Our Pac-12 Friday miniseries hits the last year of the 1990s in college football for the Conference of Champions and its Midwest brethren, the B1G. Neither league really figured into the mythical national championship this season, but we all know that doesn’t really matter much in this space. Everyone loves the Rose Bowl for being … well, the Rose Bowl!
Enjoy our take on these award analyses for 1999.
1999 Pac-10 MVP: Troy Walters, WR, Stanford & Deltha O’Neal, CB, California (original); Todd Husak, QB, Stanford (revised)
It was an off year for the league, as only one team finished in the Top 25 for the season—and it wasn’t Stanford, the conference champions (7-1 in league play). It was Oregon, which came in second place (6-2), tied with Washington. Cardinal wide receiver Troy Walters (1,456 receiving yards) and California Golden Bears cornerback Deltha O’Neal (9 interceptions, 6 touchdowns) were the voted MVPs.
Walters had the league’s top quarterback (Todd Husak) throwing to him, while the Golden Bears finished under .500 in conference action. So, why not Husak and his 142.6 efficiency rating instead of Walters? He also topped the league in yards per attempt (8.7) and TD passes (18), while finishing second in passing yards (2,688). Walters was his primary target, but Husak was pretty good elsewhere, too.
Stanford had no running game, and the next-best receiver totaled 853 yards. This put more pressure on Husak to deliver the ball to just a handful of legitimate targets, and while Walters was the primary one, we’re more inclined to go with Husak here as the field general. He also added 3 TDs rushing himself, so while we think O’Neal was the best player (with 1,263 total return yards), Husak was the most valuable.
1999 B1G MVP: Ron Dayne, RB, Wisconsin & Courtney Brown, DL, Penn State (original); Dayne (revised)
Wisconsin won the championship with a 7-1 mark, fueled by offensive MVP vote winner Ron Dayne (2,034 rushing yards and 20 TDs) at running back—our choice for the MVP last year. Defensively, the MVP was Penn State defensive lineman Courtney Brown (1 INT, 1 TD). Michigan and Michigan State tied for second with 6-2 records; the B1G had four different teams ranked in the Top 5 at some point.
It will be hard to find anyone to top Dayne: He won the Heisman, and he did so without any real help at QB. The Badgers did throw the ball 20 times a game, but they ran the ball 58 times a game, so that was all Dayne. Michigan QB Tom Brady (138.0 rating) was the top-rated passer, but he had a capable RB, while the Spartans had a nice set of triplets at their disposal. This award is all Dayne’s … again.
2000 Rose Bowl MVP: Dayne (original, confirmed)
Wisconsin won the Rose Bowl for the second straight time, 17-9, defeating Stanford, and Dayne was again named the game’s most valuable player while running for 200 yards and the go-ahead, game-winning TD in the third quarter—after the Cardinal led 9-3 at halftime. The Badgers threw the ball just 14 times for 105 yards, while running for 226 yards on 53 carries.
With 34 of those carries, clearly this was Dayne’s coronation atop the sport. At almost 6 yards per carry, all Wisconsin had to do was give him the ball. We confirmed his award, although the defensive effort from the Badgers side was impressive. Three different players made 9 tackles each, although none of them also had an INT or a sack. It was a group effort, so that makes it double easy to isolate Dayne.