Well, the Georgia Bulldogs fan's award rooting interests have never been clearer. Dawgs DE/LB Justin Houston joins Auburn Tigers DT Nick Fairley on the list of finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, annually given to the nation's best defensive player. Last year's winner was Nebraska Cornhuskers DT Ndamukong Suh.â†µ
The three other finalists are LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson, Clemson Tigers DE Da'Quan Bowers, and Boston College Eagles LB Luke Kuechly, meaning this one's in the bag for either the SEC or ACC. Houston is one of the longer shots of the bunch, playing for a team with a bad record and having few nationally televised dominant games or game-breaking big plays to stick in voters' minds. Bowers has him beat in sacks and tackles for loss per game, while Peterson and Fairley have made more memorable plays against top competition. I don't know anything about Kuechly, but I'm sure he's tackled a lot of running backs for three-yard gains. #journalismâ†µ
A Dawg last won the award in 1998, when CB Champ Bailey took home the honor. Houston and Kuechly are also on the finalists' list for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker.