Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Pac-12 superlative tracker
By Ted Miller
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.