Welcome Pac-10 newcomers Steve Sarkisian and Chip Kelly. You are the new representatives at this award ceremony for 2009. We hope you are honored to have such a prestigious award in your name.
The Dennis Erickson Award for “What, I’m Still in the Same Place? Why?”
…And the Winner Is: Taylor Mays, USC Safety. It’s shocking that he came back. Everyone assumed he would enter the NFL draft as a surefire first round pick. Instead, he’s at USC for his senior year and figures to anchor a raw, but talented USC defense.
The Chip Kelly Award for “I’m Destined For Greatness, So Why is Everyone a Little Unsure?”
…And the winner is: Whichever quarterback starts for USC in its opening game. Two Trojan quarterbacks have won Heisman Trophies under Pete Carroll and every time they break in someone new, the doubters quickly subside. Still, until Aaron Corp or Matt Barkley prove it, it’s all guesswork.
The Pete Carroll Award for “How Many Times Do I Have to Say It? This is Where I Want To Be”
…And the winner is: Markus Wheaton, OSU WR. Yep, Wheaton is a Beaver. Duck fans probably still can’t believe the cousin of Kenny Wheaton would do such a thing. We’re still waiting to hear it was a joke. The Ducks now just have to hope Oregon State doesn’t get a program-defining moment from Kenny’s cousin.
The Steve Sarkisian Award for “We’re Going to Be Awesome Because I Said So”
…And the winner is: The Arizona Wildcats. Anyone else feel like Mike Stoops’ bunch has been the next coming of greatness in the conference for the last five years? All they have is a 6-6 regular season and a Las Vegas Bowl trophy to show for it. Sure, the honor could have been given to Washington, but it was ineligible to win its coach’s own award.
The Paul Wulff Award for “Hi, We’re Still Up Here. Hey, over here! Watch for us, We’re Going to Be Better. Ah, Screw It, We’re Terrible.”
…And the Winner Is: Kevin Prince, UCLA QB. Okay, that’s not fair to the redshirt freshman Prince and “terrible” is too strong of a word, but the point is that even though UCLA is moving on from a disastrous year at the quarterback position, they undoubtedly have more growing pains ahead.
The Mike Stoops Award for “I’m a Star. No, Really, Ignore the Mediocrity Because I’m a Star!”
…And the Winner Is: Jake Locker. Sorry, Saint Locker of the Seattleites. It’s not that I want to give you this award, it’s just that you’ve never done anything to justify all the hype your fans are heaping on you. Feel free to prove us wrong.
The Rick Neuheisel Award for “We’re Coming For You No Matter How Ridiculous That Sounds”
…And the Winner Is: The Stanford Cardinal. Believe it or not, Stanford might be good this year. It’s even possible they creep into the top four teams in the conference. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cardinal make a leap to a bowl game for this first time since 2001.
The Mike Riley Award for “What Else Do We Have to Do to Prove We’re Good?”
…And the Winner Is: The whole gosh-darned (tribute to Riley-speak) Pac-10. A 5-0 bowl record in 2008 and stellar records this decade against fellow BCS teams just isn’t enough. Distribution of your product to the masses matters and the Pac-10 is lacking a national audience. Just keep on winning, I guess.
The Jeff Tedford Award for “How Did We Go From Underdog to Overrated?”
…And the Winner Is: Jeremiah Masoli. As a fan of the Duck’s quarterback, it hurts to put him here, but it’s a natural fit. Masoli still has a lot to prove as his hype is riding on the back of a three game stretch to end 2008. He’ll need to put together a full season of strong play.
The Jim Harbaugh Award for “We’re Borderline Geniuses and Oh, Yeah, We Can Play Too”
…And the Winner Is: Mike Nixon, ASU LB. Let’s see, Nixon carries a 4.05 GPA in Political Science and was an Honorable Mention All-Conference player in 2008. And this year, he’s tabbed as a preseason first team player by many. Yeah, he kind of owns this category.
View past Coach’s Awards: 2008