Bristol apparently felt the Pac-12 reporters weren't getting enough hate mail, so they asked us to rerank our top 10 players from the preseason top 25 ranking at the midway point. No easy task, mind you. Things change. Perceptions change. Rosters change (No. 20, for example, is no longer playing).
So both halves of the Pac-12 blog banged their heads together and came up with a midseason ranking that is flawless and immune to criticism. Non-skill players are always tough to evaluate, but even tougher with a reduced body of work, so keep in mind that the postseason list will have linemen, defensive backs, etc., and will be a stronger reflection of the conference as a whole. Consider this an appetizer to the surf-and-turf postseason list.
1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon (preseason ranking: No. 1): We’re pretty confident we got this one right. He’s thrown for 17 touchdowns, run for eight more and has zero turnovers. He’s deserving of his Heisman front-runner status and leads all quarterbacks in adjusted QBR.
2. Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington (preseason: No. 15): The workhorse back leads the Pac-12 with 149.8 yards per game and 899 yards on 159 carries. He’s had 100-plus yards in five of six games this season.
3. Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State (preseason: unranked): He wasn’t even the clear starter when we first put the preseason list together. Now he leads the nation with 2,511 passing yards and 25 touchdowns to just three interceptions.
4. Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA (preseason: No. 4): With 26 tackles, including four sacks and a league-high 10 tackles for loss in five games, Barr has made his case as the league’s premier defender thus far.
5. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State (preseason: No. 22): When Mannion is throwing, Cooks is usually catching. He leads the nation in catches (63), receiving yards (944) and receiving touchdowns (11). Phenomenal first half.
6. Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford (preseason: No. 7): He has emerged as one of the most dynamic defensive playmakers in the country. He’s tied for the league lead in sacks with five, backed up by eight tackles for a loss. He also has an interception returned for a touchdown.
7. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (preseason: No. 5): He’s completing 68 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns in the air and three on the ground. More importantly, he has the Bruins 5-0 and playing confident football.
8. Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona (preseason: No. 6): Despite missing the first game of the season for disciplinary reasons, the nation’s leading rusher from last year has kept up his form. He’s averaging 142.2 yards per game with 569 yards on 115 carries while rushing for five touchdowns.
9. Keith Price, QB, Washington (preseason: unranked): The question with Price was whether he’d return to his 2011 form. He has done that and then some. He’s the league’s most accurate passer at 69.3 percent with 12 touchdowns to four interceptions.
10. Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford (preseason: unranked): It was a toss-up here between Montgomery and Colorado’s Paul Richardson, who could be No. 10B. Richardson has more yards, but they both have five receiving touchdowns. The difference has been Montgomery’s special teams contributions the past two weeks. He’s returned kicks of 99 and 100 yards for touchdowns and leads the Pac-12 in all-purpose yards per game with 196.5 -- 20 yards per game more than Cooks, Sankey and Carey.