The Switzies are named for former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer, the patron saint of college football frolicking. (Rich Clarkson/SI)
Our 10 imaginary trophies celebrating on- and off-field favorites at the season’s midpoint:
• Best new toy: It’s not Clowney, Farmer or Kouandjio. The biggest impact freshman of 2011 is Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, who ranks in the top 20 nationally in receiving yards per game, sixth in kickoff returns and by the numbers is currently the FBS’ No. 10 all-purpose yardage generated. He’s recorded four games with at least 100 receiving yards in less than two months of college ball, and in two of those games has gone over 150. Against Maryland, he hit the century mark in receiving and racked up 207 yards on kick return duty.
• Best stat: Aren’t early season cherry-picked numbers delicious? Remember those first weeks in September when Robert Griffin’s touchdown passes and incompletions hovered right around the same number? After four weeks of play that ratio was 20:18 and Baylor fan or not, it was hard not to hope it’d stay that way just for the spectacle of it. Subsequent games against Iowa State and Texas A&M knocked his incompletions out of reach. Then again, we’re talking about a guy who has a 78 percent completion rating after six games, so even his off days are nothing to sneeze at.
• Best highlight play: Nothing against the massive runs Trent Richardson’s reeling off, but there’s just something about a good catch that quickens the blood. The year’s best, thus far: Andrew Luck‘s one-handed grab versus UCLA, a move that would’ve been tricky even had the receiver been a receiver, and Mississippi State’s Chris Smith holding onto the ball in an invisible human gyroscope against South Carolina. Honorable mention: LSU punter Brad Wing‘s touchdown-that-wasn’t against Florida.