Half of college football's regular season is already in the books. We've had an exciting year so far in the Pac-12 because the level of competition is a lot higher. The Pac-12 isn't taking a backseat to anyone in 2012.
Right now, four teams are ranked in the BCS standings: No. 3 Oregon, No. 8 Oregon State, No. 10 USC and No. 20 Stanford.
Time to hand out some awards.
Oregon State sophomore Brandin Cooks is the most productive receiver in the Pac-12.
Cooks has 34 catches for 659 yards and two touchdowns. Cooks is also averaging a hair under 20 yards per catch and more than 131 receiving yards per game.
Another Beaver on the list? Why yes, yes there is because Oregon State has the best defense in the conference. One reason why is due to the outstanding play of defensive end Scott Crichton.
Crichton made the All-American first team (freshman) last year. This year, he's on track to be a second-year All-American. In five games, Crichton has eight sacks and forced a fumble.
Morgan Breslin, USC, Anthony Barr, UCLA; Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon.
We've got a trio winning this award and all three of them play for USC. T.J. McDonald, Randall Telfer and Anthony Brown have each blocked a kick or punt at the most critical times.
Against Washington last week, Brown blocked a punt, recovered the ball and ran seven yards for a touchdown. The Trojans beat the Huskies 24-14.
De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
True freshman running back Teondray Caldwell is doing some great things up in Pullman, Wash. Caldwell is the conference's leading kick returner with 20 returns, 536 yards and a 26.80 yards-per-return average.
Caldwell is also averaging 4.86 yards per carry on an offense that is primarily a passing attack. Very impressive, Mr. Caldwell.
Head coach Mike Riley, Oregon State
If there is one coach who has shocked football nation with the way he has turned around a team this year, it's Oregon State head coach Mike Riley.
Last year, the Beavers finished the season 3-9 but this year, they're ranked No. 8 and undefeated at 5-0 (3-0 Pac-12).
This year, the Beavers have the best rushing defense in the conference and the fourth-best in FBS. The Beavers also have the eighth-best passing offense in the country.
But Riley's ability to overcome adversity this year is the biggest factor in why he deserves this award. When quarterback Sean Mannion went down with an injury, Cody Vaz, who hadn't played in a year-and-a-half, was tabbed the starter in the Beavers' game against BYU.
Riley, according to The Oregonian, said "We're going to win the game with Cody."
Nobody believed him. Except the Beavers.
Oregon State beat BYU, 42-24, in Provo, Utah.
Chip Kelly (Oregon), Rich Rodriguez (Arizona), Todd Graham (Arizona State) and David Shaw (Stanford).
USC center Khaled Holmes
Most Valuable Player. That title conjures up an athlete who is most valuable to his team. USC center Khaled Holmes is that man.
When Holmes was carted off the field in the Trojans' game against Syracuse, fans worried. Holmes is not only the heart of the team, but the best center in college football.
His absence the following week at Stanford was felt. Quarterback Matt Barkley was sacked four times in the game, twice in the Trojans' final drive of the game. USC lost 21-14 to Stanford.
Holmes is most likely a first-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.
De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon
If only Oregon would unleash De'Anthony Thomas more often as the versatile running back has only 41 touches while in the backfield.
Here's the clincher though; he's scored six touchdowns. If you're not very good at math, I'll help you out.
Thomas scores a touchdown approximately once every seven carries. And he does it with speed and electricity. If there is any space in front of Thomas, he's going to fly through it like a missile. So far this year, Thomas has had long runs of 33, 51 and 59 yards.
More, please. A lot more.