Awards finalists: Predicting winners for CFB's top honors

Winners of many of college football's most prestigious postseason awards will be announced on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). The finalists for the honors include some of the top senior prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, as well as some elite underclassmen. The Heisman Trophy announcement will follow on Saturday. Here's a look at the finalists for each award, as well as a predictions for who will take home the hardware.

*Heisman Trophy (outstanding player) *

Finalists: Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Jabrill Peppers (Michigan), Dede Westbrook (Oklahoma).

Prediction: Jackson. While Jackson's play toward the end of the season opened the door for Watson, his offensive line gets some blame for that due to poor pass protection. He was simply too good for too long this year not to win the game's greatest individual honor. Watson has the next-strongest case.

*Maxwell Award (outstanding player) *

Finalists: Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Jabrill Peppers (Michigan).

Prediction: Jackson. The most exciting player in the game makes this decision relatively easy. The Louisville quarterback has lit up the competition at virtually every turn, notwithstanding some setbacks late in the season.

*Bednarik Award (defensive player) *

Finalists: Jabrill Peppers (Michigan), Jonathan Allen (Alabama), Myles Garrett (Texas A&M).

Prediction: Allen. The Alabama defensive lineman has been a dominant presence on a consistent basis this year, playing both the run and pass. Garrett's effectiveness has waned since an injury.

*Thorpe Award (defensive back) *

Finalists: Jourdan Lewis (Michigan), Adoree' Jackson (USC), Tre'Davious White (LSU).

Prediction: Lewis. Michigan's lockdown cornerback has played a huge role in the success of the Wolverines defense. Call his one-handed interception against Wisconsin his "Thorpe moment."

*O'Brien Award (quarterback) *

Finalists: Lamar Jackson (Louisville), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma).

Prediction: Watson. Just because Jackson has dazzled statistically doesn't mean he'll clean up every award he's up for. The Clemson junior led his team to a second consecutive College Football Playoff berth, and that counts extra.

*Biletnikoff Award (outstanding receiver) *

Finalists: Zay Jones (East Carolina), Austin Carr (Northwestern), Dede Westbrook (Oklahoma)

Prediction: Westbrook. Oklahoma's speedy deep threat has shredded Big 12 competition, and he got hot at the right time for both the Sooners and the award.

*Doak Walker Award (running back) *

Finalists: Dalvin Cook (FSU), Donnel Pumphrey (San Diego State), D'Onta Foreman (Texas).

Prediction: Foreman. In a sea of discontent in Austin, Foreman was a rock for the Texas offense. Cook and Pumphrey make it a difficult choice, however.

*Outland Trophy (interior lineman) *

Finalists: Cam Robinson (Alabama), Cody O'Connell (Washington State), Pat Elflein (Ohio State).

Prediction: Elflein. Ohio State's center has been more consistent this season than Robinson, and has been invaluable to the Buckeyes' rushing attack.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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