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To the victors goes the spoils.
Michigan on Monday saw the residual effect of its 10-win regular season and BCS berth presented in the form of two individual recognitions. Brady Hoke was named one of five finalists for Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, and senior David Molk made the final cut for the Rimington Trophy which recognizes the best center in college football.
Hoke could become the first Wolverines coach to win the award since Bo Schembechler in 1969. Lloyd Carr was a finalist in 1997 and 2006. The winner will be announced Dec. 15 and presented in New Orleans Jan. 8, the night before the BCS national championship game.
Hoke’s competition is LSU’s Les Miles, whose team is unbeaten entering the national title game against Alabama; Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, who led the school to its first outright Big 12 title and missed playing in the title game by a whisker; Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, whose Wildcats were picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 and finished eighth in the BCS standings; and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, whose Tigers won their first ACC title since 1991.
Hoke has built a strong case. The Big Ten coach of the year, he guided the Wolverines to a 10-2 record in his first season after a 7-6 mark in 2010, tying for the second-best win improvement by a first-year Michigan head coach.
Under his watch, the Wolverines beat Ohio State to snap a seven-game losing streak to the Buckeyes and advanced to a BCS game for the first time since 2006. In the Jan. 3 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Michigan will face Virginia Tech and 1999 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Frank Beamer.
Hoke’s defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, is a finalist for the Broyles Award, which will be presented Tuesday morning to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Mattison’s unit allowed 18 fewer points per game than in 2010 and jumped 100 spots in that national category to seventh.
Molk’s competition for the Rimington Trophy are: Clemson’s Dalton Freeman, Oklahoma State’s Grant Garner, Georgia’s Ben Jones, Wisconsin’s Peter Konz, and Alabama’s William Vlachos. The winner will be announced on ESPN on Thursday during an award show in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Molk, the Big Ten offensive lineman of the year, anchored a line that opened running lanes for 1,000-yard rushers Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint. Last week Molk was named first-team Big Ten by the coaches. The media, on the other hand, voted Konz on its first team.
“He is the best center in the country hands down,” Michigan defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen said of Molk. “I wish him all the best and I have confidence in the fact he’s going to be rewarded for the work he’s put in.”
COACHES VOTE: This is the first week of the season the top 25 vote submitted by coaches is made public. Hoke voted Michigan 11th — one spot better than it finished — and Michigan State 13th, which was in concert with the standings. Showing the most generosity to the Wolverines, voting them eighth, were Air Force’s Troy Calhoun, Fresno State’s Pat Hill, who was fired Sunday, and LSU’s Les Miles, a Michigan alumnus.
Showing Michigan the least love, at 18th, were Wake Forest’s Jim Grobe and San Diego State’s Rocky Long. Long did no favors to Hoke, his friend and former boss.
The Wolverines finished 12th in the Harris Poll, in which former coach Lloyd Carr voted them ninth.
Contact Ryan Autullo at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @RyanAutullo.