|USC wide receiver Marqise Lee won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top wide receiver. (AP)|
Thursday night was ultimately disappointing to Pac-12 fans who had several players to cheer for -- albeit at only a few positions -- at the Home Depot College Football Awards ceremony on ESPN.
While the conference was in the running for the Doak Walker Award (nation's best running back), John Mackey Award (best tight end) and Fred Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver), only USC wide receiver Marqise Lee came down with a trophy.
Lee won the coveted Biletnikoff Award over the likes of Baylor's Terrence Williams and West Virginia's Steadman Bailey after the Trojans stud sophomore had an FBS-high 112 receptions for 1,680 yards with four touchdowns. Lee became the first USC receiver to win the award, though his lofty numbers were not enough to make him a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
They were, however, enough to make him happy on Thursday night while his conference cohorts went home without trophies.
UCLA's Johnathan Franklin and Oregon's Kenjon Barner -- half of the conference's quartet of quality backs who could've made a case for postseason glory, along with Stanford's Stephan Taylor and Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey -- lost out to Wisconsin's Montee Ball in the race for the Doak Walker Award. Ball may have won the honor with a huge day in the Big-10 championship game, as the Badgers stunned No. 12 Nebraska in a 70-31 win behind Ball's 202 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Barner was a first-team all-conference selection with 1,624 yards and 21 touchdowns, despite sitting for most second-halves. Franklin collected second-team all-conference honors after a 1,700-yard, 13-touchdown season in which he became the Bruins' all-time leading rusher.
They weren't the only ones who left empty-handed.
Tight ends Zach Ertz of Stanford and Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington lost out on the Mackey Award to Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert, despite superior stats. Eiffert had 44 catches for 624 yards and four touchdowns and Ertz had 66 catches for 837 yards and six touchdowns; Seferian-Jenkins finished with 63 receptions for 791 yards and six scores.
More news and notes from around the Pac-12:
- New Cal head coach Sonny Dykes told reporters at his introductory press conference that he intends to do what hasn't been done in more than 50 years: return the Bears to the Rose Bowl. ''We will turn it around,'' Dykes said. ''It's going to be a long, arduous process. How many years is it going to take? I don't know. Is it going to be next year? I don't know. What's the future hold? I can't answer that question. But I do know that's what's going to drive us every day. Every single day we get in our car and come to work, our goal is going to be to get to the Rose Bowl.'' Dykes led Louisiana Tech to a 9-3 record and the nation's top-scoring offense, but that wasn't enough to get a bowl bid. At Cal, the expectations will be much higher than just the postseason.
- Colorado, meanwhile, remains rudderless after being spurned by former Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones, who took the head job at Tennessee. "It was so extremely close," Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn told Tom Kensler of the Denver Post. "We thought we were really in good position in getting the deal done until early (Wednesday) night. Then there was a whole new development." The Buffaloes could be looking to Fresno State's Tim DeRuyter or San Jose State's Mike MacIntyre, Kensler reports.