This Pac-12 Friday miniseries is coming to an end soon for the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its B1G brethren. Remember, soon we will start going the basketball route in the same vein, which has always been a more fair and equitable college endeavor … Today, we take on the last pre-Covid season, where—again—the fix was in, and our two conferences were shafted by the CFP.
2019 Pac-12 MVP: Zack Moss, RB, Utah & Evan Weaver, LB, California (original); Kedon Slovis, QB, USC (revised)
Oregon, USC, and Utah were the best teams by far in the conference, as every other squad finished under .500 in league play. That takes Weaver out of play here, so are there any candidates for MVP other than Moss (1,804 scrimmage yards and 17 TDs)? Well, both USC and Utah had top performers at quarterback and the skill positions. What about the Ducks? Well, they did, too, leaving us confused here.
Let’s revive an exercise from the past … a look at the triplets for the trio:
- Oregon: QB Justin Herbert (156.8 rating), RB CJ Verdell (1,345 yards and 8 TDs), WR Johnny Johnson III (836 yards and 7 TDs)
- USC: QB Kedon Slovis (167.6), RB Vavae Malepeai (573 yards and 7 TDs), WR Michael Pittman, Jr. (1,275 yards and 11 TDs)
- Utah: QB Tyler Huntley (177.6), RB Zack Moss (1,804 yards and 17 TDs), WR Brant Kuithe (704 yards and 9 TDs)
What stands out to us here is the lack of a USC running game, which means Slovis was doing a lot of work on his own. To us, that singles him out as the MVP in the league. His overall numbers, as he led USC to a 7-2 finish in the South Division, included 30 TDs, 9 INTs, and 3,502 yards.
2019 B1G MVP: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State & Chase Young, DE, Ohio State (original); Fields (revised)
The Ohio State Buckeyes went undefeated in league play, finished 2 games clear of Minnesota, Penn State, and Wisconsin. We do think the MVP should come from the Buckeyes, so this is simple to us, as Fields posted some of the most impressive numbers we’ve ever seen: a 181.4 QB rating, 51 total TDs, and just 3 INTs. Yes, he had a lot of help on offense, but the QB made everything work for Ohio State.
We don’t want to just dismiss Young and his 21 sacks, 7 FFs, and 3 PDs. Ohio State led the conference in scoring by an 11.1-ppg margin, while the Buckeyes also topped the B1G in defense by a mere 0.3-ppg margin. In that way, we actually do see Young as perhaps more valuable to Ohio State’s success, in terms of making a bigger difference. It’s a tough call, in truth, as both players were so dominant.
What do we do? Both players were Heisman finalists, but in the end, we do think Fields’ season was more dominant and impressive, despite Young’s value to the defensive effort overall. How do we deny a guy with a 51:3 TD:INT ratio? We cannot, even if the Heisman voters did.
2020 Rose Bowl MVP: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon & Brady Breeze, S, Oregon (original); Breeze (revised)
Ohio State was shafted by the CFP and set up to lose so LSU could get an “easy” title in its home region; meanwhile, we ended up with a backdoor Rose Bowl matchup between the Ducks and the Badgers, who lost the B1G Championship Game to the Buckeyes. It would have to do, however, and it turned out to be an exciting game, as Oregon beat Wisconsin, 28-27.
Herbert’s MVP nod is odd to us, since he only attempted 20 passes, didn’t throw a TD, and did throw an INT. He scored three rushing TDs, but he only managed 29 yards on 9 rushes, so at least two of those scoring runs were circumstantial. As a whole, the Ducks ran for just 66 yards on 30 carries! Meanwhile, the Oregon defense forced 4 turnovers and pretty much won the game for its offense.
Breeze returned a muffed punt attempt for a TD, and in the fourth quarter, with his team trailing by 6 points, he forced a fumble that led to Herbert’s game-winning touchdown run. The Ducks managed just 209 yards of total offense, but Breeze was directly responsible for two of the Oregon touchdowns. He is our overall MVP here, as much as we love Herbert now in the NFL.