Most teams are six games into their seasons by now, making it the midway mark of the college football season. What’s a better time to post a midseason All Pac-12 team then? There has been a lot of entertaining football thus far with a lot of talented players making their marks. Let’s reward the best ones.
Quarterback: Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks
After his four-touchdown performance against the Huskies, Mariota is looking like the front runner for the Heisman. His in-state counterpart, Sean Mannion, is having an equally impressive season, having thrown 25 touchdowns to just three interceptions, and leads the nation in passing yards. Mariota had to play in his first fourth quarter this season against the Huskies and he didn’t disappoint. For the whole game, he was 24-31, ending the criticisms of his then sub-60 percent completion percentage.
Honorable mentions: Mannion, Oregon State; Keith Price, Washington; Brett Hundley, UCLA
Running back: Bishop Sankey, Washington Huskies
Sankey has not only been the best running back in the Pac-12, he may be having the best season in the nation. He has nearly 300 more yards than the next leading rusher in the Pac-12, USC’s Tre Madden, and trails only ASU’s Marion Grice in rushing touchdowns. Even with a talented Price behind center, Sankey has been the rock of the Washington offense. The only game he didn’t rush for at least 100 yards was Idaho State, when he had 77 yards on only four carries.
Honorable mentions: Tyler Gaffney, Stanford; Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona; Grice, Arizona State
Wide Receivers: Brandin Cooks, Oregon State Beavers; Jaelen Strong, Arizona State
After Cooks, it’s a toss up between Strong and Colorado receiver Paul Richardson. I’ve had the opportunity to see Strong more, and he is a monster, earning him the tie-break. Strong is only real down field option Taylor Kelly has and is consistently double covered, but Kelly just throws it up and Strong uses his strong hands to reel it in. Mannion to Cooks has been the most successful QB-WR duo in the nation, with Cooks already nearing 1,000 yards and having 11 touchdowns.
Honorable mentions: Richardson, Colorado; Chris Harper, California; Josh Huff, Oregon
Tight end: Chris Coyle, Arizona State Sun Devils
Coyle had the second-best season of Pac-12 tight ends last season behind Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Well, Seferian-Jenkins isn’t particularly near the top of tight ends this season, and Coyle has taken over. He only has two touchdowns, but has by far the most yards from any tight end. He’s technically ASU’s halfback, but plays like a tight end would in a traditional offense. Oregon State’s tight end tandem would have gotten the honor if it were one player, but each player waters down each other’s stats.
Honorable mentions: Connor Hamlett, Oregon State; Caleb Smith, Oregon State; Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
Offensive line: Stanford Cardinal
I decided to make this one a team honor, as that is really the essence of a good offensive line – one player can’t make or break a line. The Cardinal own not only the best line in the conference but one of the best in the nation. It not only provides sufficient time for quarterback Kevin Hogan but opens up running lanes for it’s bevy of talented running backs.
Honorable mentions: Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Washington Huskies