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30 Day Countdown- Day 4: Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year

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Which of the leading candidates is your pick to bring home the hardware at the end of the year?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 07 Arizona State at USC Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We inch closer and closer to gameday. Offensive Player of the Year. Who you got?

Colorado RB Jarek Broussard

2020 Stats (6 games)- 889 rushing yards, 5.7 YPC, 5 TDs

It’s not all that often these days that the reigning offensive player of the year in the conference comes back the next season so we’ll start with him. Last year was an underwhelming season for offensive stats even considering the unusual circumstances and I’m sure there are still plenty of people unaware of Broussard despite the OPOY win.

There’s no question that Broussard is good but he’s much more of a workhorse back than a pure efficiency runner. He had 25+ carries in 5 of Colorado’s 6 games last season and 30+ in 2 of them. A lot of schools have switched to more of a running game by committee approach but Broussard was the bell cow. We’ll see this year if they lean just as heavily on him. If that’s the case and he ends up with close to or over 2,000 yards from scrimmage while Colorado overachieves their low expectations then he has a shot.

USC QB Kedon Slovis

2020 Stats (6 games)- 1,912 yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs, 67.0% Completion, 98.5 NFL Passer Rating

Slovis was the frontrunner for this award last year and had an underwhelming season given those standards. After averaging nearly 9 yards per attempt in his first year as a starter he dropped all the way down to 7.2 in the 6-game 2020 season. A number of USC fans noted that it looked like he noticeably missed some zip on the ball and speculated about an injury. Hopefully for Slovis’ sake this isn’t a Jake Browning situation where he’s never quite able to get back to his early production.

Still, USC is running an extremely pass-happy system and even with the unknown legal status of former 5-star Bru McCoy this should (like always) be the most loaded receiving corps in the conference. If USC’s offensive line is able to rebound and give Slovis any kind of protection on a reliable basis then there’s no reason he can’t put up monster numbers and win this award with a comeback season.

Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels

2020 Stats (4 games)- 697 passing yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT, 58.3% Completion, 100.1 NFL Passer Rating, 267 rushing yards, 4 TDs rushing

Similarly, Daniels was my sleeper last season and he didn’t quite live up to expectations. His completion percentage fell by a few points and his yards per attempt subsequently dropped from 8.7 to 8.3. There’s plenty of turmoil surrounding ASU right now but if Daniels truly is an elite talent then he should be able to transcend it.

In the final 2 games of the season, both ASU wins, the Sun Devils averaged 58 points per game and Daniels had only 26 combined pass attempts as the rushing game became completely dominant. Daniels helps in that regard after contributing for about 75 yards and a rushing TD per game. But even if he’s ultra efficient as he was in those 2 games (13.0 YPA, 3 TD, 0 INT) he’ll occasionally have to put up big raw numbers through the air to win this award as well.

USC WR Drake London

2020 Stats (6 games)- 33 receptions, 502 yards, 3 TDs

I was initially dubious of including London among the main nominees since I already mentioned his QB. London is going to have to be hands down the best receiver in the conference in order to have a shot to win it when Slovis already has this much hype. It’s certainly possible though.

Last season London finished 2nd in the conference in total yards and 3rd in receiving grade per Pro Football Focus. He played almost exclusively in the slot and it will be interesting to see if he moves more to the outside. Regardless, London has some of the best hands in college football and is an absolute load to bring down. His 14 missed tackles forced was 5 more than any other Pac-12 receiver in 2020.

Honorable Mentions

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson- UCLA: I wrote this article before the week 0 Saturday game and initially had him on the main list but he did not look good. UCLA will put up plenty of points but it seems more likely to be a result of their rushing attack then their passing game.

RB Max Borghi- Washington State: Even if Borghi lives up to the hype and stays healthy I don’t quite see him getting big enough numbers given that I’m not expecting his team to be any good.

TE Cade Otton- Washington: I really wanted to put him on there but it’s hard to imagine Otton putting up bigger numbers than Hunter Bryant did a few years ago and that just isn’t good enough to win OPOY unless UW goes undefeated in conference play.

Any Oregon player: Oregon had 3 receivers average between 35 and 40 receiving yards per game and 2 running backs average exactly 63.2 rushing yards per game. Unless we see a big change, no individual player will put up big enough stats to warrant contention.

Poll

Who will win Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Colorado RB Jarek Broussard
    (23 votes)
  • 23%
    USC QB Kedon Slovis
    (68 votes)
  • 12%
    Arizona State QB Jayden Daniels
    (38 votes)
  • 3%
    USC WR Drake London
    (9 votes)
  • 53%
    Other
    (157 votes)
295 votes total Vote Now

***
I wanted to include here that one of my inclusions would have been Utah RB Ty Jordan who had all the potential in the world. Unfortunately Jordan tragically passed away from an accidental firearm discharge this past Christmas Day. RIP Ty.