Looking at many of college football's prestigous post-season awards you'd think the best players in college football only exist in the Eastern Time zone-television block. Funny, that. Not a single Pac-10 player even qualified as a finalist for any of the major awards. In fact, Hawaii's Colt Brennan was the only player West of Texas to earn an invitation to a major awards ceremony (O'Brien Award for best quarterback).*
The All-American lists, from Coaches to the AP, also leaned Easterly. Sports Illustrated's list actually seemed a respectable bunch, but their absolutely inconceivable decision to reduce Boise State's amazing Fiesta Bowl victory to a mere paragraph betrays an overriding East Coast narcicism.
We actually think this was an amazing year for West Coast football. All of the top teams in the West Coast conferences won their bowl games, and other than about a full quarter of the Fiesta Bowl they all dominated their opponents.
In an effort to recognize the accomplishments of West Coast athletes we've compiled our own list of the best players in the Pac-10, Mountain West, and Western Atlhletic Conferences. We decided to arrange our list as a depth chart rather than the standard 1st team, 2nd team, honorable mentions. While we've tried to assign players to their specialties, we mostly wanted to get the best players on the field, so don't fret about the interchangability of a free safety from a strong safety or the outside versus interior linebackers--most All-America teams or All-conference teams barely separate out the secondary from the linebacking corps. We went with a 3 WR set offense, and a 3-4 defense to maximize the overwhelming talent at receiver and linebacker this year. We've also taken into account a player's performance in their bowl game. We always found it strange that All-Conference honors were bestowed well before the toughest challenges of the season. Congratulations to all of these players for an incredible football season. Hope to see you all at the next level.
*Cal's Daymeion Hughes, the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, did win the Lott Award; however, Ronnie Lott's a West Coast phenomenon and unfortunately the major sports media doesn't recognize the Lott as a major award.