If college football handed out NFL-style awards, here would be the midseason favorites to take home those prizes:
MVP - Trevone Boykin, TCU
The MVP question is always debatable, but the defining criteria is always this: Where would the team be without a particular player? Apply that to TCU and Boykin, and the answer is easy. The Horned Frogs would be a shell of themselves offensively without the senior quarterback, who is on a pace for 4,938 total yards in the regular season, and their College Football Playoff hopes would be nil.
Offensive Player of the Year - Leonard Fournette, LSU
The Tigers' sophomore rusher has been on a season-long tear that has him squarely in the Heisman Trophy conversation. He's already over 1,000 yards for the year (1,022), and although the schedule toughens late, 2,000 isn't out of his reach.
Defensive Player of the Year - Karl Joseph, West Virginia
Yes, Joseph is out for the year with a knee injury. But this is a midseason awards list, and nobody in the country played better defense in the first half of the season than the Mountaineers' safety. He picked off five passes in just four games and showed all the leadership that was expected of an experienced senior.
Offensive Rookie of the Year - Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
With apologies to UCLA's budding star at quarterback, Josh Rosen, Kirk's impact at TAMU has been remarkable. He's emerged as the No. 1 receiving target for Kyle Allen on an undefeated team (32-519-4), and he's managed to do it on a team already loaded with receiving talent. Add to that, he leads the entire country in punt returns with an eye-popping 27-yard average.
Defensive Rookie of the Year - Cameron Smith, USC
How many freshmen lead a Power Five school in tackles? Smith is well on his way to doing just that, having piled up 42 stops, 11 more than the team's best defensive upperclassman, Su'a Cravens. There are those who have made more big plays -- Missouri's Walter Brady already has six sacks -- but Smith's has been the more consistent down-to-down presence at linebacker.
Coach of the Year - Jim McElwain, Florida
There's one team in the AP top 10 that nobody saw coming in August, and it's the Gators. At 6-0, Jim McElwain has made believers out of a team that didn't know what to believe a year ago under Will Muschamp. McElwain's managed to win despite an offensive line that looked in the spring like it could be one of the SEC's worst, plus a youngster at quarterback.
Comeback Player of the Year - Deshaun Watson, Clemson
After a series of injuries last year finally ended with a serious one (torn ACL), the dual-threat sophomore quarterback came back this year without any lingering effects. He's completed 69 percent of his passes in leading the Tigers to a 5-0 mark, and in the only game he struggled to throw (against Notre Dame) he made up for it with his best rushing performance of the year.
Other superlatives and notables of the first half of the season:
Most overhyped - Devonte Fields, Louisville
If you thought the transfer defensive end would be able to summon his 2012 form, when he was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year at TCU, for Bobby Petrino, you thought wrong. Fields is still looking for his first sack.
Most underrated - Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
On a team with Speedy Noil, the aforementioned Christian Kirk and other impressive receiving talents, Reynolds' consistent production is too easily overlooked. He's averaging 21.5 yards per catch, best on the Aggies roster.
Most overrated team - Oregon
So much for the notion that Vernon Adams would step right in for Marcus Mariota and keep the team in Pac-12 contention.
Most underrated team - Michigan
The Wolverines defense has grown into a lights-out group as Jim Harbaugh continues to lead a first-year turnaround.
Best JuCo transfer - Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
The nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly can make every throw on the field with real velocity, and has the weapons around him to beat anybody.
Three most costly injuries - Taysom Hill, BYU QB; Myles Jack, UCLA LB; Karl Joseph, West Virginia DB
It's been a brutal first half of the season where injuries are concerned, but these three probably dealt the biggest blows to the team. All three are done for the season.