The Big College Football Trophy is a trophy SB Nation made up to celebrate the internet-friendliest things that happen on college football fields each weekend. We plan on making an actual trophy at some point and giving it away somehow. Here are this week's top performers.
Adam Butler, DT, Vanderbilt
UMass-Vandy was a maelstrom of sadness. Vanderbilt, comatose without James Franklin, was sad because it really should've lost to UMass, a team that's not good enough to stay in the MAC. UMass was sad because after a big lead, it lost when its kicker didn't get the right angle on a chip shot 22-yarder from the far hashmark.
And in that swarm of sadness, Butler found a moment of compassion:
That kicker, Blake Lucas, must've felt like such literal poop. UMass' FBS existence has been nothing but pain. They were 2-24 since joining FBS and had a chance to win a football game. Not just any football game, but a road game against a team in the vaunted SEC. (YES, WE KNOW IT'S VANDY.) All he had to do to give them a chance to win in overtime was hit the simplest kick.
Instead, he missed. They lost again. Vandy celebrated. His special teams coach got fired. Getting a hug from Butler probably didn't make him feel any better, but Butler could've just kept celebratin' in his face.
Alex Tardieu, P, Army
Don't mess with Army players. Even punters.
Talk about tough. Stanford defender ran into the Army punter. Army punter just flicks him aside. pic.twitter.com/mrXex4hw9f— Pacific Takes (@PacificTakes) September 13, 2014
Punting in and of itself is an act of surrender. There are multiple players on every football team whose job it is to trot out a few times a game and give the ball to the other team.
But your average joe punter is not a few years away from leading soldiers in the finest fighting force known to man. Alex Tardieu is, and that's why this Stanford defender got more than he reckoned for.
Desmond Jackson, DT, Texas
Life is hard enough as it is, and yet sometimes people try to make life more difficult. There have been about 5,656 attempted summits of Mt. Everest, with something like 223 deaths. That's about one in every 25 people. Four percent is a small percent in some situations, but in others, like unnecessary things that could kill you, it's pretty high! Every single day, I consciously choose not to climb Mt. Everest. Perhaps that makes me a coward.
Desmond Jackson sought a challenge:
Texas gave the ball to UCLA at the beginning of both halves. Texas lost by three. You can score three points in a possession. The Longhorns had one fewer possession because they gave the ball to UCLA at the beginning of both halves. The reason you typically try not to give the ball to the other team at the beginning of both halves is because you might lose because of it. Now Texas understands.
Football, like life, is hard enough as it is. Desmond Jackson made it harder, and his team did not summit.
And this week's frontrunner: Booker Mays, WR, Arkansas State
Booker T. Mays was a success story. Mays wasn't recruited out of high school, but he earned a scholarship before his redshirt freshman season at Arkansas State and actually contributed to the Red Wolves on offense. Now a sophomore, he has five catches for 59 yards on the season.
And then, suddenly, he became ill while lining up on a fake punt:
He was briefly reincarnated, but a Miami player blasted his zombie into oblivion:
After watching the Vines of the play a few hundred millions of times and laughing uncontrollably each time, we tried to come up with a hypothesis of what the purpose of Mays' fake heart attack was:
[Mays] is "covered" by the receiver below him on the line of scrimmage, making him an ineligible receiver. The WR going in motion uncovers the left tackle, allowing him to go downfield and receive the pass, which is the trick. It's a tackle-eligible play, which you can read about here. Technically, [Mays] is the right tackle, and if he ran downfield, the team would get penalized. But he could've done something more relevant than playing dead.
We were pleasantly surprised when Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson confirmed our hypothesis to Martin Rickman of SI, elaborating that the falling-over thing was just for laughs:
We were lined up in a formation where he was ineligible to go downfield. It was a tackle-over formation, so we couldn't send him downfield. We had to decide what we wanted to do with him. We thought we'd have a little fun, so we used what we call "The Fainting Goat Technique."
And we were even more surprised when Anderson described the dedication Mays put into acting:
Booker Mays is a kid who, all the guys on the team love him to death. He's got a great personality and a great sense of humor. Every day when we practiced it during the week it got better and better. He went all out on Saturday. He just went full on, completely stiff and laid out. Had the play worked it would've been a lot more fun obviously. But that particular technique had nothing to do with whether the play worked or not. It was strictly just for fun. We're willing to laugh at ourselves and have a good time. We do a lot of crazy stuff. We're just trying to keep the kids' energy up and smiling and laughing. It was a great way to have fun all week. He did a good job with it.
We commemorate this trophy to the memory of Booker Mays. In actuality, he's still alive. But for a few seconds, he died to make us laugh during a football game. And for that, we'll remember him.