We should get this out of the way early: Yes, C.J. Brown was injured throughout the year, missed time -- and at times, didn't play well when healthy -- but he was still the key to the offense for Maryland this year.
When Brown was rolling, the Terps were rolling.
Look at Maryland's six wins with Brown under center: 91-for-149 (61.1 completion percentage) for 1,437 yards (239.5 per game) with 543 yards rushing (90.5 per game) with 21 total touchdowns.
Keep in mind, he was the key player in two wins after he lost his starting receivers and his left tackle.
Brown was the offensive catalyst and managed to perform at a high level even when defenses would scheme to take him out of the game. He was a perfect fit for the read-option style Randy Edsall and Mike Locksley drew up this year.
Brown had obvious limitations, he's not going to be able to sit back in the pocket and pick you apart. That's just not his game. He didn't always get great protection and had times when his receivers were plagued by drops, but he did just enough in the passing game to open up the running game.
The threat of the run was enough to keep most teams off-balance on defense when Brown was healthy. Brown was the best running threat on the team, and while Brandon Ross and Albert Reid both had their best games without Brown in the lineup, Brown still managed to shred defenses and put points on the board when healthy.
Again, "when healthy" is the key to my argument. He was knocked out in the first half of the Florida State game, missed Virginia before being benched against Wake Forest (when he clearly wasn't healthy) and missed the Clemson game.
He missed six quarters against Maryland's two best opponents, and while him playing may not have altered the outcome against the ACC Champions, there is a debate if a healthy Brown would have been able to knock off Clemson.
The Wake Forest game was an utter debacle and one everyone in the program would like back. Likewise with the Syracuse game, just without the massive injuries.
I'll concede that some of the defensive players in this series will have had more consistent seasons, but if we are talking about who is most valuable to the team -- and after all, isn't that what the MVP is?* -- Brown was the player that did more to help this team win.
And honestly, you or I could have quarterbacked this team to a win over Virginia.
Brown has a year of eligibility left after this season, and he's definitely not leaving school early for the draft. With Brown back under center and a healthy receiving corps returning, Brown could repeat as the Team MVP in 2014.
*It turns out that, in fact, MVP stands for Most Valuable Player.