That leaves Hunter, who won the league's rushing title. You have a very strong candidacy here, with six 100-yard games in Big 12 play, including a 201-yard effort against Nebraska. The weakness is that the strength of his team's passing game makes an argument against Hunter's ultimate status as the MVP. But to replace him, we need a viable candidate, so let's run through the rest of the league and see if there is one.
Taylor Martinez carried Nebraska's offense to the North division title, but he missed two games. Daniel Thomas was the focal point of Kansas State's offense as he finished second to Hunter in rush yards without nearly the support. He was consistent and steady, but there wasn't the breakout, dominating game you want to see from an MVP. Baylor's Robert Griffin might have won a vote held a month ago, but the quarterback's ability to make big plays was cut down during the Bears' season-ending three-game losing streak. Ryan Broyles, the top target of Landry Jones, had an excellent season overall, but pedestrian numbers against Texas and Texas A&M knock him down enough.
That leaves Jones himself. He got the season off to a strong start, before a so-so game against Texas took him off the radar. But in the final seven games he was dominant. He threw for 300-plus yards six times in league play. Two of those times he went over 400 yards. His TD-Interception ratio was 25-7, and he had a big game against Oklahoma State with the South division title on the line. The running game was a bit of disappointment, so the Sooner offense was dependent on Jones. And they won a championship. That's an MVP description to me and he gets the Notebook nod.
For Coach of the Year, I give credit to Mike Gundy, who kept Oklahoma State moving forward in a year where not a lot was expected. But I'm going with a personal favorite as my choice. Texas A&M's Mike Sherman was under the gun in October, as his team lost three in a row. The Aggies surged down the stretch, winning their final six and even though they lost a South Division tiebreaker, were probably being the best football in this conference by year's end. Sherman inherited a program on hard times and in a ruthlessly competitive area. He improved to 6-6 last year and won nine games this year. He had a good NFL track record prior to this--let's remember that well before Green Bay Packer GM Ted Thompson ran Brett Favre out of town, he did the same to Sherman, a man who'd delivered the Packers four straight 10-win plus seasons, before having one bad year in 2005. Sherman's found his vindication in College Station and I'm happy for him.
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Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in college football ,game analysis in the NFL. and coverage of college basketball. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.