Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Cal's only won one national football award in the school's history. In 1999 Deltha O'Neal was named the third recipient of the Mosi Tatupu Award, which recognizes the nation's top performer on special teams.

Which raises an important question - Mosi Tatupu? What the hell?

It turns out anyone can give an award if they have time, disposable income and a more than a few friends. Here's the formula: A football club in some part of the country raises some dough and schedules a banquet. Club members retire to a smoke-filled room, and after five whiskey sours they pick a name for their award and a winner (and hope that he didn't graduate three years ago). Some award processes are a bit more dignified, in that they poll a number of 'experts' who presumably have not had five whiskey sours prior to making a selection. In Tatupu's case, it was the Maui Quarterback Club who wanted to honor Hawai'i's native son with an award, and all the regular football positions (DB, LB, etc) were already taken.

Could Cal add a second national award this season? Here's a brief handicapping guide:

Nate Longshore is one of 18 semi-finalists for the O'Brien Award, which honors the nation's top QB. Nate's a sophomore, and there are several guys ahead of him on the semi-finalist list - Troy Smith, Brady Quinn and the like. Odds of winning - 75:1

Marshawn Lynch, in addition to his Heisman candidacy, is one of 15 semi-finalists for the Maxwell Award which is like the Heisman but no one cares about it. Marshawn's chances for either award are pretty slim, unless Smith and Quinn get arrested in vice raids in the next three weeks. Odds of winning - 30:1

DeSean Jackson is one of 14 semi-finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which honors the best wide receiver. I think he'll actually do OK in the voting, since Cal has been on TV a fair amount and his catches and punt returns are in steady rotation on SportsCenter. But this is probably Calvin Johnson's to lose. Jackson should be a strong candidate for the Tatupu, and could lock it up with a TD return in the SC game. Biletnikoff - 25:1; Tatupu - 5:1

Daymeion Hughes is our best bet - he's a semi-finalist for the Bednarik (top defensive player), Thorpe (best DB) and Lott (best impact defender, whatever that means) - he will also likely be a finalist for the Nagurski which is pretty much the same thing as the Bednarik. The Nagurski/Bednarik will go to Lamarr Woodley or Quinn Pitcock, but the Thorpe is a real possibility. His main competition will come from Texas CB Aaron Ross and Florida FS Reggie Nelson. Bednarik - 20:1; Lott - 20:1; Thorpe - 3:1.

Lastly, JT is up for the Munger Award as Coach of the Year. Figure this will go to Tressel or Petrino, but Tedford could slide in if we run the table and the other schools drop a game. Odds of winning - 15:1