clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Midseason Pac-12 All-Conference Picks

Looking at the best performers in the Pac-12 after 6 weeks

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 Washington State at UCLA Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It doesn’t feel like it to Husky fans but we’re approximately halfway through the college football season already. Washington has only played 5 games thanks to an early bye but a good chunk of the Pac-12 has already finished half of their regular season schedule.

This year I thought it would be interesting to look after every three games to examine who would make my all-conference teams and see how they evolve throughout the season. I could easily justify putting this off until next week...however since UW had a bye this week it fits a lot better into my schedule to do it early this week when there’s no game recap coverage for it to compete with. But that means it’ll probably be 4 more weeks before the next version once every team has had their bye.

There are a couple of differences between these teams and the one the conference actually will put out. They still use some outdated positions. There are 2 RB and 2 WR on the offense whereas I use 1 RB and 3 WR like a team in the 21st century. On defense the conference lists 4 DL, 3 LB, and 4 DB. I have it broken down into 2 DL, 2 ED, 2 LB, 3 CB, and 2 S which again is the default for most teams. The conference also has inconsistent definitions on whether a DE/OLB counts as DL or LB which makes predicting those spots challenging.

Going with 1 RB, 3 WR instead of 2 and 2 like the conference actually does.

If you want to look back at the last version, you can find the link right here.


*On media preseason 1st team

**On media preseason 2nd team


1st Team- Michael Penix Jr.** (Washington); 2,004 pass yds, 16 TD, 2 INT

2nd Team- Caleb Williams* (USC); 1,836 pass yds, 28 total TDs, 1 INT

Honorable Mention- Bo Nix (Oregon), Shedeur Sanders (Colorado), Cam Ward (Washington State)

I didn’t make any changes to this list from the quarter-season to this category even though I thought about it in a couple of places. Williams has played an extra game at this point and is pulling away from the pack in terms of total touchdowns. However, his passing efficiency has started to dip a little bit and the charting stats tilt in Penix’s favor.

Penix- 7.0% big-time throw rate, 1.5% turnover worthy play rate

Williams- 4.9 BTT%, 4.3 TWP%

Nix- 3.0 BTT%, 1.1 TWP%

Sanders- 6.2 BTT%, 1.8 TWP%

Ward- 4.3 BT%, 3.8 TWP%

Penix is 1st in big-time throw rate and 2nd in turnover-worthy play rate while Williams is 3rd and 5th in that grouping despite having a commanding lead for 2nd place in yards per attempt. Washington scoring 4 non-QB rushing touchdowns put Penix way behind in the touchdowns race but if he gets back to his prior averages he has a good chance to maintain his lead.

Running Back

1st Team- Bucky Irving (Oregon); 411 rush yards, 4 TD

2nd Team- Damien Martinez* (Oregon State); 585 rush yards, 3 TDs

Honorable Mention-MarShawn Lloyd (USC), Jayden Ott** (California)

I started the quarter-season portion of this position by saying it was extremely clear cut but that’s no longer the case. Martinez and Ott are 1 and 2 in the conference in rushing yards but they’re also the top-two in attempts. Given that some teams have played one fewer game, I’m less inclined to just go strictly based on total rushing yards right now.

That means we see a bump up for the running backs at Oregon and USC. Both Lloyd and Irving are averaging around 8 yards per carry and better than 4.4 yards after contact per carry. Irving gets bumped up to 1st team in part because he has the most receiving value of the group. I’ll accept the argument that his backup has more yards per carry and more touchdowns as a potential reason to downgrade him but I just think he’s really freaking good.

Wide Receiver

1st Team- Rome Odunze* (Washington); 608 rec yards, 4 TDs. Troy Franklin (Oregon); 535 rec yards, 7 TDs. Tetairoa McMillan (Arizona); 518 rec yards, 5 TDs.

2nd Team- Ja’Lynn Polk (Washington); 468 rec yards, 4 TDs. Xavier Weaver (Colorado); 507 rec yards, 2 TDs. Tahj Washington (USC); 356 rec yards, 5 TDs.

Honorable Mention- Brenden Rice (USC), Kyle Williams (WSU), Silas Bolden (OSU)

I had WSU’s Lincoln Victor as a 1st teamer in the last edition but unfortunately he got hurt which opens up a spot. Jalen McMillan also falls off the honorable mention by virtue of injury as well. Meanwhile, Xavier Weaver moves down to 2nd team. He’s 4th in the conference in receiving yards but has played an extra game and run almost 80 more routes than the next highest non-Buffalo player. His yards per route run total is extremely low.

That creates room for McMillan and Franklin to ascend up to the 1st team. There’s a clear dropoff in the per route run averages with McMillan but he’s still 3rd in the conference in receiving yards and is playing with a backup quarterback.

On the second team it was a close battle between Tahj Washington and Brenden Rice. Washington has slightly more yards on fewer routes run but Rice has two more touchdowns. I went with Washington but it’s a toss-up.

Tight End

1st Team- Tanner McLachlan (Arizona); 242 rec yards, 2 TDs

2nd Team- Ben Yurosek** (Stanford); 227 rec yards, 1 TD

Honorable Mention- Jack Westover (Washington), Michael Harrison (Colorado)

We have a new 1st teamer here as Arizona’s Tanner McLachlan has come on strong lately with Noah Fifita at quarterback and now leads all Pac-12 tight ends in receiving yards. He also has the 2nd highest pass blocking grad e from PFF and so he is getting it done in all areas. Yurosek has had a few rough games but I’m leaving him as 2nd team right now soince no one else has very cclearly passed him.

Offensive Line

1st Team- LT Jordan Morgan** (Arizona), LG Spencer Holstege (UCLA), C Jackson Powers-Johnson (Oregon), RG Jonah Saivaiinaea (Arizona), RT Ajani Cornelius (Oregon)

2nd Team- LT Jonah Monheim (USC), LG Wendell Moe (Arizona), C Duke Clemens (UCLA), RG Tanner Miller (Oregon State), RT Taliese Fuaga (Oregon State)

Honorable Mention- LT Troy Fautanu* (Washington), LG Heneli Bloomfield (Oregon State), C Parker Brailsford (Washington), RG Josh Carlin (UCLA), RT Roger Rosengarten (Washington)

I’ll be honest that I haven’t exactly watched every lineman in the conference to make assessments here so I’m leaning heavily on Pro Football Focus. I still have a trio of Huskies on the honorable mention stince it seems reasonable to say that UW has the 3rd best in the conference at both tackle spots and now center with Parker Brailsford. If Brailsford had remained at right guard he’d have a good argument for the 2nd team right guard spot but center is a little deeper now.

Defensive Line

1st Team- Bear Alexander (USC); 19 tkl, 17 pressures, 2 sacks. Brandon Dorlus (Oregon); 6 tkl, 14 pressures, 2 sacks

2nd Team- Anthony Franklin (Stanford); 13 tkl, 11 pressures, 1 sack. Keanu Tanuvasa (Utah); 8 tkl, 4 pressure, 1 sack.

Honorable Mention- Dashaun Mallory (ASU), Shane Cokes (Colorado)

This is another position that is tough to evaluate when you haven’t gotten a chance to watch every team every week. Having the QB pressure numbers helps but the best interior linemen soak up blockers for their teammates and aren’t necessarily going to put up strong tackle totals.

Georgia transfer Bear Alexander has been the elite interior pass rusher that was expected for USC so far. Dorlus for Oregon is right behind him and so gets the nod on the 1st team this time around. Tanuvasu gets downgraded to 2nd team as PFF isn’t as high on his play despite being 2nd in the conference in stops.

Edge Rushers

1st Team- Laiatu Latu* (UCLA); 16 tkl, 25 pressures, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles. Jonah Elliss (Utah); 17 tkl, 20 pressures, 7 sacks.

2nd Team- Grayson Murphy (UCLA); 12 tkl, 20 pressures, 3 sacks. Ron Stone Jr.** (Washington State); 21 tkl, 16 pressures, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles.

Honorable Mention- Gabriel Murphy (UCLA), B.J Green (Arizona State), Jamil Muhammad (USC), Sione Lolohea (Utah)

I had Jonah Elliss as honorable mention 3 weeks ago but he has stormed up to be a clear 1st teamer after notching 5 sacks in just a pair of games. He leads the edge rushers in the conference in stops with 20 and sacks with 7 despite having played 5 games. Latu is a deserving co-1st teamer as he is number one in the country in PFF grade at the position and has been a monster all season. Utah and UCLA are the top two defenses in the conference this season and that 5 of the 8 names above come from those teams are a big reason why.


1st Team- Darius Muasau* (UCLA); 24 tkl, 4 sacks, 1 INT. Lander Barton** (Utah); 21 tkl, 3 QB hits, 1 INT, 2 forced fumbles.

2nd Team- Easton Mascarenas-Arnold (Oregon State); 48 tkl, 1 sack, 2 INT. Jackson Sirmon* (California); 46 tkl, 1 sack, 1 INT.

Honorable Mention- Jacob Manu (Arizona), Edefuan Ulofoshio (Washington)

I only made one change here this week bumping up Ulofoshio to honorable mention after he has had some big games and is one of the most well-rounded linebackers in the conference. He’s the only linebacker to receive at least a 73.0 PFF grade in all 4 categories: run defense, tackling, pass rush, and coverage.

The counting stats aren’t quite there for Barton and Muasau compared to the 2nd teamers but they’ve played one fewer game. The eye test for me agrees with PFF saying that Barton and Muasau are the top-two linebackers in the Pac-12. Again, we see UCLA and Utah at the top.


1st Team- Nohl Williams (California); 26 tkl, 2 INT, 1 PBU. Khyree Jackson (Oregon); 13 tkl, 2 INT, 4 PBU. Jabbar Muhammad** (Washington); 10 tkl, 1 INT, 1 sack, 2 PBU.

2nd Team- Zemaiah Vaughn (Utah); 17 tkl, 1 INT, 2 PBU; Alex Johnson (UCLA); 4 tkl, 3 INT, 1 PBU. Chau Smith-Wade (Washington State)**; 26 tkl, 4 PBU.

Honorable Mention- Jaden Robinson (Oregon State), Travis Hunter* (Colorado), Jaylin Davies (UCLA).

The injury to Travis Hunter knocked him from the 1st team but I felt like I still had to keep him as an honorable mention since if he returns and plays back to form then it’ll look silly to have him completely off the list. I promoted Jabbar Muhammad to that spot as he has the lowest completion percentage against of any corner with enough snaps in the conference plus now has a sack and an interception.

Alex Johnson was the other competitor for that spot as he got promoted from HM to 2nd team. He leads the conference with 4 interceptions and has only allowed an absurd 19 yards in coverage across 128 snaps. But he only has 4 tackles so he has been non-existent in the run game. All three of the players on my 1st team are transfers (Williams from UNLV, Jackson from Alabama, Muhammad from Oklahoma State).


1st Team- Jaden Hicks (Washington State); 33 tlk, 2 sacks, 1 INT. Cole Bishop* (Utah); 24 tkl, 2 sacks, 2 INT.

2nd Team- Kitan Oladapo* (Oregon State); 39 tkl, 1 sack, 2 PBU. Evan Williams (Oregon); 22 tkl, 3 sacks.

Honorable Mention- Calen Bullock (USC), Chris Edmonds (Arizona State)

There is a wide variety among the safeties in the conference which makes it somewhat difficult to determine the spots based just on stats. Hicks and Bishop are two of the more well-rounded one as they each have multiple sacks plus at least 1 interception. Oladapo leads the safeties in tackles and then it was a tough competition for the last spot on the 2nd team. I gave Williams for Oregon the nod but realistically Bullock for USC probably wins it based on being 1st team last year. Bullock though has never gotten to rush the passer yet so he’s pretty one-dimensional as a (really good) center fielder.


Final Totals by Team

Last edition rank in parentheses next to team name

(listed in order of 3 pts for 1st team, 2 for 2nd, 1 for HM)

1st- Oregon (4)- 21 pts. 1st (6), 2nd (1), HM (1)

2nd- UCLA (1)- 18 pts. 1st (3), 2nd (3), HM (3)

3rd- Washington (2)- 16 pts. 1st (3), 2nd (1), HM (5)

4th- Arizona (7)- 15 pts. 1st (4), 2nd (1), HM (1)

5th- Utah (5)- 14 pts. 1st (3), 2nd (2), HM (1)

6th- USC (10)- 9 pts(?!?). 1st (1). 2nd (2), HM (2)

6th- Oregon State (8)- 12 pts. 1st (0), 2nd (5), HM (3)

8th- Washington State (3)- 9 pts. 1st (1), 2nd (2), HM (2)

9th- Colorado (6)- 6 pts. 1st (0), 2nd (1), HM (4)

9th- California (9)- 6 pts. 1st (1), 2nd (1), HM (1)

11th- Stanford (11)- 4 pts. 1st (0), 2nd (2), HM (0)

12th- Arizona St (12)- 3 pts. 1st (0), 2nd (0), HM (3)