Oregon sophomore quarterback
Height, weight: 6-foot-4, 211 pounds
Previous Pac-12 rank: No. 1
His case: Oregon is 6-0 and 3-0 in the Pac-12. The average game score of a Ducks affair is 56.8 to 13.8. And the guy running the offense, Mr. Mariota, is both first in the Pac-12 in passer rating (182.4, fifth nationally) and eighth in the Pac-12 in rushing (426 yards). Every time he throws it (10.7) or runs it (10.4), Oregon averages enough yards to gain a first down. Did we mention he has 17 touchdown passes, has run for eight more scores and hasn't had a single pass among his 165 attempts intercepted? The Ducks' punter, Alejandro Maldonado, must secretly despite ESPN's Heisman Watch frontrunner (Mariota has now garnered 13 of the 16 possible first-place votes and is second to Johnny Manziel in the other three).
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.