Powell, Strong, and Bellamy could all end up with some hardware this year, as long as the Cards can finish near the top of the conference.
Player of the year race: Offense
1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Forget the stats, even though they’re great (68.4 completion percentage, 14-to-2 touchdown to interception ratio). He’s the best offensive player on the best team right now, and that’s what wins awards like this.
2. Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville: Moves up a notch after another 200-yard day and a spectacular 85-yard touchdown run against Cincinnati. On pace for nearly an 1,800-yard season.
3. Jordan Todman, RB, Connecticut: Did nothing to hurt himself because he had a bye week. But he’s 137 yards behind Powell and his team needs to start winning big games.
4. Zach Collaros, QB, Cincinnati: Threw five touchdown passes against Louisville, giving him a Big East best 17. Also leads league in passing yards and passer efficiency rating.
5. D.J. Woods, WR, Cincinnati: Had two more touchdown catches against Louisville and leads league in receiving yards.
Player of the year race: Defense
1. Joe Lefeged, S, Rutgers: Still on top, though this race is begging for some more wow performances and stats.
2. Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh: Leads league in tackles for loss and second in sacks; was very disruptive at Syracuse.
3. JK Schaffer, LB, Cincinnati: Third in league in tackles and just very steady every week.
4. Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia: Who would have believed it? Tandy might be the Mountaineers best corner. He is tied for lead league in interceptions with four.
5. Derrell Smith, LB, Syracuse: Didn’t do anything to hurt himself, but team’s 45-14 loss to Pitt damaged his award hopes.
Coach of the year race
1. Bill Stewart, West Virginia
2. Charlie Strong, Louisville
3. Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Newcomer of the year race
1. Josh Bellamy, WR, Louisville: Junior college transfer has become a top receiving target for the Cardinals with 17 catches for 275 yards and four touchdowns.
2. Chas Dodd, QB, Rutgers: If he continues to start and win games for the Scarlet Knights, he’ll run away with this award.
3. Marquis Spruill, LB, Syracuse: True freshman starting linebacker has 29 tackles, including five for loss and two sacks.
4. DeDe Lattimore, LB, South Florida: Another freshman starting at linebacker, Lattimore has 30 tackles and a sack.
5. Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia: Redshirt freshman has 13 catches for 195 yards and three touchdowns.<