Offensive player of the year: TCU QB Trevone Boykin
TCU’s offense was dreadful in 2013, but Boykin has taken over as full-time quarterback and performed quite nicely. He is second in the Big 12 in passing touchdowns and yards per game.
Boykin was mistake prone in his freshman and sophomore seasons, but now in his junior year, he seems to have put the pieces together. He has 21 touchdowns with just three interceptions through seven games.
His new throwing ability makes him incredibly dangerous because last season his biggest asset was his legs. Now, he has both options at his disposal. He has chosen to move the ball through the air most often this season, but opponents cannot forget about his ground game.
The Horned Frogs have two stout defenses left on their schedule in K-State and Texas. If Boykin continues to put up big numbers against those two, as well as in the other three games, he could find himself on the Heisman ballot at the end of the season.
Honorable mentions: West Virginia QB Clint Trickett, Baylor RB Shock Linwood
Defensive player of the year: Kansas LB Ben Heeney
Heeney has been a solid player for his entire career. He’s led his team in tackles in his sophomore and junior seasons and leads his team in tackles this season as well.
Heeney has taken his play to a new level in 2014. In just seven games, he has racked up 84 tackles and 10 tackles for loss. His 12 tackles per game are the most in the power five conferences. He also has 1.5 sacks and an interception on the season.
Heeney has great instincts that take him to the ball on nearly every play. He does not have elite athletic attributes, but he plays hard and makes every play that comes at him.
What is unfortunate for Heeney is that he’s the best player on a bad defense. His production gets overshadowed by the overall failures of the team. If he keeps up the level of play he has shown so far this season, it will be a shame if he does not earn numerous accolades.
Honorable mentions: TCU LB Paul Dawson, Baylor DE Shawn Oakman, Oklahoma DB Zack Sanchez
Coach of the year: West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen
What Holgorsen has done this season is nothing short of incredible. Last season, West Virginia was the second worst team in the Big 12. They only won four games the entire season. This year, the Mountaineers have won six of their first eight games. One of those games was an upset of previously undefeated Baylor.
Under Holgorsen’s leadership, senior quarterback Clint Trickett is having the best season of his career. In an injury riddled 2013 season, he had just one game that he threw more touchdowns than interceptions. This season, Trickett has just five interceptions and 17 touchdowns. It is easy to point to Holgorsen’s offensive mind as the reason for the turnaround.
West Virginia still controls their own destiny in the Big 12. They have just one conference loss and play the only undefeated conference team, K-State, on Nov. 20. The Mountaineers also have TCU on their schedule. Their other two games look like they could be fairly easy victories with Texas and Kansas.
Honorable mentions: TCU head coach Gary Patterson, K-State head coach Bill Snyder
Newcomer of the year: Baylor WR KD Cannon
If you look up explosive in the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, chances are you will see a picture of KD Cannon. He was a top recruit coming out of high school and has already shown why this season. The freshman leads Baylor in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
The Bears’ offense is elite, so Cannon is not the only talented player on the team. He’s just one part of a very good whole. It’s no small feat to lead Baylor in those categories. Cannon’s senior teammate Antwan Goodley was an All-American last season and led the Big 12 in receiving touchdowns.
Cannon is all about speed. He can burn any cornerback in the conference. He’s a dangerous player that should continue to make noise throughout conference play.
Honorable mention: Oklahoma State WR Tyreek Hill
Most intriguing storyline: K-State and TCU’s race for the Big 12 title
Most people expected that the Big 12 would be a two-team race in Oklahoma and Baylor. They also thought that the conference would be decided when the two teams face off on Nov. 8. Where those people were wrong was their prediction on what two teams would be playing in that game on that date. Instead of Baylor and Oklahoma, all eyes will be on K-State when it travels to Fort Worth to face TCU.
Both the Wildcats and Horned Frogs have huge games left on their schedule and if either of them run the table, the Big 12 should have a representative in the first College Football Playoff.
Austin Earl is a sophomore in fishing, wildlife and conservation biology.