Pac-12: Craig James

SMU’s legendary "Pony Express" backfield, Craig James and Eric Dickerson, have teamed up again for an award that recognizes college football's best tandem -- on either side of the ball -- the "Pony Express Award."

[+] EnlargeCraig James and Eric Dickerson
AP File PhotoRunning backs Craig James, left, and Eric Dickerson were dominant at SMU in the early 1980s.
The award, the press release said, "will look at two- and three-player tandems from across the nation, ultimately honoring the combination whose work ethic, desire, on- and off-field leadership and playmaking ability best fuel their team."

The award will be "voted on by a blue ribbon panel of experts that will form the award’s board of directors," and will be announced at the end of the regular season.

“Eric and I were able to complement each other on the field in such a way that together we formed a much more potent weapon than even our individual talents would have suggested,” James said in the release. “We have remained life-long friends, and each season we have always had fun talking about the great tandems that were making an imprint on the game that season. We decided someone should recognize these great combinations, and that really became the genesis of the Pony Express Award.”

Said Dickerson: “You usually talk about football in terms of offensive and defensive units and the individual standouts on either side of the ball. But if you look at those units, usually there are a couple of guys who stick out and really form a very tough matchup. The most obvious would be a great quarterback and a standout receiver. In Craig and mine’s case, it was two great running backs. On defense, it might be a pair of great safeties. These are the types of tandems we will be looking at.”

The 48 tandems on the "Watch List" include seven from the Pac-12, including two from both Stanford and Washington.

Stanford: QB Andrew Luck, WR Chris Owusu, TE Coby Fleener
Stanford: OT Jonathan Martin, OG David DeCastro
Arizona: QB Nick Foles, WR Juron Criner
Oregon: QB Darron Thomas, RB LaMichael James, RB Kenjon Barner
USC: QB Matt Barkley, WR Robert Woods
Washington: DT Alameda Ta'amu, LB Cort Dennison
Wasington: RB Chris Polk, WR Jermaine Kearse

Some that might have been worth adding:

Arizona State: LB Vontaze Burfict, DE Junior Onyeali
California: LB Mychal Kendricks, S Sean Cattouse
Colorado: RB Rodney Stewart, WR Paul Richardson
Oregon: CB Cliff Harris, S John Boyett
Stanford: LB Shayne Skov, S Delano Howell
Washington State: QB Jeff Tuel, WR Marquess Wilson

Checking out Pac-10 Heisman odds

June, 24, 2010
The Orlando Sentinel published the early odds coming out of Las Vegas on who will win the Heisman Trophy, and five Pac-10 players made the top-20.

The Pac-10 Heisman candidates are:
Alabama running Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, tops the list, but his chances will be hurt by touches given to sophomore backup Trent Richardson, who is an extraordinary talent (and the Crimson Tide backfield might be the best tandem since, well, the Pony Express with Eric Dickerson and Craig James in the early 1980s). Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is No. 2. To me, Pryor is the frontrunner.

As for the Pac-10 candidates, these odds make sense, though obviously Rodgers would be No. 1 if the odds were based on past achievement. But QBs have won eight of the past 10 Heismans and the two running backs who broke through -- USC's Reggie Bush in 2005 and Ingram in 209 -- both played for teams that were unbeaten and ranked No. 1 at the end of the regular season.

Putting up great numbers is only half of the Heisman formula. Winning is critical. So if Locker, Luck, Barkley, Rodgers or James are going to break through into legit candidates, their teams need to get into October-November with national rankings and impressive records.

Pac-10 Morning: Breaking down Week 2

September, 6, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

Game day links for ya. It's going to be a hot one here in Tempe: