2016 CollegeFootballNews.com Midseason Top SEC Players, Coaches, Rankings, Games, Surprise & Disappointments
2016 SEC Midseason Roundup & Analysis
SEC Midseason Offensive Player
QB Trevor Knight, Sr. Texas A&M
There’s only one stat that matters – 6-0, for both Knight and for Jalen Hurts. Flip a coin, and you have the Offensive Player of the Midseason.
Is Knight the most talented quarterback in the conference, or is he anywhere near the most talented player in the league loaded with stars? No, but Knight has been the perfect fit for the Texas A&M offense on the way to an unbeaten season. He’s only hitting 54% of his passes for 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns with five picks, but he’s also run for 500 yards and five scores.
It’s been more than that, though. He turned the Arkansas game around with his scoring dash and 157 yards, and he came through against the Vols with 110 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Think of it this way – he’s the SEC Midseason MVP.
SEC Midseason Defensive Player
LB Zach Cunningham, Jr. Vanderbilt
He flies under the radar because he’s doing it for Vanderbilt, but the league leader in tackles and tackles for loss has been the star on a defense that’s doing everything possible to try carrying the offense. With 62 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss, he’s been everywhere with double-digit stops in four of the six games and a regular in opposing backfields.
SEC Midseason Top 10 Players
Based on performance and value over the first half of the season, not talent or pro projections.
1. QB Trevor Knight, Sr. Texas A&M
2. QB Jalen Hurts, Fr. Alabama
3. LB Zach Cunningham, Jr. Vanderbilt
4. DE Derek Barnett, Jr. Tennessee
5. SS Justin Evans, Sr. Texas A&M
6. RB Trayveon Williams, Fr. Texas A&M
7. QB Chad Kelly, Sr. Ole Miss
8. DE Jonathan Allen, Sr. Alabama
9. DE Arden Key, Soph. LSU
10. TE Evan Engram, Sr. Ole Miss
SEC Midseason Coach Rankings
1. Nick Saban, Alabama
2. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
3. Butch Jones, Tennessee
4. Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
5. Gus Malzahn, Auburn
6. Jim McElwain, Florida
7. Bret Bielema, Arkansas
8. Kirby Smart, Georgia
9. Barry Odom, Missouri
10. Will Muschamp, South Carolina
11. Ed Orgeron, LSU
12. Mark Stoops, Kentucky
13. Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
14. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
SEC Midseason Three Best Games
1. Alabama 48, Ole Miss 43, Sept. 17
2. Texas A&M 45, Tennessee 38, 2OT, Oct. 8
3. Arkansas 41, TCU 38, 2OT, Sept. 10
SEC Midseason Best Surprise
Jalen Hurts. It’s Nick Saban. It’s Alabama. Of course it was going to go with the safe, older pocket passer to be a little bit of a steadying factor to go along with the rebuilding backfield – nope. The defense can clean up a ton of messes, and the Crimson Tide have an NFL receiving corps, but Hurts has been special, playing a mature game beyond his years.
SEC Midseason Biggest Disappointment
LSU. There’s absolutely no excuse. The Tigers came into the season with an NFL team at just about everywhere but quarterback, but it all fizzled out of the gate with a loss to Wisconsin and a dud against Auburn that meant the end of the Les Miles era. Watch out, though – the talent is still there to go on a huge second half run.
SEC Midseason – We Were Right On …
Auburn being okay. It might not be the killer offense everyone was hoping for, and Gus Malzahn is always a heartbreak away from being fired, but his team fought Clemson and battled in a loss to a Texas A&M team that turned out to be pretty good. It might not always be working the right way, but his team is 4-2.
SEC Midseason – We Were Wrong On …
Alabama. LSU is actually No. 1 on the list, but Alabama wasn’t supposed to be able to reload so fast – and it did. It lost a Heisman-winning running back, an NFL-caliber backup back, a national title-winning starting quarterback, a slew of player on the defensive front, and enough depth to take a wee bit of a step back. Instead, even with a few high-scoring days against Ole Miss and Arkansas, the machine keeps on rolling.