After a week off on vacation in Big Sur, our Pac-12 Friday miniseries for college football in the Conference of Champions and its Midwest brethren—the B1G—returns to analyze the 2006 season this week. This was an interesting year for both conferences, although probably most remembered for the Michigan-Ohio State matchup at the end of the regular season that enabled more BCS bullshit.
On with the show, folks!
2006 Pac-10 MVP: Marshawn Lynch, RB, California & Daymeion Hughes, CB, California (original); John David Booty, QB, USC (revised)
The USC Trojans won a fourth-straight conference title, after tying with California at 7-2 in the league standings. USC’s head-to-head victory over the Golden Bears gave them the tiebreak, while Oregon State came in third place one game behind. The voted MVPs both came from the Cal roster: running back Marshawn Lynch (1,684 yards and 15 TDs) and cornerback Daymeion Hughes (8 INTs, 2 TDs).
Trojans quarterback John David Booty also deserves some recognition after topping the conference in every meaningful passing category. He also played without a real running game in support, as the USC leader in rushing managed only 744 yards. Meanwhile, Cal had the second-ranked QB and a 1,000-yard receiver, giving the Golden Bears a more balanced attack overall.
The Beavers also had a balanced attack, so we look at Booty for our MVP, although what about Hughes? The Golden Bears also had the league leader in tackles on its team (linebacker Desmond Bishop), while no player from USC cracked the league’s Top 10 in that category. We see Booty, therefore, as the MVP of the Pac-10 here.
2006 B1G MVP: Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State & Lamarr Woodley, DL, Michigan (original); Smith (revised)
Ohio State won The Game at the end of the year, while Michigan and Wisconsin both finished with 7-1 records in league play. All three teams finished in the Associated Press poll’s Top 8 for the season, after the bowls. Buckeyes QB Troy Smith (161.9 QB rating) and Wolverines defensive lineman Lamarr Woodley (12 sacks, 4 FFs, 1 TD) won the MVP votes. Smith also won the Heisman Trophy, as well.
Smith only had one teammate crack 1,000 yards from scrimmage, so there was a lot of value in his game, and while Woodley was good, he had a lot of great teammates, too. We see Smith as more valuable than Woodley, but what about anyone on the Badgers? RB P.J. Hill topped the league in rushing (1,569) and scrimmage yards (1,766), as well as TDs (16) while playing with the second-best QB in the league.
But Hill barely edged out Michigan RB Michael Hart for both yardage titles, while Smith had an 18-point edge on Wisconsin QB John Stocco in QB efficiency rating. We’re going to go with Smith here as our sole league MVP. He did lead his team to victories over 4 ranked teams in the regular season on the way to an undefeated record heading into bowl season.
2007 Rose Bowl MVP: Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC & Brian Cushing, LB, USC (original); Booty (revised)
Ohio State ended up getting torched in the BCS Championship Game, while USC beat Michigan again in the Rose Bowl. We will go with the traditional matchup here, as the Trojans’ 32-18 victory featured the voted MVPs, USC wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett and USC LB Brian Cushing.
The game was tied at 3-3 in the third quarter, before the Trojans erupted for 16 points to take a commanding lead into the final 15 minutes of play. Booty tossed 4 second-half TDs, including 2 to Jarrett, while Cushing had 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. The big play of the game was the 62-yard TD pass from Booty to Jarrett in the fourth quarter (29:10 mark) that all but buried the Wolverines for good.
Overall, the USC defense had six sacks, so it was a team effort. Booty threw for 391 yards without an INT in the game, as the Trojans barely averaged 2 yards per running attempt. Booty won this game, really, and while Jarrett played a big role, it was still Booty directing the offense and making the throws. We give him our MVP hardware here.