It's a definite downer if you are a college football fan at the moment, as for the first time in months there are no college football games on television. The end of the year, though, always brings the post-season awards and accolades, so I figured that I would hand out my own awards this year via my own personal All-SEC team. The defense will be posted later, but for now let's look at the offense.
Tackle: Andre Smith (Alabama, sophomore). Most considered it a bit of a down year for the big man from Huffman, but nevertheless Smith was the best tackle in the conference. The fact that Smith won the award for the SEC's top lineman in a coach's vote only speaks to the fact of how good he really is as a player, considering most thought it was a "down" year for him. Barring serious injury, there is simply no way this guy misses out on huge money in the NFL.
Tackle: Michael Oher (Ole Miss, junior). Oher may be one of the most interesting players in the conference in terms of personal background, but don't let that fool you regarding his on-field ability. Oher played at a very high level all year long, and the only thing that kept him from more recognition was the fact that he was stuck on a terrible team.
Guard: Herman Johnson (LSU, junior). Largely thought to be the biggest baby ever born in the state of Louisiana, Johnson is highly talented but has struggled to keep his weight under control. He finally got the weight in check this year, and the thinned-down Johnson became a mauling run-blocker. He was the key to many of the big runs from Jacob Hester, and he is easily the most important cog in the Tigers rushing attack.
Guard: Robert Felton (Arkansas, senior). The big man from Houston was one of the few returning starters on the Arkansas offensive line this year, and he did not disappoint. He was an extremely effective blocker in the running game, and his great play was one of the major keys to the massive amount of success that McFadden and Jones enjoyed this season.
Center: Jonathon Luigs (Arkansas, junior). The easiest of all of the selections goes to Luigs, who just won the Rimington Award, symbolic of the nation's top center. He was the undisputed leader of the Hogs line, and was a key cog in their vaunted rushing attack.
Tailback: Darren McFadden (Arkansas, junior). I've made the case for the past two seasons now that McFadden is the most dominant tailback to have came into the SEC since Bo Jackson, and I think his performance validated that this year. McFadden was lethal in the running game, and he was highly effective as a quarterback in the Wildhog formation. We should all be very thankful that we've likely seen McFadden for the last time. It may be a very long time before we see a talent like this again.
Fullback: Jacob Hester (LSU, senior). Hester probably does not deserve to be here, simply because he mainly played tailback and his time at fullback was relatively limited. However, when he played there, Hester did quite well at fullback, and there were really no other true fullbacks that I felt deserved the nod. Moreover, as valuable as Hester was to LSU, you almost have to find a spot for him somewhere.
Tight End: Jacob Tamme (Kentucky, senior). The big man in Lexington was easily the most valuable tight end in the SEC this season. His size and agility made him one of Andre Woodson's favorite targets, and he created match-up problems for every defense that he faced all season.
Wide Receiver: Demetrius Byrd. (LSU, junior) No receiver in the conference came up bigger on down the stretch than did Byrd. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Auburn, had a huge touchdown catch against Alabama, and kept LSU in the Arkansas game with big catches. Simply put, without Byrd LSU would not be playing in the national championship game. He has incredible size, speed, and great hands. He's not the most heralded guy around, but he played better than any other receiver in the conference in the second half of the season. We should all be glad he was a JUCO player with only one year of eligibility left. And we should all hope he declares for the NFL Draft early.
Wide Receiver: Lucas Taylor (Tennessee, junior). Someone needed to step up for the Vols at wide receiver after the attrition from last year's receiving corps, and Taylor did just that. He broke out early to became Erik Ainge's favorite target, and racked up over 70 catches for 1,000 yards in the process. His big performances against Vanderbilt and Kentucky were largely the reason that the Vols made it to Atlanta.
Quarterback: Tim Tebow (Florida, sophomore) . Simply put, Tim Tebow is unlike anything we've ever seen in this conference. He brings a combination of passing ability mixed with the running abilities of a fine tailback, and put together he is simply a one-of-a-kind player, the likes of which we will probably never see again. He put the Gators on his back week after week, and without him they probably lose at least another two or three games. Mark my words, he will win the Heisman Trophy tomorrow night, and will become the first ever sophomore to take the trophy. And it will be well deserved.