Our weekly look at the offensive player of the year, defensive player of the year and coach of the year races in the SEC:
Offensive Player of the Year
1. Auburn quarterback Cam Newton: He became the SEC’s first player to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season in last week’s win against Georgia. Newton’s assault on the SEC record books continues.
2. Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb: After rolling up a career-high 170 rushing yards last week against Vanderbilt, Cobb now leads the country in all-purpose yardage (2,047). He’s also accounted for 16 touchdowns four different ways.
3. South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore: His 40-carry, 212-yard rushing effort last week in the 36-14 win over Florida vaults the true freshman into the top three. Lattimore leads all SEC running backs in league games with an average of 114.2 rushing yards per game.
4. South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery: Without him, where would the Gamecocks be? Jeffery’s seven touchdown catches have all come in SEC games, and he also leads the league with 1,087 receiving yards.
Defensive Player of the Year
1. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley: No defender in the SEC has been as consistently disruptive as Fairley, who leads the league with 18 tackles for loss, including 7.5 sacks.
2. LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis: He’s been running a close race with Fairley all season. LSU coach Les Miles says Nevis’ impact on the Tigers’ defense can’t be measured.
3. Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston: He’s still the SEC sacks leader with 10 and is second with 17.5 tackles for loss. As outside pass-rushers go, Houston is one of the best out there.
4. LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson: Don’t look at his statistics. Look at how few passes are completed to his side of the field when he’s in coverage, and look at what a sure tackler he is.
Coach of the Year
1. Auburn’s Gene Chizik: His job just got tougher with all the Newton allegations swirling. But the bottom line is that his team continues to perform, and the Tigers have been absolutely clutch in the fourth quarter.
2. South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier: The Head Ball Coach vaults into the No. 2 spot this week after guiding his Gamecocks to a 36-14 win over his old team, Florida, and a berth in the school’s first-ever SEC championship game.
3. Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen: The Bulldogs had their six-game winning streak snapped last week at Alabama, but still have a chance to finish this season up with eight or nine wins.