- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Our countdown of the top 25 players in the 2012 season continues.
No. 4: Matt Scott, QB, Arizona
2012 numbers: Scott passed for 3,620 yards with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He rushed for 506 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
Preseason ranking: Unranked.
Making the case for Scott: It seems ranking Scott this highly is controversial among some of you. Simply: It shouldn't be. It's obvious. Scott, second-team All-Pac-12 behind a quarterback we've yet to rank, led the Pac-12 in total offense. No, that's not right. He led the Pac-12 in total offense by 50 yards per game. He ranked sixth in the nation in total offense. The next highest guy in the conference was UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley at No. 23.
Scott also led the Pac-12 in passing (301.7 yards per game). His offense, by the way, ranked second in the Pac-12 and seventh in the nation with 526.15 yards per game. He did that against perhaps the toughest schedule in the Pac-12 (the Wildcats' schedule misses were California and Washington State, and the nonconference schedule included Oklahoma State and 9-4 Toledo) and with a defense that could not be counted on to protect a lead.
Scott produced 485 yards of total offense and 48 points at Stanford. Stanford, owners of the No. 1 defense in the conference, gave up 336 yards and 17.2 points per game. While Oregon fans will note the goose egg the Wildcats had in Eugene, it's a worthy counter that the Ducks had 405 yards and 14 points against Stanford. In the upset win over USC when the Trojans still had a pulse, Scott passed for 369 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards and one score. He, in fact, probably played through a concussion while leading a comeback from a 15-point deficit. Clutch? He threw two touchdown passes in the final 46 seconds to steal an improbable win over Nevada in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
There are little things, too. Scott was sacked just 14 times despite leading the conference with 499 passing attempts. The Wildcats' line was solid, but if you watched Arizona this fall you saw a quarterback who sensed the pass rush perhaps better than any other in the conference. But, really, it comes down to this: The Pac-12 blog believes Scott was the most valuable player to any team in the conference. The Wildcats went 8-5 with Scott. They would have struggled to win more than four games without him.
No. 5: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
No. 6: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
No. 7: Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
No. 8: Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
No. 9: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
No. 10: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
No. 11: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
No. 12: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
No. 13: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
No. 14: Matt Barkley, QB, USC
No. 15: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
No. 16: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
No. 17: Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
No. 18: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
No. 19: David Yankey, OL, Stanford
No. 20: Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
No. 21: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
No. 22: Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
No. 23: Michael Clay, LB, Oregon
No. 24: Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
No. 25: Reggie Dunn, KR, Utah
1dCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill