Wiseman Trophies: the 2022 college football awards you won’t see presented on TV

A 415-pound Gator? Baptismal goal posts? A (human) rib in a fridge? They’re all honored here.

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South Carolina v Florida

Florida’s Desmond Watson stiff-arms South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler after recovering a fumble.

Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

The Heisman Trophy presentation is Saturday, which always makes this a delicate time to be writing about college football. Why? Because the rules are explicit: If I reveal my ballot before the winner is called to the stage on ESPN, I’ll lose my vote. And we absolutely, positively can’t have that.

OK, fine, three hints: My No. 1 guy plays west of the Mississippi, wears an odd number and shares a surname with a previous winner. Stumped? Of course you are. That was such a good job of keeping things shrouded in mystery, I should get the Disguiseman Trophy.

Ha! What a wise guy. And speaking of which, here’s a whole list of college football awards that — like so many untelevised Emmys categories — won’t be part of any glitzy show. These, folks, are the 2022 Wiseman Trophies.

Fliesman: It goes to the Northwestern Wildcats, who traveled nearly 4,000 miles — all the way to Dublin, Ireland — to find their only win in the Week Zero opener of a 1-11 campaign that, from September on, was a real bunch of blarney.

Sizeman: Get a load of you, Desmond Watson. The 6-5, 415-pound Florida defensive tackle punishes the scale like no pro prospect since former Bears offensive tackle Aaron Gibson, the NFL record-holder at 410. Only a sophomore, Watson, who can bench-press over 500 pounds and squat more than 700, started nine games for the Gators and — wearing No. 21, somehow enhancing the spectacle — flashed outsized potential.

Wisconsin v Michigan State

Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen has thunder in his thighs.

Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Thighsman: As a 17-year-old freshman, Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen, who has legs like sequoias, publicly challenged Packers powerhouse AJ Dillon to a squat contest. As a sophomore, Allen poked fun in a tweet at Giants star Saquon Barkley, referring to the superstar’s tree-trunk legs as “cute.” He talks the talk and, with 100-plus yards per game for the second year in a row, definitely walks the walk.

Tiesman: We should’ve known Houston and UTSA would end up sharing this one when their season opener wasn’t settled until a third overtime. A week later, Houston went to OT again and UTSA went to double OT, and each team would have yet another OT game after that. That’s a whole lot of stress.

Sighsman: Another shared honor, this one by Chandler Morris and Gary Patterson. Morris, who beat out Max Duggan for TCU’s starting quarterback job, got hurt in the opener, watched Duggan go in and crush it, and the rest was Heisman-finalist history. Patterson, the winningest coach in TCU history, watched first-year successor Sonny Dykes step in and lead the Horned Frogs to the College Football Playoff. Together now: Sigh.

Prizeman: This goes to whichever NFL team gets to draft Alabama QB Bryce Young, last season’s Heisman winner and, if we’re being honest, still the best player in the country. Young gets an assist for opting out of the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama v Tennessee

Tennessee fans took the goal posts for a ride.

Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images

Baptizeman: Tennessee fans swim away with the honors for celebrating an incredible 52-49 win against Alabama by carrying the goal posts right out of Neyland Stadium and heaving them into the Tennessee River.

Riseman: Unknown nationally heading into the Alabama game, Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt caught an amazing five touchdown passes against the Tide, the launching point of a Biletnikoff Award season. Vols fans should’ve given Hyatt a ride on their shoulders along with those goal posts (before gently setting him down at the river’s edge, needless to say).

Friesman: Congrats, Potato Bowl. Are you a football game or an appetizer at Beef O’Brady’s?

Spiesman: It can go only to coach Scott Satterfield, who resigned at Louisville to take the Cincinnati job less than two weeks before the Fenway Bowl pitting Louisville against — yep — Cincinnati. Satterfield won’t be helping either team in this game … or so he says.

Northern Illinois v Iowa

Iowa’s Ferentz men had a trying season.

Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Criesman: Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is the richly deserving recipient for running a godawful offense — coordinated by in-over-his-head son Brian — onto the field all season, pausing only to lash out babyishly at the media for, you know, noticing it.

Triesman: A tip of the helmet to Northwestern tackle Peter Skoronski, maybe the best offensive lineman in the country. On a truly terrible team never more than one false step from disaster, this big fella somehow gave up zero sacks and graded out — for the third year in a row — as an absolute superstar.

Surpriseman: Coach Lance Leipold wins it twice, once for leading Kansas to its first bowl berth in 14 years and again for signing a contract extension to stay when he easily could’ve gotten out of Dodge and found a comfier gig.

Repriseman: Remember Jim Mora? That’s right, the younger one. A coach fired so many times eventually comes down — if he’s lucky — to his very final chance, and for Mora that was UConn, the absolute bottom of the FBS barrel. Guess who else is going bowling?

Whysman: Lastly, we honor Wake Forest’s prolific quarterback, Sam Hartman, who missed the first week of the season after having a rib removed to ease pressure on a vein. Where the heck is this going? Well, that rib has spent the rest of the season in Hartman’s refrigerator. And after one final game, he plans to have it made into — what else? — a necklace. No ribbing.

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