Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Pac-10 superlative tracker
By ESPN.com staff
Tracking the offensive, defensive and coach of the year races in the Pac-10.
Offensive Player of the Year
1. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon: He leads the nation in rushing (166.38 yards per game) and has 17 rushing touchdowns, which is No. 1 in the national. He's a leading Heisman Trophy candidate and the star of the nation's No. 1 team.
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: He's seventh in the nation in passing efficiency leading the nation's sixth-ranked team and remains in the Heisman Trophy race. He's also rushed for 370 yards and three touchdowns.
3. Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon: He ranks 15th in the nation in passing efficiency -- leading the nation's No. 1 team -- and is tied with Luck for second in the Pac-10 with 22 touchdown passes. He's also rushed for 400 yards and four TDs.
Defensive Player of the Year
1. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona: He leads the conference with eight sacks, which is two more than anyone else. But he got shutout at Stanford, so he probably needs to get USC's Matt Barkley on Saturday to hold onto the top spot.
2. Brandon Bair, DT, Oregon: He's second in the Pac-10 with 13 tackles for a loss. He also has six pass breakups. And Oregon's defense continues to climb the statistical ladder.
3. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA: The All-American candidate and likely first-round NFL draft pick has recorded nine tackles for a loss, including four sacks, with two interceptions and he's forced and recovered two fumbles.
4. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon: Harris joins the list because he is now, apparently, a starter. While fans have been in love with his playmaking -- he's scored four TDs this year without playing offense -- Ducks coaches have grumbled about his tendency to freelance and not play within the scheme. Apparently, Harris is getting better at, to use coordinator Nick Aliotti's term, "conforming." And it's hard to ignore his five interceptions and 14 pass defenses, which both lead the Pac-10.
5. Mason Foster, LB, Washington: He leads the Pac-10 with 12.7 tackles per game, with 6.0 coming for a loss. He's also forced two and recovered two fumbles. The badness of the Huskies defense likely dooms his candidacy. (And makes it hard to know what to make of Huskies OLB Victor Aiyewa, who leads the Pac-10 with 16 tackles for a loss).
Coach of the Year
1. Chip Kelly, Oregon: The Ducks are undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings and both major polls. We did find someone who was unimpressed, though.
2. Jim Harbaugh, Stanford: Stanford is ranked sixth in the BCS standings and remains a Rose Bowl contender. The dominant performance on both sides of the ball versus Arizona indicated things are coming together at the right time for the Cardinal. There, however, are reports that archaeologists have discovered an ancient civilization where everyone was actually much more enthusiastic than Harbaugh.
3. Mike Stoops, Arizona: The loss at Stanford hurt. But if the Wildcats win-out, which would include a win at Oregon, Stoops could still win this honor.