Pac-12 superlative tracker

September, 12, 2012
9/12/12
9:00
AM ET
It's early -- very -- but we're going to start tracking the offensive, defensive and coach of the year races in the Pac-12. Expect these to change extensively before we hit midseason.

For a more thorough look at offense, re-read our Heisman Trophy update.

Offensive player of the year

1. Matt Barkley, QB, USC: He's the nation's top Heisman Trophy candidate. He's already thrown 10 touchdown passes, including six last weekend against Syracuse. Ninth in the nation in passing efficiency.

2. De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon: He's averaging 16.6 yards per rush and has already scored five touchdowns -- three running, two receiving.

3. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA: He leads the nation in rushing with 215.5 yards per game and is averaging 10.5 yards per carry. If Franklin even keeps close to his present pace into midseason -- and the Bruins keep winning -- his candidacy will get legitimate steam.

Keep an eye on: Arizona QB Matt Scott; UCLA QB Brett Hundley,;USC WR Marqise Lee; Oregon RB Kenjon Barner.

Defensive player of the year

1. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: While it hasn't been a good start for the Utes, Lotulelei has seven tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack and a forced fumble.

2. Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford: Thomas has 12 tackles, three for a loss and half a sack.

3. T.J. McDonald, S, USC: McDonald has 11 tackles, two for a loss and a pass breakup.

Keep an eye on: Chris Young, LB, Arizona State; Datone Jones, DE, UCLA; D.J. Welch, Oregon State.

Coach of the year

1. Lane Kiffin, USC: It's a rule: Win the national championship, get named Pac-12 coach of the year.

2. Chip Kelly, Oregon: A fourth consecutive Pac-12 crown remains the goal.

3. Mike Riley, Oregon State: If the Beavers make a significant jump from last year's 3-9 season, he'll be in the race.

Keep an eye on: Jim Mora, UCLA; Todd Graham, Arizona State; Rich Rodriguez, Arizona.

Ted Miller | email

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