2016 CollegeFootballNews.com Midseason Top Pac-12 Players, Coaches, Rankings, Games, Surprise & Disappointments
2016 Pac-12 Midseason Roundup & Analysis
It might not be going the way everyone thought it would, but it’s the best year for the Pac-12 since it was the Pac-10.
It might not be the best conference up top, but it’s the deepest of the Power 5 leagues from top to bottom, setting up what should be an insane second half of the season.
Stanford was supposed to need some rebuilding, and it’s showing, and Oregon has fallen off the map, but the rest of the league – especially after Oregon State’s win over Cal – has been surprisingly solid.
No, USC and UCLA haven’t been up to snuff, but Arizona State and Utah are each 5-1. Colorado was at the top of the South standings until last week’s loss to USC, and Arizona has been battling – it pushed Washington to overtime – even if the 2-4 start stinks.
Washington has turned into the big national story, with Chris Petersen’s program maturing into a killer. Washington State turned things around after a rocky start, Cal got a big win over Texas and has the O back rolling, and Stanford – despite the problems over the last two weeks – is still good enough to beat anyone left on the slate.
Pac-12 Midseason Offensive Player
QB Jake Browning, Soph. Washington
There might be more dynamic Pac-12 quarterbacks, and the defense is the star at Washington, but Browning has been the perfect fit for the offense cranking out 23 touchdown passes, just two picks, and completing 72% of his throws to go along with three rushing scores.
Pac-12 Midseason Defensive Player
LB Azeem Victor, Jr. Washington
Pick any one of a number of Washington defensive players and you probably have the player of the midseason. Victor leads the team in tackles as the steadying force for the great D. Others are getting it done in the backfield, and the Dawgs have their share of splashy killers, but Victor has been the rock against the run.
Pac-12 Midseason Top 10 Players
1. QB Jake Browning, Soph. Washington
2. QB Davis Webb, Sr. Cal
3. WR Chad Hansen, Jr. Cal
4. LB Azeem Victor, Jr. Washington
5. QB Luke Falk, Jr. Washington State
6. RB Royce Freeman, Jr. Washington
7. CB Adoree Jackson, Jr. USC
8. RB Christian McCaffrey, Jr. Stanford
9. DT Lowell Lotulelei, Jr. Utah
10. WR Tim Patrick, Sr. Utah
Pac-12 Midseason Coach Rankings
1. Chris Petersen, Washington
2. Todd Graham, Arizona State
3. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado
4. Kyle Whittingham, Utah
5. Sonny Dykes, California
6. Mike Leach, Washington State
7. Clay Helton, USC
8. David Shaw, Stanford
9. Rich Rodriguez, Arizona
10. Gary Andersen, Oregon State
11. Jim Mora, UCLA
12. Mark Helfrich, Oregon
Pac-12 Midseason Three Best Games
1. Utah 20, BYU 19, Sept. 8
2. Texas A&M 31, UCLA 24, OT, Sept. 1
3. San Diego State 45, California 40, Sept. 8
Pac-12 Midseason Best Surprise
Colorado. It’s Colorado – no one believed Mike MacIntyre when he said his team really and truly could compete for the Pac-12 title. Yeah, whatever. But the Buffs have been terrific offensively, the defense solid, and they’re 4-2 with the losses at Michigan and USC – nothing to get into a twist over.
Pac-12 Midseason Biggest Disappointment
Oregon. Who picked Oregon to rise up and win the Pac-12? (Hand raised.) The defense hasn’t come close to showing up, and while the offense has been okay, it hasn’t been the warp-speed killer of past years to pick up the slack. Now the Ducks might just be the worst team in the Pac-12 if they can’t start to come up with a few stops.
Pac-12 Midseason – We Were Right On …
Stanford. It was lazy for everyone to assume that Stanford could lose everyone but Christian McCaffrey and still be the killer it was at the end of last year. This is a rebuilding year for the Cardinal, and while they’re still good, they were never going to be strong enough, deep enough, or ready enough to be the CFP killer many thought they’d be.
Pac-12 Midseason – We Were Wrong On …
California. With Oregon right there, too. The wheels started to come off in the puzzling loss to Oregon State, and it might be really, really tough now to get to six wins and get to a bowl, but the Bears got the machine rolling early on and got by Texas and Utah to get into a solid position to be more than just competitive. But now the tests come USC and Washington after facing a desperate Oregon.