Some corporate entities and clubs that seem to exist for no reason outside of doling out trophies at lavish dinners his morning, the Downtown Athletic Club of SMQ introduces an ongoing feature of the next couple weeks: the prestigious SMQ Readers' Choice Awards for excellence in whatever quirky field crosses his mind, with winners selected by you. Results will be announced sometime later this month, whenever clever categories run dry. Everyone who stops by is encouraged to participate by clicking the appropriate circle in the "Poll" section of the righthand sidebar.
If you have any award ideas for SMQ, please leave them in the comment section. Spam-deflection means you'll have to register, but it couldn't be easier.
The Ron Jeremy Award
Presented to the nation's most overworked appendage
Sometimes, it's a matter of circumstance, of scheme, of necessity, and occasionally, of singular talent amidst inferiority. Whatever the cause, the fortune of a few players - and their certain endowed talents - was to be called upon far, far more often in 2006 than is probably healthy.
Chase Holbrook's Right Arm New Mexico State
Holbrook's transfer agreement to join his old Southeast Louisiana coach Hal Mumme included provisions for glaciers of ice for his throwing arm (tough to find in Las Cruces), coinciding as it did with the sophomore becoming the trigger-man of the nation's most pass-happy offense at just over 47 throws per game. Relief often didn't come even when Air Mumme was stopped on three downs: the Aggies attempted by far more fourth down conversions than any other offense, successfully extending 26 drives - along with Holbrook's tendons - well past their logical breaking point. Topped 50 attempts in almost half of NMSU's games, including a 73-toss effort in a close loss at UTEP in September.
Graham Harrell's Right Arm Texas Tech
Not to be outdone, Mike Leach had his young quarterback sling it only six fewer times than Holbrook, and Harrell swung his sword at the top of the 'attempts' column for most of the season. The sophomore tried fewer than 45 passes against only two Bowl Subdivision opponents, Colorado and Iowa State, against whom he chucked 39 and 40, respectively.
Here's the plan: We're gonna throw. Got it?
Ray Rice's Right and Left Legs Rutgers
One of only two players to top 300 carries, or 25 per game (Mike Hart being the other), Rice was supposedly a split-backfield player with Times Square darling Brian Leonard, yet ground out a nation-high 311 carries. Had 31 totes at North Carolina, 35 at South Florida and an exhausting-to-consider 39 at Pittsburgh, all 200-yard individual efforts and all Scarlet Knights wins.
Art Carmody's Left Foot Louisville
Justin Medlock out at UCLA attempted more field goals, but being the field goal, extra point and kick-off guy for the Cardinal touchdown factory meant Carmody routinely booted a dozen balls in a single afternoon; in the first two weeks of the season, he kicked a combined 36 in one capacity or another against Kentucky in Temple. Carmody's foot finished the regular season having struck the animal-friendly synthetic representation of pigskin 137 times in regulation.
Art Carmody's nightmare. His foot actually only felt like it fell off after the Temple game.
Jake Brownell's Right Leg Temple
On the opposite end, there's poor Brownell, a transfer from the proud Naval Academy, relegated to regularly outgaining the Owls' offense through his total punt yardage. This happened nine times in 2006, including each of the first seven games and in a November drubbing at Penn State in which Brownell punted for 301 yards as the Owls' offense gained all of 74. His 3004 punting yards were almost 500 yards better than Temple's total offense for the season, and his 78 kicks, predictably, were most in the nation.
Those are the candidates. SMQ has the first vote, and casts it in favor of the beleaguered Brownell. The rest is up to you.