Midseason Pac-12 football awards and bold predictions for the second half of the 2016 college football season.
Top Pac-12 Coach
Jonathan Bass – Chris Petersen. The preseason narrative was all about the defense, but as the season has worn on Washington’s offense – balanced by running back Myles Gaskin and quarterback Jake Browning – has taken the conference by storm.
Brian Stultz – Chris Petersen. Washington is one of the most complete teams in the country as Petersen has built a national contender.
Jeff Bartl – Chris Petersen, and it’s really not even close. It’s amazing how he’s turned the program around.
Matt Stanford – Petersen’s been great, but I have to go with Mike MacIntyre. Colorado has a legit shot to win the South after more than a few years of being the doormat of the Pac-12. Oh, and he’s done it with having to deal with injuries to starting QB Sefo Liufau.
Top Pac-12 Player
Jonathan Bass – Jake Browning. A 72.2 completion percentage, 23 touchdowns to only two interceptions, all while leading a top-five team and crushing the souls of Oregon and Stanford.
Brian Stultz – Wazzu quarterback Luke Falk. He’s making Pullman the most exciting place to be in Eastern Washington on Saturdays.
Jeff Bartl – Jake Browning. He leads the nation in passer rating and has made a huge jump from his freshman to sophomore year.
Matt Stanford – I’m going with the entire UW front seven. The Huskies defensive front has dominated this season, suffocating opponents and setting up the offense with short fields.
Top Pac-12 Team
Jonathan Bass – Washington. The Huskies are the conference’s only complete team.
Brian Stultz – Washington. The Huskies are evoking memories of the early 90s.
Jeff Bartl – Washington. Funny I thought I’d be writing Stanford in this spot.
Matt Stanford- Washington. For now. Apple Cup could be the Pac-12 game of the decade.
Jonathan Bass – Clay Helton. Helton was left for dead heading into October. He switched out quarterbacks and the Trojans look like a completely different team. Helton should be lauded for pulling his team out of a complete nosedive.
Brian Stultz – Colorado. Mike MacIntyre has the Buffaloes at 5-2 and in contention for the Pac-12 South.
Jeff Bartl – Washington State. The fact the Cougars are 3-0 in Pac-12 play considering how they started – a loss to Eastern Washington in the opener followed by a loss at Boise State – is pretty surprising. And that run includes trouncing Stanford on the road.
Matt Stanford – USC QB Sam Darnold. He started the year as a backup and all he’s done is win three Pac-12 games and throw 13 touchdowns. It appears the Trojans have their quarterback of the future, and the present.
Jonathan Bass – Josh Rosen. He’s not getting much help from the running game, but Rosen has hardly looked the part of the phenom first round lock that everyone lauded him as throughout last year and the offseason. Boasting one of the conference’s worst completion percentages (59.3) and a pedestrian touchdown/interception ratio (10 to 5), Rosen is the personification of a sophomore slump.
Jeff Bartl – It has to be Oregon. A drop-off might’ve been expected, but definitely not to the point of Mark Helfrich being run out of Eugene.
Brian Stultz – Oregon. How have the Ducks fallen so quickly? Oregon is 2-4 after a 70-21 demolishing by Washington.
Matt Stanford – Josh Rosen/Jim Mora. Rosen entered the season with talk about Heisman contention. He played well in a loss to Texas A&M, but hasn’t exactly put his team on his back. Jim Mora has to shoulder some of the blame for not being able to figure out how to fix a rushing attack that is by far one of the worst in the conference. It’s a bad combination for a team that had CFP hopes heading into the season.
Bold Prediction For Second Half
Jonathan Bass – Oregon wins out, makes the Holiday Bowl and Mark Helfrich keeps his job.
Jeff Bartl – Colorado plays in the Pac-12 title game. The Buffaloes don’t have Washington on the schedule, while Utah, USC and Arizona State all do. If Colorado gets past Stanford this week, it’s a relatively clear shot to the championships game against the Huskies.
Brian Stultz – Washington runs the table and makes the College Football Playoff.
Matt Stanford – Washington State runs the table and earns a spot in Pasadena for the third time since 1997. It’s all on the table for the Cougs. Get past a road game at Colorado and you get the Huskies at home with all the marbles on the line. It doesn’t get better.
Who Wins The Pac-12?
Jonathan Bass – Hasn’t Washington already won it?
Jeff Bartl – Washington, on its way to the College Football Playoff.
Brian Stultz – Washington.
Matt Stanford – Washington State. Despite a horrendous start, everything is still on the table in Pullman.