This Pac-12 Friday miniseries has reached the “Covid season” for the Conference of (real NCAA) Champions and its B1G brethren—two entities that tried to do the right thing for student safety, but ended up getting shafted by the greed in the corrupt sport. When the obituary is written for the United States of America, trust us: greed will be listed as the cause of death. Trust us: We’re historians.
2020 Pac-12 MVP: Jarek Broussard, RB, Colorado & Talanoa Hufanga, S, USC (original); Broussard (revised)
The top teams in the league were undefeated USC, one-loss Washington, and one-loss Colorado—although two-loss Oregon ended up the league champion when the Huskies couldn’t play in the conference title game due to a Covid outbreak. We’re not sure why we’re even bothering here, but Broussard (973 yards, 5 TDs) and Hufanga (4 INTs, 3 sacks, 2 FFs, 1 PD) are legit contenders for MVP.
Anyone else? Ducks quarterback Tyler Shough led the conference with a 160.4 QB rating, and Huskies linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui had a standout season (7 sacks, 3 FFs, 1 PD), too. On the offensive side, we think Broussard’s leading the conference in both rushing and scrimmage yards was huge when his team was being outscored. On the defensive side, Hufanga had the better season, overall.
When it comes to deciding the overall MVP, however, it gets trickier: The Trojans were undefeated in conference play until the championship game, but the defense wasn’t stellar by any means—while the offense was second in the league in scoring. Meanwhile, as mentioned, the Buffaloes were getting outscored, putting more value into every carry Broussard had on offense. He will be our MVP here.
2020 B1G MVP: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State & Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa (original); Brandon Joseph, DB, Northwestern (revised)
Ohio State cruised through the regular season undefeated, pursued closely by only Indiana and Northwestern with one loss each. That puts Fields in the driver’s seat with his 175.6 QB rating and 27:6 TD:INT ratio. Anyone else to consider here? No one else in the conference reached 20 total TDs, so we have to look defensively: Northwestern defensive back Brandon Joseph (6 INTs, 2 PDs).
The Wildcats led the conference is scoring defense, giving up just 15.9 points per game during a time when all the teams were in shambles roster-wise and in game planning as well. We don’t think Joseph had a better season than Fields, but in helping his team secure the West Division crown, he may have been more valuable to his team than Fields was to his loaded roster. So, randomly, we go with Joseph.
2021 Sugar Bowl MVP: Fields & Tuf Borland, LB, Ohio State (original); Fields (revised)
With the Rose Bowl being poached by the CFP this time around—and played in Texas, no less—the Pac-12 champs got shunted off to the Fiesta Bowl, and there were no traditional bowl matchups between the two conferences. So, the highlight of the bowl season in this unique year for our two leagues was the Sugar Bowl: Ohio State beat Clemson, 49-28, with the above MVPs named.
While Fields did throw an INT, he also tossed 6 TDs and posted a 257.6 QB rating for the game by completing 22 of 28 attempts for 385 yards. With the game tied 14-14 after the first quarter, Fields threw 3 TDs in the second quarter—all from inside the red zone—to break the game open for good. He also added 42 yards rushing on 8 attempts to post 427 total yards. It’s hard to discount that total.
Defensively, Borland posted 8 tackles and 1 INT, but the overall effort from the Buckeyes defense saw Clemson manage just 44 rushing yards on 22 carries. Four different Ohio State players had at least 8 tackles each, for example. Borland played well, but Fields’ effort was more integral to the bowl victory.