The Big East is set to announce its conference awards Wednesday. So before the official announcement, I wanted to give you -- the loyal Big East blog readers -- a chance to voice your opinion.
I will have posts upcoming asking you to vote for your offensive, defensive and coach of the year in the Big East this season. Plenty of worthy candidates for all three awards.
Let's start with Offensive Player of the Year. I think there are four candidates who stood above the rest:
Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia. Bailey went into this season with 24 career receptions, and ended up shattering career and school marks with his most productive season. He finished the season with 67 catches for a school-record 1,197 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ranks No. 1 in the Big East in receiving yards, and set a school record with seven 100-yard games this season. Nine of his catches this season went for 40 yards or more. But his biggest, and best catch of the year saved the season against USF -- a 26-yarder on fourth down that got the Mountaineers into field goal range.
Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati. Pead finished second in the Big East in rushing with 1,110 yards, but led the league in touchdowns scored with 14 (11 rushing, three receiving). He also ranks second in the league in all-purpose yards with 1,429 and put together his best season yet after coach Butch Jones challenged him to work harder in the weight room this past summer to get himself in better shape. Pead ended up with a career-high 209 carries, but also reached career marks in rushing yards, receiving yards and total touchdowns.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers. Sanu set the Big East single-season record with 109 receptions this season, ranking No. 4 in the nation. Sanu also set a new Big East single-game record for receptions with 16 against Ohio and has seven 100-yard receiving games and six games with double-digit receptions in this season. Of his 109 receptions, 65 have gone for first downs to rank No. 2 in the nation.
Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. Smith leads the Big East with 3,978 yards passing, and needs just 47 yards to break the league's single-season passing mark of 4,024, set by Brian Brohm of Louisville in 2007. He threw for a career-high 25 touchdown passes, completed a career-high 65 percent of his passes and engineered several come-from-behind victories for West Virginia this season. Are there things he can do better in the offense? Absolutely. Dana Holgorsen has stressed that Smith hasn't even come close to reaching his potential in this offense. But for his first season, Smith did a top-notch job.
If you have another candidate, just nominate him in the comments section. I want to hear what you guys have to say.