The FootballScoop Coaches of the Week Awards - Week 11
Head Coach - Nick Saban, Alabama
Could it really be anyone else? The two-time defending champ took a shot or two to the face, and then responded with body blow after body blow in turning a 17-17 tie into a 38-17 win over No. 13 LSU. Since Alabama's 9-6 loss in the 2011 Game of the Century, Alabama has now beaten LSU on three straight occasions, with two of those victories coming by 21 points. The last time LSU lost by 21 or more to a team other than the Tide? October 11, 2008.
Following LSU's field goal to open the second half, Alabama's next three possessions travelled 228 yards on 32 plays and produced 21 points. LSU gained 20 yards on 16 plays and didn't come close to scoring. This series has become the South's Super Bowl, and that victory lap around Bryant-Denny Stadium should tell you exactly how much a victory means to him.
Honorable Mention: Art Briles, Baylor; David Shaw, Stanford; Stan Parrish, Eastern Michigan; Mack Brown, Texas; Todd Graham, Arizona; Bo Pelini, Nebraska; George O'Leary, Central Florida; Gary Andersen, Wisconsin; Tracy Claeys, Minnesota; Paul Chryst, Pittsburgh.
Offensive Staffs of the Week - Auburn, Kansas State and Stanford
A common theme permeated through each of the three wins these clubs enjoyed this week. Combined passing stats: 17-of-31 for 214 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Combined rushing stats: 164 carries for 1,009 yards and 12 touchdowns. A simple yet beautiful strategy of "push the guy off the ball until the whistle blows, then do it 50 more times" works every single time if you've got the horses to do it. And Auburn, Kansas State and Stanford certainly did.
Each club used its unforgiving running game to break their respective wins open. The Cardinal went three and out to open their game, then didn't punt again while opening a 26-0 lead. Kansas State scored touchdowns on all five of its first half possessions to take a 35-10 halftime lead. And Auburn scored on four straight drives (plus two return scores) to turn a 13-6 deficit into a 48-23 lead.
Honorable Mention: Fresno State, Alabama, Baylor, Missouri, USC, Texas A&M, Indiana, Duke, Virginia Tech.
Defensive Staff of the Week - Stanford
De'Anthony Thomas talked about scoring 40. For most of Thursday night it looked like Oregon wouldn't score anything at all. Stanford held the Ducks to an almost unthinkable 62 rushing yards on 24 carries, ended Marcus Mariota's Heisman run and literally sent Oregon home in tears. Most importantly, Stanford handed Oregon its second loss in as many years and looked like the best team on the field for about 55 minutes on Thursday night.
Look at it this way: Oregon hasn't allowed anyone else to come within 17 points of them since the beginning of the 2012 season, yet they're 0-2 against Stanford.
Honorable Mention: Nebraska, Alabama, Baylor, Arizona State, North Texas, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Florida State, Louisville, Central Florida, Duke.
Special Teams Unit of the Week - Oregon
Look, it wasn't the special teams' fault Oregon found itself down 26 points at Stanford Stadium on Thursday night. Trailing 26-7, the Ducks blocked a field goal which Rodney Hardrick returned 65 yards for a touchdown. After the ensuing two-point conversion failed, the Oregon special teams went out and recovered an onside kick. Oregon converted that extra chance into a touchdown, and all of a sudden a team that was dead in the water was within 26-20. Ultimately, Oregon could only go 1-for-2 on onside kick tries, but a better performance on the other two sides of the ball wouldn't have left Oregon in that situation.
Honorable Mention: West Virginia, USC, Florida State.