Oregon sophomore quarterback
Height, weight: 6-foot-4, 211 pounds
Previous Pac-12 rank: No. 1
His case: Sure, his Ducks stumbled at the end of the season, and sure, he threw four picks in the last two games of the regular season. But Mariota's numbers still ended up sparkling, and he managed to play well despite a knee injury robbing him of much of his mobility. Ultimately, he ended up with 3,412 passing yards, a crazy 9.48 yards-per-attempt figure, 30 TD passes and 4 interceptions ... (pause to catch breath) ... and that's before counting his 582 rushing yards, 7.2 yards per carry and nine more touchdowns. He's the best player in the Pac-12 in 2012.
What we said before the season: All Mariota did as a redshirt freshman last season was lead Oregon to a 12-1 record, bringing the Ducks one overtime loss to Stanford away from playing for the national title. His stats were gaudy, too: he threw for 2,677 yards and 32 touchdowns and ran for 752 yards and five scores.