Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Pac-10 superlative tracker
By Ted Miller
Tracking the offensive, defensive and coach of the year races in the Pac-10.
Offensive Player of the Year
1. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon: James rushed 28 times for 126 yards with two touchdowns in the Ducks' win over Arizona. He also caught three passes for 20 yards. He leads the nation in rushing yards per game (154.8) and his 19 rushing touchdowns rank second. James is the top player for a team on track for its first national title game.
2. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: Luck completed 21 of 30 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-0 win over Oregon State. He's the nation's seventh-rated passer with 28 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He's completing 70.2 percent of his passes. He's also rushed for 438 yards and three touchdowns. He has led a program that went 1-11 in 2006 to a likely BCS bowl berth.
3. Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon: He ranks 21st in the nation in passing efficiency -- leading the nation's No. 2 team -- and is second in the Pac-10 with 26 touchdown passes. He's also rushed for 496 yards and five TDs.
Defensive Player of the Year
1. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State: While the Beavers' defense has struggled, it's not because of Paea, who has commanded double-teams all season. And he's surged of late. He's fourth in the conference with seven sacks, tops among interior defensive linemen. He also has 11 total tackles for a loss and four forced fumbles, which is tied for first in the conference.
2. Brandon Bair, DT, Oregon: He's second in the Pac-10 with 15.5 tackles for a loss. He also has six pass breakups.
3. Cameron Jordan, DE, California: The potential first-round NFL draft pick has 12.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks and has forced three fumbles.
4. Mason Foster, LB, Washington: He leads the Pac-10 with 12.5 tackles per game, with 9.5 coming for a loss. He's also forced two and recovered two fumbles. The recent improvement of the Huskies' defense helps his candidacy.
6. Ricky Elmore, DE, Arizona: He leads the conference with eight sacks, but he hasn't recorded a sack in the past three games, losses to Stanford, USC and Oregon.
6. Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA: The All-American candidate and likely first-round NFL draft pick has recorded 9.5 tackles for a loss, including four sacks, with two interceptions and he's forced and recovered two fumbles. He's been pretty quiet over the second half of the season.
7. Kenny Rowe, DE, Oregon: Rowe ranks fifth in the conference with six sacks and fifth with 12 tackles for a loss. He also has forced four fumbles.
8. Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon: Harris has scored five TDs this year without playing offense. He leads the Pac-10 with five interceptions and 19 pass defenses. But he's still searching for consistency (see the Arizona game).
Coach of the Year
1. Chip Kelly, Oregon: The Ducks are undefeated, ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings and No. 1 both major polls. They are one Civil War win from playing for the national title. But there are credible rumors that Kelly invented the annoying phrases "It is what it is" and "At the end of the day."
2. Jim Harbaugh, Stanford: Stanford is ranked fourth in the BCS standings and likely will play in a BCS bowl game. Harbaugh believes, however, that if he takes a bite (or two) of his wife's dessert, the lack of certain ownership means those calories don't count for him.