a competent No. 2 to Sidney Rice. He was, hauling in 51 passes for 880 yards and five scores. With Rice heading off to the NFL, McKinley will be expected to pick up some of the slack, even if he doesn't necessarily become the team's primary receiver.

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: BLAKE MITCHELL



As much as you might want to bash Napoleon Dynamite's twin for the first few weeks of the season, you can't deny him a list of accomplishments at the end: Nearly pulling off the come-from-behind victory against Arkansas, making Florida eat what remained of their fingernails, annihilating Middle Tennessee State, (sort of) leading the team against Clemson and guiding the Gamecocks to a shootout victory over the Houston Cougars. Could it be a precursor to next year, or is Blake one of those QBs who's always turning the corner? We'll know soon enough.

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