The 2011 season marks the inaugural FBS Independent Player of the Week awards. But how are the weekly awards decided?
Once BYU football announced its move to go independent, a move was made to somehow recognize achievements among the four independent programs. When part of a conference, individual sports information departments submit nominations for each player in the offensive, defensive and special teams categories. Upon submission, a panel at conference headquarters then chose and announced the three players to be honored.
Without a conference a different process needed to occur. After speaking with Army, Navy and Notre Dame, it was decided that each school would recommend four media members to be part of a voting panel that would add two national writers who would vote on the three awards.
In the first four weeks of the award, all four schools have had at least one honoree, with Notre Dame leading the way with five awards. Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd has claimed the offensive award twice, helping the Irish take offensive honors three of the first four weeks.
BYU has thus far earned four recognitions, including two by sophomore linebacker Kyle Van Noy for his play against Ole Miss and UCF, respectively. The Cougars' other two honors have both come on special teams - kicker Justin Sorensen in week two for going 3 of 3 on field goals at Texas and kick returner Cody Hoffman in week four for his 129 return yards including a 93-yard return for a touchdown against UCF.
Last season, BYU had six MWC Players of the Week, including Riley Stephenson twice during the season, linebacker Brandon Ogletree midway through the season and Luke Ashworth, Andrew Rich and Mitch Payne each recognized after the Cougars' win at Colorado State.