It’s time for 1993 on Pac-12 Friday as we examine another season of college football for the Conference of Champions and its Midwest brethren, the B1G. We don’t have any true contenders for the mythical national championship this year, but we all know that never matters when the Granddaddy of Them All is still the big prize at the end of the journey.
1993 Pac-10 MVP: J.J. Stokes, WR, UCLA (original); Napoleon Kaufman, RB, Washington (revised)
A three-way tie atop the conference at 6-2 between Arizona, UCLA, and USC was fun to watch, with Washington just a game behind at 5-3. Bruins wide receiver J.J. Stokes—who would miss most of his senior season in 1994 with a thigh bruise before being a major NFL draft bust—won the MVP vote as he caught 82 passes for 1,181 yards and 17 touchdowns … pretty heady numbers, for sure.
But Trojans WR Johnnie Morton was better: 88 catches for 1,520 yards and 14 TDs. It’s odd Stokes won the vote when he wasn’t even close to being the best at his position among the conference MVP candidates. Also in the mix? Huskies running back Napoleon Kaufman, with 1,428 scrimmage yards and 14 TDs as well, he topped the league in rushing yards, too (1,299).
Kaufman played with the worst quarterback of the bunch, carrying the load for a team that just missed out on that tie atop the conference standings, so we’re going to reward him for that value by giving him our nod here, over Morton. We’re not really sure what people saw in Stokes, in truth … then or now.
1993 B1G MVP: Brent Moss, RB, Wisconsin (original); Raymont Harris, RB, Ohio State (revised)
The B1G was almost as close at the top, with a tie between Ohio State and Wisconsin (6-1-1 conference records), with Penn State—in its first year playing with this group—finished 6-2 in league action. Wisconsin RB Brent Moss, the first in a long line of interchangeable Badgers backs, won the MVP hardware while running for 1,637 yards and 16 TDs.
Yet Wisconsin had a loaded offense, with the top-rated QB and another RB with over 1,100 yards from scrimmage. So how valuable was Moss? The Badgers also had a wide receiver with 920 yards. Pick your poison, right? Meanwhile, Ohio State RB Raymont Harris (1,399 scrimmage yards, 12 TDs) did a lot more on his own to help the Buckeyes to the tie atop the standings.
With lesser help all around at the other key offensive positions, we view Harris as being more valuable, despite having lesser stats. His QB, for example, posted an efficiency rating more than 30 points lower than the Wisconsin QB did. That alone seals this discussion on value in favor of Harris.
1994 Rose Bowl MVP: Moss (original, confirmed)
The Bruins won the Pac-10 tiebreak by virtue of a head-to-head victory over the Wildcats, while the Badgers won the tiebreak with the Buckeyes for the bowl bid, since they hadn’t been to the Rose Bowl in 30 years. Wisconsin then beat UCLA, 21-16, in Pasadena, after jumping to a 14-3 halftime lead and holding on in the fourth quarter to win the game, and Moss was voted the game’s MVP.
Interestingly enough, Stokes set Rose Bowl records for receptions (14) and receiving yards (176), and Moss piled up 158 rushing yards while rushing for those 2 first-half touchdowns. Stokes’ stats were compiled in catch-up mode, obviously, and Moss clearly was the reason the Badgers took the lead and were able to hang on to it. Overall, Wisconsin ran for 250 yards on the ground.
Wisconsin’s defense deserves some credit, too, for although it gave up 500 yards, it also forced and recovered 5 Bruins fumbles on the day! But we will stick with Moss for the MVP here, as he was the perfect offensive weapon for the Badgers on this day.