Meet the Manning Finalists – Tony Pike park
Tony Pike (Cincinnati, Senior) led the Big East in total offense this season, averaging 263.1 yards per game. Despite missing nearly four full games due to injury, he still completed 184-of-293 passes for 2,350 yards with 26 touchdowns and just six interceptions. His pass efficiency rating of 155.4 is first in the conference and ninth nationally. He also leads the Big East with an average 261.1 passing yards per game. He threw for two or more touchdowns in every game in which he played this year, including three touchdowns and the game-winner with 33 seconds to go as the Bearcats topped Pitt to capture the Big East title in the season finale. Pike will lead Cincinnati to its first Sugar Bowl appearance, Jan. 1 on FOX at 7:30 p.m. CT. Despite being their first time in the Sugar Bowl, Pike and the Bearcats are no strangers to New Orleans or the Superdome having played at Tulane six times and in the 2002 New Orleans Bowl in the ‘Dome.
The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in honor of the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that takes into consideration the candidates' bowl performances.
The first five winners of the Manning Award reads like a Who's Who list at the quarterback position. USC's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the award in 2005, followed by Texas' Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL's No. 1 draft pick. Boston College's Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. Last season's winner was Florida's Tim Tebow, who is making his bid to become the first two-time winner of the honor this year.