Is Tyler Wilson or Ryan Aplin the Most Outstanding Player? Which TAMs team has been more disappointing Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, or Memphis? Who had the best win and who had the worst loss of the year? We answer all of these questions and more as we divvy out the awards for the 2011 college football season. Without further ado, here are the 2011 College Football TAMs awards…
Best Team: Arkansas
Hands down the best team this season in our rankings, Arkansas finished the season undefeated against TAM teams (4-0) and had the most wins against TAM teams out of anybody else in the rankings. The Razorbacks were unanimously selected No. 1 in all of the TAM rankings except for one making them easily the best team in the TAM ranking. If not for Alabama and LSU Arkansas might have had a chance to compete for a SEC championship and a BCS birth.
Worst Team: Memphis
Memphis is not only the worst team in the TAM rankings, but they might be the worst team in all of college football. This year the Tigers showed us every possible way of losing imaginable. They were blown out, shut out, they lost close games, and they had monumental collapses with the game seemingly in hand. With Coach Porter gone after just two seasons it is going to be interesting to see just how much a struggling Tigers program can improve after such a bad Memphis season. New coach Justin Fuente certainly has his work cut out for him next year.
Most Disappointing Team: Tennessee
This honor was going to Mississippi State, who was a team that some people believed could win the SEC West at the beginning of the year. Then the Vols lost to Kentucky for the first time in 26 games, ending the nation’s longest winning streak against a conference opponent, and making Tennessee ineligible for a bowl. Tennessee lost seven conference games for the first time in school history, and the only conference team the Vols beat was Vanderbilt in overtime.
Best Win: Southern Miss 49 Houston 28
The Golden Eagles ruined the Cougars’ chance at a perfect season and a BCS bowl with this win in the C-USA championship game. They dominated the game from start to finish, never trailing and holding the explosive Houston offense to only 28 points (the Cougars average 52.7 points per game). The win gave the Golden Eagles their first conference championship since 2003, and helped vault Coach Fedora to the top of the North Carolina coaching list.
Worst Loss: Tennessee 7 Kentucky 10
This was the first time since 1984 that the Vols lost to Kentucky. To make matters worse, Kentucky beat Tennessee without their first or second string quarterback. In fact, starting receiver Matt Roark played quarterback for the Wildcats. The loss capped off back to back losing seasons for Tennessee for the first time since the1910-1911 seasons, and prevented Tennessee from becoming bowl eligible.
Surprise Team: Arkansas State
The Red wolves won their first Sun Belt conference title since 2005, and finished undefeated in Sun Belt play for the first time ever this season. Their defense was the stingiest in the TAM poll, holding opponents to 19.3 points per game. Ryan Aplin led the way for the offense this season. He finished the year 10th in the nation in total yards per game, with over 3,000 yards passing, and he was the team’s leader in rushing yards too. Arkansas State played so well in Coach Freeze’s first year that he was able to get the Ole Miss head coaching job.
Coach of the Year: Hugh Freeze
In his first year as head coach at Arkansas State, Hugh Freeze led the Red Wolves to their most successful season ever. They won ten games for the first time since becoming a FBS school in 1991, and fielded one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. Coach Freeze’s defense was just as good, finishing 15th in rushing defense and 20th in the nation in total defense. He will try to have similar success at his new job, coaching fellow TAM team Ole Miss next season.
Most Outstanding Player: Tyler Wilson
Tyler Wilson was the best TAM player on the best TAM team. Therefore, he has earned the coveted Most Outstanding Player Award. At the beginning of the year, the major question for the Razorbacks was how much effective will Tyler Wilson be. We were all wondering if he could live up to the big shoes Ryan Mallet left behind, and Wilson did that with no problem. He led all quarterbacks in the SEC (and TAM rankings) in passing yards per game, total passing yards, and he had a quarterback rating of 148.66. Wilson’s numbers were even better against TAM teams, throwing for 284 yards per game, seven touchdowns, and one interception in four games against TAM foes. If Wilson decides to stay for another year he could set several school records and take Arkansas back to a BCS bowl game.
The Mid-South is full of fans with allegiances to different area college football programs. Which FBS program in the three states surrounding the Memphis area is the best? To help end some arguments and start others, every week MemphiSport ranks all the college football teams in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi . We call it the TAMs Rankings.
CJ Hurt covers college football for MemphiSport. Follow him @churtj09 for live tweets from games.