Continuing on with the thematic based preview of the upcoming 2013 college football season, we come to players that are likely conference MVPs. The conferences already have their own individual offense, defense and position specific awards but the GN version are the guys who will be among the tops on offense and defense in their respective conferences with one being highlighted as the overall MVP. It’s important to note that this is not about top Heisman contenders because, let’s face it, there are some conferences that will never get serious Heisman attention despite on field performances.
Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater is by far the best player in the AAC, one of the top QBs in the country and a serious contender for the top pick in next year’s draft. UConn LB Yawin Smallwood, USF DE Aaron Lynch and Louisville S Calvin Pryor could all be the conference’s top player on D.
Tajh Boyd will be the main reason Clemson succeeds this season as he has too much skill not to be the ACC’s top player, though fellow QB Bryn Renner is underrated. On the other side of the ball, Florida State DT Tim Jernigan is the best defensive player on the conference’s best defense.
Braxton Miller can get it done with his legs or arm and is the best in the B1G based purely on talent. He’s also the ideal fit for the Urban Meyer offense. The Buckeye theme continues with LB Ryan Shazier being a tackling machine and CB Bradley Roby a true shutdown corner.
Reflecting the wide open nature of the conference, TCU QB Casey Pachall, OSU WR Josh Stewart and Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk could all lay claim to offensive MVP. For defense, Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat can reach that All Star level with even more productive season.
Marshall QB Rakeem Cato came out of nowhere to have a monster year last season and could be even better this time around. In a conference known more for offense, North Texas’ Zach Orr is exactly what coaches look for in a middle linebacker.
It’s not often an OT is the top offensive player, but Notre Dame’s Zach Martin is an anchor on the Irish O-line and a definite All-American. Whether it’s DE Stephon Tuitt or DT Louis Nix, you can’t go wrong picking either as the best indy D player.
Jordan Lynch not only led the conference in MACtion but crashed the Heisman race, the BCS as well and could do it all again this season. Buffalo LB Khalil Mack can do everything well and has NFL starter potential.
Fresno State’s Derek Carr and San Jose State’s David Fales each have the receivers to post monster stats in a conference with some talented QBs. Boise State DE DeMarcus Lawrence is not only disruptive but can be consistently productive.
Seemingly tailor made for the Oregon spread-option, QB Marcus Mariota will build on a very impressive freshman season. UCLA’s Anthony Barr went from a converted FB at the start of last season to one of the more dominating defensive players in the country and could go even farther to a top 5 pick in the draft.
Jadeveon Clowney. Is there really any other option? Johnny Manziel might be in contention if he doesn’t implode from all the offseason hype, but the SEC’s MVP and best player is definitely Clowney.
Western Kentucky RB Antonio Andrews is not only a rusher, but a good receiver, elite returner and nearly broke Barry Sanders’ all purpose yards record last season. His teammate LB Andrew Jackson is a playmaker on all downs, though Texas State DT DJ Yendrey and Arkansas State DT Ryan Carrethers are top D players as well.