With Auburn's thrashing of South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game, our three-month long regular season journey comes to a close. For some of us, those with at least semi-competent coaching and players, the journey continues into December and early January. As is custom-ish around here, it's time to recognize those players who achieved strongly to quite strongly over the last three months, adding moments of joy to our three-month long physical and emotional odyssey that damaged our bodies, mental health and probably some relationships.
However, the awards around here are not of the "Cam Newton is awesome" variety. No, they are much more awesome than that. These awards acknowledge the players who performed to such a high level that I would want to get an apartment with them, which is the highest award of which I can think. Past roommates include Dexter McCluster, Shay Hodge, Tim Tebow, Darren McFadden, Mark Ingram and Anthony Dixon (and yes, it was a tearful moment when Dexter left for Kansas City). There are several different tiers to the awards, mainly because living with lots of people would suck, but mostly because some dominated, some played well and others made me want to swim in pools of acid. Congratulations to all listed, you earned your time in the spotlight.
1ST TEAM I WANT TO GET AN APARTMENT WITH HIM
Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
However, our first rule is that Cecil can never visit. Ever. I don't want him stealing my stuff and shopping it on eBay. As for Cam, he took a team with no pass defense, an average run defense and one really good defensive lineman to the BCS title game. He received some assistance from a fantastic offensive line, Gus Malzhan, one speedy running back and one solid wide receiver, but mostly it was him doing whatever the hell he wanted to do when he wanted to do it. I've never seen anything like it, nor will I probably ever again. I know it's probably blasphemy to say he was greater than Tim Tebow, even at the height of Tebow's powers, but I'm not sure Tebow could have gotten this team to 14-0. I look forward to the day he goes pro and Auburn gets back to Chris Todds playing quarterback. And when the NCAA shoves massive scholarship reductions down Auburn's throat.
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
Yawn. Another 30 TD, 3500-yard season. And he did a chunk of that without his best wide receiver for the second half of the season. Plus, with him there, we'll have to get an extra-high shower head. As a relatively tall person, nothing is worse than a shower head that is level with my chin. HOW DARE YOU PUT PRESSURE ON MY NECK AND THIGHS.
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
I can't remember the rotation of SEC East teams on Ole Miss' schedule, but I think the Rebels have a chance to avoid South Carolina while Lattimore is there (assuming he goes pro after his junior year). And to that I say, EXCELLENT. Because with the way we tackle, 950 yards would be in play.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
And the same goes for Jeffery. I have no idea who we'll be running out in our secondary in 2012, but rest assured, they will not belong on the same field as Jeffery. I'm not sure what Steve Spurrier's had in mind during Saturday's championship game, but there should have been zero plays in which Jeffery and Lattimore were not involved.
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
Though I nearly leapt through my television to strangle him when he fumbled against Mississippi State, Davis was Arkansas' second-best player. He also pulled a 2009 Dexter McCluster, gaining only 203 yards through the first six games, then in the final six, 980.
Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Even with an injured hand (though Nick Saban had it replaced with a machine-like Luke Skywalker hand), he was virtually unguardable anywhere within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. And it will be nice to have someone with a touch of Saban discipline to help run a tight ship around the apartment. PAY YOUR SHARE OF THE ELECTRIC BILL, RYAN.
A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
The single reason I said to myself, "Hey, self, that Aaron Murray isn't all that bad."
Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
This way I'll know what he looks like. By the way, Cobb was the all-purpose yardage leader in the conference by over 600 yards.
Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Ever wonder what a deer would look like if you put pads and a helmet on it? This is your answer.
Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Though I imagine he'd spend most of his time in the apartment in timeout for trying to break everyone else's spine, he has earned the right to be there and attempt to break said spines.
1ST TEAM HE CAN LIVE NEXT DOOR TO US
Stevan Ridley, RB, LSU
Ridley broke 1,000 yards and scored 14 touchdowns with two quarterbacks who combined for six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Repeat, six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Oh, and they went 10-2. What a bunch of assholes.
Brandon Bolden, RB, Ole Miss
At six yards a carry, it would have been nice to see what he could have done had he averaged something close to 20 carries a game, instead of 13.6.
/SHAKES FISTS OF RAGE AT THE SKY.
Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
The Shrimp Boat Captain had this guy committed to Ole Miss, only to lose him late due to "pressures." By this, I mean money. Or I assume. Who wouldn't want to play for a moron that had won three conference games in two years and was about to get fired? I doubt that had anything to do with it.
Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State
Missed a game and still scored 16 touchdowns, which was only one behind Lattimore (and amazingly four behind Newton). Plus, when he comes over to play Call of Duty, he can give us the latest on how soon Dan Mullen is going to Miami.
The Auburn Offensive Line
It typically helps a quarterback when an offensive line provides enough time to make a sandwich, then find an open receiver. And if they happen to smash some knees and ACLs along the way, even better. I considered this group for getting into the apartment, but didn't want all those fat guys eating all the food and smashing my ACL while enjoying our nine-foot high shower head.
1ST TEAM HE CAN LIVE IN OUR APARTMENT COMPLEX
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
He missed two games, had an offensive coordinator who enjoyed drives in which no rushes were attempted (these also resulted in punts) and split time with another back, and still had a pretty solid season. His performance against Arkansas was one of the greatest individual showings of the whole season.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Mike Hartline, QB, Kentucky
Roommates. Inexplicably, wait.....because the SEC East sucked, these two combined for 47 TDs and only 15 INTs.
Danny Trevathan, LB, Kentucky
Featured last April in this space, the self-described Flowddaa Boy, led the SEC in tackles, and any good apartment complex needs a good linebacker. Also, you are welcome, Danny for your preseason plug that clearly led to your success.
Josh Jasper, K, LSU
We've got to have a kicker. And a punter. And someone who can field a lateral on a bounce, then run for a first down on a game-winning drive. Again, assholes.
1ST TEAM I'M SURE THERE'S A DORM ROOM ON CAMPUS FOR YOU
Director of Housing Houston Nutt will make sure your room meets the minimum number of regulations allowed by law during your stay. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Resident Advisor, Tyrone Nix.
The Ole Miss Defense
Linebackers, you get the top bunk. Defensive line, you're on the bottom bunk, and secondary, you'll be, well, we don't know where you'll be since you got lost on the way over. Staying on task is not your strength.
Jordan Jefferson, QB, LSU
Jarrett Lee, QB, LSU
Again, six touchdowns and 10 interceptions, yet a 10-2 record. All together now, ASSHOLES.
The Auburn Secondary
The South Carolina Secondary
Somehow, these units finished behind Ole Miss in pass defense. After watching Ole Miss play defense for 12 games, I find that almost impossible to believe.
/looks out window
/sees Jeremy McGee running around in circles across the street
/Johnny Brown sprints by, headed in an undetermined direction
John Brantley, QB, Florida
At least Steve Addazio and Urban Meyer promised they'd help him move in to the dorm.
Chris Rainey, RB, Florida
Time to not suck, bitch.
Matt Simms, QB, Tennessee
Was unable to complete a pass against Ole Miss. Yes, I do count 0 for 1.
Worst loss in Ole Miss history? Worst loss in Ole Miss history.
THEY CAN STAY IN MY ROOM IF THEY'RE BETWEEN PLACES
Sorry, rest of SEC, this spot is reserved for the Ole Miss guys that looked like they gave a shit all season, and give me a reason to get sucked into the 2011 season before it starts.
Jeff Scott, RB
Even though the SEC attributes his kickoff return stats to Cliff Coleman, who broke his foot before the season started and never played a down (and is also a defensive back), Scott offered speed and a legitimate threat to score every time he touched the ball. Would have been nice if all of Enrique Davis' carries could have gone to Scott. WHAT DOES ENRIQUE HAVE ON YOU, HOUSTON.
D.T. Shackelford, LB/DE
A natural linebacker, our defensive ends were so horrible that we eventually placed Shackelford at DE in passing situations, followed by playing him there most of the time. Solid year for a guy who was moved around so much. If we can find non-awful defensive ends before next season, I look for a big year in 2011 from Shackelford at linebacker.
Jeremiah Masoli, QB
Even though he won't be around in 2011 and he had his moments of sucking, he's always welcome in the apartment. Without him, we go 0-8 in the SEC and aren't even in the handful of games in which we were competitive. His coming to Ole Miss saved Nathan Stanley's life and kept Ole Miss fans from watching the worst team in the history of Ole Miss football.