The end of the entertaining 1980s has arrived on Pac-12 Friday as this miniseries progresses forward in its effort to catch up to the present day at some point in the calendar year 2022. The Conference of Champions and the B1G really did not figure into the mythical national championship chase this time out, but we know the Rose Bowl always is the Granddaddy of Them All, no matter what.
This season was the first one where we ourselves were in college, so it means a lot to us: Enjoy!
1989 Pac-10 MVP: Steve Broussard, RB, Washington State (original); Ricky Ervins, RB, USC (revised)
The USC Trojans once again won the conference, this time with a 6-0-1 league mark, as Washington State running back Steve Broussard won the MVP vote despite playing on a team that went just 3-5 in Pac-10 play. We will have a hard time confirming that award, as Trojans RB Ricky Ervins topped the conference in both rushing (1,395) and scrimmage yards (1,616).
Broussard was second in both categories, while topping everyone in scrimmage touchdowns (16), but again, his value was minimal on a seventh-place team. Anyone else to consider? Not really. Another factor in Ervins’ favor was the reality that the top-rated passer in the Pac-10 was Cougars quarterback Aaron Garcia with a 139.1 efficiency rating. So, Ervins carried a bigger load for a better team.
1989 B1G MVP: Anthony Thompson, RB, Indiana (original, confirmed)
The Michigan Wolverines went through the B1G schedule undefeated, finishing ahead of the Illinois Fighting Illini by one game. Once again, though, Indiana Hoosiers RB Anthony Thompson took home the MVP hardware, although his team finished 3-5 in league play. We confirmed his vote win last year, surprisingly; will we do it again? Who else is a good candidate for the trophy?
Thompson dominated the statistical charts again, totaling 1,994 total yards and scoring 25 times. Neither the Wolverines or the Illini had a dominant star player, which means in the absence of better candidates, we will confirm Thompson’s award … again. He did finish second in the Heisman voting, which is another conversation for another day, of course.
1990 Rose Bowl MVP: Ricky Ervins, RB, USC (original, confirmed)
The Trojans atoned for two straight Rose Bowl defeats with a 17-10 win over the No. 3-ranked Wolverines, and Ervins was named the game’s Most Valuable Player at the time for gaining 126 yards on 30 carries—and scoring the game-winning TD in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The USC defense held the Michigan offense to just 234 yards of total offense.
Last season’s Rose Bowl MVP, Wolverines RB Leroy Hoard, had another good game with 108 yards on just 17 carries. But he didn’t score; his team lost; and he just didn’t touch the ball enough to garner consideration here. Blame that on Michigan Head Coach Bo Schembechler, who ranted and raved about the officiating after the game, instead of pondering why he finished his career 2-8 in Rose Bowls.
Perhaps if Bo had given Hoard the ball 30 times like USC utilized Ervins, the result would have been different. We will never know, will we? Either way, we confirm Ervins’ vote win, as he was the dominant player on the winning team—and was directly responsible for the Trojans victory.