With the final entry of the month for our Pac-12 Friday miniseries in college football with the Conference of Champions and its Midwest partner in perfect purity—the B1G—we take on the final season of the 2000s, which was the start of the shunning of reality in favor of corruption. Neither league was relevant in the MNC picture, fair or not, but we have fun here anyway, as you know.
Without any more fuss, let’s get to it …
2009 Pac-10 MVP: Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford & Brian Price, DL, UCLA (original); Gerhart (revised)
The Oregon Ducks broke the 7-year stranglehold on the conference title by the USC Trojans, as they finished 8-1 and 2 games clear of any contenders. The Trojans ended up 5-4 in league play, by the way. The voted MVPs were Stanford running back Toby Gerhart (2,046 total yards and 30 TDs) and UCLA defensive lineman Brian Price (23.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, 2 FFs).
The Cardinal finished 6-3 in conference play, while the Bruins were under .500, so is there any candidate from a contender here to measure up to Gerhart? Not really. The best Ducks were RB LaMichael James (1,714 yards and 14 TDs) and DL Kenny Rowe (15 TFLs, 11.5 sacks, 3 FFs)—good seasons, for sure, but not difference makers. Oregon suffers here from quality across the board, basically.
In truth, Gerhart should have won the Heisman Trophy (or so we felt at the time), and that will be settled in a few months’ time from now. At this moment, though, we give him the solo MVP nod since his season was the best one for a contending team. Rowe’s season is a close second, but the Ducks were only fourth in points allowed among conference teams, so that’s not impactful enough.
2009 B1G MVP: John Clay, RB, Wisconsin & Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State (original); Pat Angerer, LB, Iowa (revised)
The Ohio State Buckeyes emerged as B1G champs, by one game over Iowa and Penn State—with Northwestern and Wisconsin finishing two games back. That’s a bunched-up group at the top, with Badgers RB John Clay (1,578 scrimmage yards and 18 TDs) and Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones (14 TFLs, 9 sacks, 1 FF) winning MVP honors at the time. MSU was just 4-4, so Jones is out.
No one on the Buckeyes stood out, while Penn State had a top-2 quarterback and a top-2 RB. But Wisconsin had the top QB and the top RB. We actually like Iowa LB Pat Angerer (5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FF) here, as the Hawkeyes had no offensive stars, and he was second in the conference for total tackles behind Jones. Iowa gave up just 15.4 points a game, which was eighth nationally.
How else does a team finish 7-2 in conference play when scoring just 23.2 ppg, second-worst mark in the B1G? Angerer may not have been the best player, but we think he was the most valuable, in truth, because making 145 tackles for the season means you’re all over the field from start to finish.
2010 Rose Bowl MVP: Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State & Rowe (original); Ross Homan, LB, Ohio State (revised)
The Buckeyes beat the Ducks, 26-17, in the Granddaddy, and the voted MVPs were Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor (338 total yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) and Rowe (4 TFLs, 3 sacks). We’re underwhelmed with Pryor, mostly due to the INT, as RB Brandon Saine (104 yards, 1 TD) and receiver Devier Posey (101 yards, 1 TD) had strong games for the winners. It was a group effort on offense for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State held the Ducks to just 260 total yards, and LB Ross Homan led the team with 12 tackles while also adding an INT to the equation. He also knocked down one pass on defense, as well. No other Buckeyes defender had more than 6 tackles. While the Ohio State offense struggled to do more than kick field goals for most of the game, Homan was leading the defense in its efforts to quell Oregon’s offense.
The Ducks passed for just 81 yards on the day, and their QB completed just 9 of his 20 attempts. Homan spearheaded that effort, and it helped the Buckeyes win this game despite briefly trailing in the third quarter as the Ohio State offense was very inconsistent—and we can’t reward Pryor for that.