The conference this morning announced its 2013 all-conference football team, linked here.
— The choice of Arizona State’s Will Sutton over Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy as defensive player of the year was a bit of a surprise. For at least the early part of the season, there was conjecture that Sutton had gained too much weight in the off-season and was less than the player he was in 2012. Statistics are only part of the story, but Murphy had 19.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks, compared to Sutton’s 10.5 and three.
— I think you could make a case for ASU’s Taylor Kelly (the second-team QB choice) for first team over Marcus Mariota, because Mariota had a late-season slide, undoubtedly related to his knee injury. But my sense is that Mariota was playing at such a celestial level before a mediocre November, that it would be unfair to dock him too much for shaky games against Stanford, Arizona and OSU.
— Ben Gardner’s selection to the first team on defense is an amazing show of respect from the league’s coaches. Gardner was announced as out for the season late in October with a chest injury, when Stanford still have four games left. That’s a full third of the games. Reminds me of 1997, when UW running back Rashaan Shehee made first-team, despite having a knee injury that sidelined him for the month of November.
— Deone Bucannon is Washington State’s initial first-team selection since 2007, a nice honor and yet a reflection of the bleak times the program has been through.
— Not too hard to figure out what makes the Stanford offense tick. The Cardinal had David Yankey on the first-team offensive line, and three others on the second unit. That’s a pretty good nucleus toward a successful offense — but it’s also an indication that the Cardinal needs to get better on the perimeter (I think they know that).