NATIONAL HONORS: STANFORD’s Christian McCaffrey earned the Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player, while teammate Joshua Garnett won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman. UCLA’s Ka’imi Fairbairn was tabbed the Groza Award winner as the nation’s top kicker and UTAH’s Tom Hackett defended his status as the nation’s top punter by earning his second straight Ray Guy Award.
PAC-12 FCG: The STANFORD Cardinal kept the Pac-12 North Division perfect at 5-0 in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game with its 41-22 victory over USC. While the Trojans were the fourth different Pac-12 South Division champion to appear in the Conference’s fifth championship game, they could not overcome Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey. The sophomore running back earned MVP honors after he posted 461 all-purpose yards – 207 rushing, 144 receiving, 149 return yards – and scored two touchdowns. For good measure, he connected with QB Kevin Hogan with an 11-yard TD pass. McCaffrey and Hogan each rushed for a touchdown, threw for a touchdown and caught a touchdown.
BOWL ELIGIBLE: The Pac-12 has a record 10 bowl eligible teams. In terms of percentage of membership achieving bowl eligibility, the Pac-12 leads all other conferences:
|Pac-12 (10 of 12)||83.30%|
|SEC (10 of 14)||71.40%|
|Big 12 (7 of 10)||70.00%|
|American (8 of 12)||66.70%|
|ACC (9 of 14)||64.30%|
|Mountain West (7 of 12)||58.30%|
|Big Ten (8 of 14)||57.10%|
|MAC (7 of 13)||53.80%|
|CUSA (5 of 13)||38.50%|
|Sunbelt (4 of 11)||36.40%|
FBS ALL-PURPOSE YARDAGE MARK FALLS: STANFORD sophomore RB Christian McCaffrey, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, leads the FBS with 268.92 all-purpose yards per game, nearly 70 yards over the next player (Tyler Ervin, San Jose State, 200.83 ypg). He set the FBS record with 3,496 all-purpose yards, bettering the previous record held by Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders (3,250 yards in 1988) … His school-record 461 all-purpose yards posted against USC in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game is the top mark in the FBS this season … McCaffrey has rushed for 100 or more yards in 10 games. His 3,461 all-purpose yardage breakdown is as follows: 1,847 rushing, 540 receiving, 1,042 kick return, 67 punt return … Since 1978, only four other Conference players have averaged 200 or more all-purpose yards per game for an entire season – USC’s Marcus Allen in 1981 (232.6 avg), Stanford’s Glyn Milburn in 1990 (202.0 avg), USC’s Reggie Bush in 2005 (222.3 avg) and USC’s Marqise Lee in 2012 (206.4 avg). Coincidentally, Milburn’s teammate in 1990 was Ed McCaffrey (father of Christian), who had 61 receptions for 917 yards and a Conference-leading 91.7 receiving yards per game that season … In addition to McCaffrey, the Pac-12 boasts OREGON’s Royce Freeman (6th, 169.25 ypg) and UTAH’s Devontae Booker (9th, 157.90 ypg) among the FBS all-purpose leaders.
POLL WATCHING: The polls have been a revolving door for Pac-12 teams this season as nine different Pac-12 teams have appeared in the polls this season, with five different Pac-12 teams this season have been ranked in the AP Top 10 … Over the last two seasons, 10 different Pac-12 teams have been ranked among the AP Top 25, while six different Conference teams have been ranked among the Top 10.
YOUTH WILL BE SERVED: Underclassmen were making their mark in the Pac-12 this season. Take a look at the league statistics and you’ll see sophomores leading in several categories:
|Rushing:||1. Royce Freeman, ORE, 142.2 avg; 2. Christian McCaffrey, STAN 136.7 avg|
|Passing:||1. Luke Falk, WSU, 387.8 ypg|
|Receiving YPG:||1. JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC, 108.5 avg|
|Total Offense:||1. Luke Falk, WSU, 377.5 avg|
|Scoring:||1. Aidan Schneider, ORE, 10.2 ppg|
|Scoring TDs:||1. Royce Freeman, ORE, 16 TDs|
|Punt Return Avg:||1. Dante Pettis, WASH, 16.9 avg|
|Kick Return Avg:||1. Christian McCaffrey, STAN, 29.7 avg|
|All-Purpose:||1. Christian McCaffrey, STAN, 252.9 avg; 2. Royce Freeman, ORE, 169.2 avg|
While they might not be leading any statistical category, several freshmen had standout seasons this year. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen threw for a UCLA freshmen record 3,350 yards and 20 TDs, WASHINGTON trotted out a freshman QB in Jake Browning and a freshman RB in Myles Gaskin. Browning threw for a Washington freshman record 2,671 yards and 16 TDs, while Gaskin rolled up a Husky freshman record 1,121 rushing yards and 10 TDs … Defensively, USC freshman LB Cameron Smith led the Trojans with 78 tackles (7.8 avg) before a season-ending injury. ARIZONA STATE freshman DB Kareem Orr recorded a league-best five interceptions.
AIR PAC-12: WASHINGTON STATE’s Luke Falk and CALIFORNIA’s Jared Goff become the eighth and ninth players in Pac-12 history to throw for more than 4,000 yards. For the third time in the last five seasons, two quarterbacks have thrown for more than 4,000 yards in the same season.
2011 Nick Foles, Arizona (4,329) and Brock Osweiler, Arizona State (4,036)
2013 Sean Mannion, Oregon State (4,662) and Connor Halliday, Washington State (4,597)
2015 Luke Falk, Washington State (4,266) and Jared Goff, California (4,252)