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College Hotline - Pac-12 football: Projections for 2016

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

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    An insta-generalization followed by insta-projections, which will undoubtedly be followed by insta-criticism and perhaps insta-mocking.

    The story line six months ago: Was the Pac-12 South the best division in college football?

    The story line looking to ’16: The Pac-12 South isn’t the best division in the Pac-12.

    The North looks loaded, with four teams that (on paper) could win 9+ games.

    The South looks mild, with two teams … maybe three … that (on paper) could win 9+ games.

    The power shift has little to do with the marquee programs and is all about the depth: The Washington schools are on the ascent, while the Arizona schools appear to have taken a step back.

    On. Paper.


    *** NORTH

    Before we get started: I wouldn’t be the least bit to see Oregon, Stanford or Washington win the division and would only be mildly surprised if Washington State emerges. The uncertainty at quarterback in Eugene and Stanford makes for no clear favorite.

    1. Washington: An unconventional pick, for sure, and one fraught with the possibility that I will look silly if the Ducks or Cardinal win the division going away and the Huskies are three or four games off the pace. But the combination of an experienced Jake Browning, a veteran offensive line and a top-tier defense gives UW a slight edge on the perennial powers.

    2. Stanford: If the list of departed starters began and ended with Kevin Hogan, the Cardinal’s task would be tough enough — he won three league titles, after all. But Stanford must replace the awesome left side of its line and six defensive starters. Oh, and the even-year schedule is always MUCH tougher, with trips to Seattle, Eugene, Pasadena and Berkeley (plus South Bend).

    3. Oregon: Lemme get this straight: Oregon goes to Montana to get Dakota in the hopes that he’ll lead the Ducks to Pasadena? Actually … let’s leave Oregon’s QB development issues for another time. Bottom line for ’16: If Prukop, the MSU transfer, is as good as, and healthier than, Vernon Adams, the EWU transfer, then the Ducks will win the division. I’m guessing he won’t be. Attrition on the front seven is also an issue.

    4. Washington State: Don’t have a good reason for picking WSU behind the Huskies, Cardinal and Ducks — yes, the defense must be rebuilt, but everyone in the division is flawed — so Cougar fans: Feel free to slam me in the comments section below. (More ammo for Cougar fans: The schedule is as favorable as it gets.)

    5. Cal: A team that couldn’t run the ball or defend consistently at a high level and went 4-5 in league play loses its star quarterback? In this division, that makes for a bleak outlook. best -case scenario: Fourth place. The Bears didn’t finish in the top half with Jared Goff. How can they manage it without him?

    6. Oregon State: Could be the most improved team in the conference … and should still be the worst. Rebuilding in Corvallis is a long, long process.

    *** SOUTH

    Before get started: Would be somewhat surprised if any team not named USC or UCLA won the division and extremely surprised if any team not named USC, UCLA or Utah won the division.

    1. USC: Should have the best offensive line in the league to complement JuJu, Ronald Jones and all the other playmakers. For that reason, the new quarterback need merely be decent. The defensive line must be rebuilt, but the back seven looks solid. Now, can the coaches coach?

    2. UCLA: Could make a strong case for UCLA as the top team in the division and perhaps in the conference with Josh Rosen and a veteran defense. But I can’t help wondering about the larger state of the program, the lack of toughness and discipline, and whether the Mora era has stalled.

    3. Utah: Lots of reasons to like the Utes, especially when it comes to their line play and the back seven. But they have yet to produce top-tier quarterback play, and that gives me pause. Could envision a scenario in which the Utes rise to the top simply because they avoid implosion better than the Trojans or Bruins.

    4. Arizona: Quarterback Anu Solomon returns, but at what level of consistency? Not sold on the returning personnel on either side, especially defensive. (We got a good look at the Scooby Wright-less unit last fall.) Wouldn’t take much for the Wildcats to sneak into the top half of the division, but a repeat of ’14 seems unlikely.

    5. Arizona State: Too many losses, especially on offense, to consider the Sun Devils a contender, especially when the schedule is added to the calculation. Even years are brutal for ASU, with trips to Oregon, Washington, USC and Arizona.

    6. Colorado: This should be the year the Buffs make the postseason, with the MacIntyre recruiting classes having worked their way through the roster. But Sefo Liufau must elevate his game.





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  2. Daaah

    Daaah Club Member Club Member

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    Picked last again.
     

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