Pac-12 football teams gear up for bowl season
Around the Pac-12
PACCOLADES: Fourteen different players earned first team All-America honors, which is believed to be a record for the Pac-12. Oregon junior QB Marcus Mariota, a unanimous All-America honoree, became the league’s most decorated player with five individual awards - Heisman Trophy, Davey O’Brien Award, Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Among the major All-America teams selections, the 14 Pac-12 players honored are more than any other conference (SEC - 11, Big Ten - 8, ACC - 6, Big 12 - 6).
BEST EVER?: Currently with a league record-tying four teams having nine or more wins each. Should USC, Utah and Washington win its bowl games, that would give the Pac-12 seven teams with nine or more wins this season... The Pac-12 had eight wins in 2014 vs. Big 5 conference opponents/Notre Dame.
BOWLING: For the third straight season, the Pac-12 has eight bowl eligible teams. League teams compiled a 10-7 record the previous two bowl seasons.
THE CFP COMMITTEE SPEAKS: The Pac-12 placed six teams among the CFP Top 25 in three of the last four rankings. The Pac-12 had four different teams ranked among the Top 10 over the span of seven polls.
TOUCHDOWN PASSES: OREGON’s Marcus Mariota led the Pac-12 with 38 touchdown passes, followed by USC’s Cody Kessler with 36 touchdown passes. Also exceeding 30 touchdown passes were CALIFORNIA’s Jared Goff (35) and WASHINGTON STATE’s Connor Halliday (32 in 9 games). That group matches the 2011 quartet of USC’s Matt Barkley (39), Stanford’s Andrew Luck (37), Oregon’s Darren Thomas (33), and Washington’s Keith Price (33), as the most Pac-12 quarterbacks to throw 30 or more touchdowns in a single season. ARIZONA’s Anu Solomon (27) isn’t far behind in making that five QBs with 30 or more touchdown passes.
IN A RUSH: Seven Pac-12 running backs have rushed for 1,000 or more yards this season - UCLA’s Paul Perkins (1,381), UTAH’s Devontae Booker (1,350), USC’s Javorius Allen (1,337), ARIZONA’s Nick Wilson (1,289), OREGON’s Royce Freeman (1,299). If CALIFORNIA’s Daniel Lasco (1,115 yards) and ARIZONA STATE’s D.J. Foster (1,002). The only other season to witness seven Pac-12 running backs rush for 1,000 yards was 2011.
GOOD HANDS: A pair of school receiving records were broken as COLORADO junior WR Nelson Spruce had a school-best 106 receptions fro 1,198 yards (99.8 avg) and WASHINGTON STATE senior WR Vince Mayle hauled in a school-record 106 receptions for a WSU single-season record 1,483 yards (123.6 avg)... USC junior WR Nelson Agholor has 97 receptions for 1,223 yards (101.9 avg). With three more receptions in the Holiday Bowl, Agholor will join Spruce and Mayle with 100 receptions each this season. Prior to this season, there have been only five players with 100 or more receptions in a season in Pac-12 history.
SACKS/TACKLES FOR LOSS: Defenses shine on the West Coast. Five Pac-12 teams are ranked among the top 25 in the FBS in team sacks. UTAH is the nationally leader at 52 sacks (4.33 avg), with WASHINGTON third (3.83 avg), STANFORD sixth (3.33 avg), ARIZONA STATE tied for seventh (3.25 avg) and ARIZONA 21st (2.85 avg)... Pac-12 players rank 1-2-3 in sacks led by Utah’s Nate Orchard (1.46 per game), followed by Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha (1.38 avg) and Arizona’s Scooby Wright III (1.08 avg)... When it comes to tackles for loss, the trio are among the FBS top five with Wright III leading the FBS at 27.0 TFL, followed by Kikaha (24.0). Orchard is tied for fifth (20.0).