On Pac-12 Friday this week, we see the Conference of Champions and its Midwest brethren, the B1G, once again getting a traditional Rose Bowl matchup, which is very nice to see as it may not be for long going forward. This was the 100th edition of the Pasadena event, too, so this season was very special. Overall, neither conference won our MNC, but there was a contender … and that was nice to see, too.
Let’s get to it!
2013 Pac-12 MVP: Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona & Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State (original); Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (revised)
Stanford (7-2) won the conference again, although Arizona State (8-1) and Oregon (7-2) were close to claiming it themselves. Offensive MVP candidates include Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (167.7 QB rating, 40 total touchdowns) and Cardinal running back Tyler Gaffney (21 rushing TDs, 22 scrimmage TDs). The Wildcats posted just a 4-5 record in league play, so Carey is out.
Any defensive candidates besides Sutton (13.5 TFLs, 4 sacks, 3 PDs, 1 INT)? Only Sun Devils linebacker Chris Young (112 tackles, 17.5 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, 2 FFs, 1 PD). But they’re teammates, so they cancel each other out, and we’re back to Mariota (who won this award from us last year) or Gaffney. We have to factor in the reality that Mariota tossed only 4 INTs in 386 attempts and ran for 715 yards, as well.
Gaffney was supported by the fourth-best QB in the league, while Mariota was supported by the seventh guy on the scrimmage yards list. Both teams tied for the Northern Division title, with Stanford winning the head-to-head matchup at home by 6 points. We see Mariota as doing more for a mostly equal team here, and that means more value. He gets this nod again—still with no Heisman votes, we might add.
2013 B1G MVP: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State & Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin (original); Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State (revised)
Michigan State (9-0) won the conference with a perfect record and became the first B1G team ever to win all its B1G games by double digits. Other contending teams were Ohio State (8-1) … and that’s it. The Spartans and the Buckeyes ran away with their respective divisions, and MSU won the championship game, 34-24. So we have Miller (158.1 QB rating, 36 total TDs) as our leading MVP candidate.
Spartans RB Jeremy Langford (19 scrimmage TDs) and Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier (144 TTs, 23.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, 4 FFs, 4 PDs) are contenders. The Buckeyes had the top-scoring offense in the league—but just the fifth-best scoring defense, so we see Shazier as more valuable than Miller. Meanwhile, MSU had the top scoring defense and the seventh-best scoring offense; Langford topped the B1G in scoring.
Think about that for a moment: The Spartans had a great team defense, with a lot of stars contributing to its dominance. But the offense still found a way to score enough to earn that historical distinction above—because of Langford, who finished fifth in conference for both rushing (1,422) and scrimmage yards (1,579). The MSU QB, Connor Cook, ranked sixth in the conference. Langford wins the value argument.
2013 Rose Bowl MVP: Cook & Kyler Ellsworth, LB, Michigan State (original); Denicos Allen, LB, Michigan State (revised)
In the 100th Granddaddy, Michigan State topped Stanford, 24-20, in a rugged game that was exciting to the end. Cook and Spartans LB Kyler Ellsworth won the MVP nods, but Cook had a terrible INT that was returned for a TD by Stanford—the Cardinal’s only TD after the first drive of the game, basically. We can’t reward Cook for that garbage; also, Ellsworth made just 4 tackles, including 1.5 TFLs.
Neither of them really deserves this award in our minds; Cook spread his 22 completions around to 9 different receivers, with wide receiver Tony Lippett the standout who scored the game-winning TD. But he had just 5 catches for 94 yards. So, anyone on the MSU defense that held Stanford to just 13 offensive points? Actually, we like LB Denicos Allen (7 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1 FF). But he wasn’t dominant.
It really was a full team effort by MSU, on both sides of the ball, as 8 different Spartans notched at least 4 tackles—and 10 different MSU defenders got in on TFLs, as well. That’s crazy! Giving this to Lippett or Allen would be symbolic, for sure, so we’re going to go with Allen, who we also picked for our B1G MVP in 2011, actually. This was his last college game before going undrafted by the NFL. Go figure!