We are getting closer to the end of this Pac-12 Friday miniseries, as we reach another season of the corrupt College Football Playoff era—in fact, the last one to include a team from the Conference of Champions. Sad. However, the B1G would continue to land a team in the final four going forward, but we will get to that next week, or whenever. Enjoy this one, for what it’s worth!
2016 Pac-12 MVP: Jake Browning, QB, Washington & Adoree Jackson, DB, USC (original); Browning (revised)
The top teams in the conference were Washington (8-1), Colorado (8-1), USC (7-2), Washington State (7-2), and Stanford (6-3). Our two vote winners from from this bunch, so we will start with them. Browning led the league in passer rating (167.5) and passing touchdowns (43), while Jackson had 11, PDs, 5 INTs, and 5 TDs as a utility guy playing in all three phases of the game.
Washington was the conference champion, so that gives an edge to Browning over Jackson and Cougars QB Luke Falk, who led the league in most volume-oriented passing categories. Last year’s pick for MVP, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, bested his peers in scrimmage yards, but he did not crack the 2,000-yard mark this time around. That’s about it, so we’re confirming Browning here as our MVP.
2016 B1G MVP: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State & Jabrill Peppers, LB, Michigan (original); Barkley (revised)
Ohio State and Penn State (8-1 both) were the top squads, followed closely by Michigan and Wisconsin (7-2 both). The Nittany Lions emerged with the league title, so Barkley leaps to the top of our list here, based on his conference-best 1,898 scrimmage yards and 22 scrimmage TDs. He did play with the best QB in the league (Trace McSorley), but with a 156.7 QB rating, that was probably feeding off Barkley.
With no other offensive standouts, we look to Peppers now: He topped the league in punt-return yards (310), while adding 13 TFLs, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PD, 260 kick-return yards, 170 scrimmage yards, and 4 total TDs. That’s a good all-around season, but it’s not dominant in any way—or even in sum of all its smaller parts. He filled a lot of roles, but MVP was not one of them. Barkley it is!
2017 Rose Bowl MVP: Sam Darnold, QB, USC & Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, DT, USC (original); Barkley (revised)
We got a weird Granddaddy in Pasadena, with Penn State playing USC. With the Huskies being selected for the CFP, the Rose Bowl peeps picked USC over Colorado, even though the Buffaloes finished ahead of the Trojans in the South Division. It’s all about the money, after all, isn’t it? Anyway, the matchup didn’t disappoint fans, with USC winning, 52-49, in the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever.
That score should preclude any defensive player from consideration here, of course, so what about Darnold? Penn State took a 49-35 lead into the fourth quarter, but the USC QB brought his team back for the win, despite throwing an INT during the game. We don’t like turnovers for our MVPs, but that is a classic comeback, and it was only 1 turnover, really, to go with his 5 TDs passing and 453 passing yards.
That’s dynamic, although we also see Barkley with his 249 scrimmage yards and 3 TDs without a turnover as key here. Is it his fault that Penn State’s defense choked in the final quarter? No. Darnold’s QB rating for the game (161.4) was barely better than McSorley’s mark (160.5), and the PSU QB threw 3 INTs to really hurt his team. Darnold wasn’t that great, in essence. We’re going with Barkley here.